If I were a fan of the Albiceleste, I would be afraid that my manager makes his team selections while under the influence of psychedelic drugs. He's obviously not taking anything strong enough to omit Lionel Messi, but he's getting crazy ideas nonetheless.
Pablo Guiñazu, Rodrigo Braña, Leandro Desabato, Jose Ernesto Sosa and Maxi Rodriguez all made this team. The first three of those players are 33 years old and have less than 10 caps to their name. Maxi has been in terrible club form for about three years. Sosa has very rarely played a decent game for Argentina and has been a failure in both the Bundesliga and Serie A in recent seasons. Javier Pastore, Esteban Cambiasso and Nicolas Gaitan were among those omitted from the team. I wish this was a joke.
Argentina will probably field a lineup that looks stupid. Alejandro Sabella will probably try to shoehorn Guiñazu and/or Sosa into it somehow. Ecuador will surround Messi with three players and Argentina's other players will continue to pass him the ball, then stand around and wait for him to do something. This is all standard operating procedure.
Meanwhile, they're not up against scrubs. Yes, Argentina are at home against a team that is far inferior in the talent department, but Ecuador is no joke. In the last World Cup qualifying cycle, Argentina only grabbed one point from their two matches against Ecuador. Their captain, Walter Ayovi, is one of the most accomplished foreign players to ever play in the Mexican Primera. They feature Manchester United star Antonio Valencia and Club America scoring machine 'Chucho' Christian Benitez.
An upset wouldn't be stunning, but there are still massive matchup problems for Ecuador, even if Argentina look like the most inept version of themselves. The center of defense is where La Tri have the most question marks, and forward is where Argentina have the most answers. The Albiceleste could play truly putrid football for 90 minutes, but pull off a goal in an instant when Sergio Aguero walks through the Ecuador defense uncontested.
At the end of the day, as crazy as Sabella's team selections are and as lame as Argentina have been since ... I need to think about this ... 2007 (yeah, it's been that long since they were any good), they still have the most ridiculous collection of pure attacking talent on the planet. Expect them to pick a stupid-looking lineup. Expect them to play less than remarkable football. But also expect them to grab three points on Saturday. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET from Buenos Aires.