Episode 154: A glut of goals, Vélez have maximum points and crisis at Boca Juniors

26 Aug

The hundred and fifty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod is one of those rare episodes which clocks in at well under an hour. Sam is joined by English Dan for a daytime recording, looking back on a goal-filled weekend of action in the Primera which saw no fewer than three 4-0 scorelines and a 3-3 – this season still hasn’t produced any goalless draws. Vélez Sarsfield and River Plate particularly impressed, whilst a 3-0 win for Atlético de Rafaela – their first ever in La Bombonera – has plunged Boca Juniors still deeper into crisis.  We wonder how much longer Carlos Bianchi can cling on as manager, and whether Boca’s problems run deeper than simply having let Juan Román Riquelme go during the winter transfer window. There’s a midweek round (or two-thirds of one, at least) on Tuesday and Wednesday, hence the early recording of this episode.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s fourth round predictions are below. You can subscribe to HOP on iTunes and on Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s fourth round predictions (including the postponed games originally scheduled for Thursday)
Belgrano v Gimnasia
Olimpo v Independiente
Racing v Arsenal
Atlético v Newell’s
Central v Godoy Cruz
River v Defensa y Justicia
Estudiantes v Boca
Banfield v Tigre
Vélez v Lanús
Quilmes v San Lorenzo

Episode 153: Running the rule over Rojo and Fernández, an excellent showing from River and more

23 Aug

Sam, Peter and Andrés begin Hand Of Pod 153 with a look at two of the biggest Argentine moves in the European transfer window so far – World Cup star Marcos Rojo’s move from Sporting to Manchester United, and World Cup flop Federico Fernández’s transfer from Napoli to Swansea City. We ask how much the World Cup really told us about both players’ levels. We then look back on the second weekend of Primera División action, which saw a superb performance from River Plate, a comfortable 2-0 win for Racing over newly-crowned champions of South America San Lorenzo, and an undeserved but potentially morale-boosting victory for Boca Juniors away to Belgrano, as well as a rollicking five-goal thriller between Banfield and Defensa y Justicia, two of the promoted sides. Enjoy.

As ever, you can subscribe to HOP on iTunes and Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter. Mystic Sam’s predictions for the third round (at the time of uploading, Arsenal have already beaten Olimpo 1-0, and Tigre have, erm, handed out a 4-0 thrashing to Racing(!)) are below.

Mystic Sam’s third round predictions
Arsenal v Olimpo
Tigre v Racing
Gimnasia v Central
Newell’s v Belgrano
Independiente v Vélez
San Lorenzo v Banfield
Lanús v Estudiantes
Defensa y Justicia v Quilmes
Boca v Atlético
Godoy Cruz v River

Episode 152: San Lorenzo win the Libertadores, Martino is the new Argentina boss & more

16 Aug

On the hundred and fifty-second episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter, Andrés and Joel are joined by Neil Clack, a former resident of Buenos Aires and author of Animals! The Story of England v Argentina, who is visiting BA again after a few years away. We’ve got a lot to talk about, starting with San Lorenzo’s first ever Copa Libertadores win on Wednesday night. We also discuss Gerardo Martino’s unveiling as Argentina manager after Alejandro Sabella stood down, Juan Sebastián Verón’s announcement that he’ll stand for the Estudiantes de La Plata presidency in September, yet more potential messing around with the league structure… oh, and the first weekend of league action, because that happened as well. It’s a long one, but we hope you’ll enjoy it.

Mystic Sam’s second round predictions are below, as ever (Newell’s v Gimnasia has already been played, and ended 1-1). You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher (or both), and follow us on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s second round predictions
Newell’s v Gimnasia
Olimpo v Tigre
Banfield v Defensa y Justicia
Vélez v Arsenal
Estudiantes v Independiente
Quilmes v Godoy Cruz
Racing v San Lorenzo
River v Central
Belgrano v Boca
Atlético v Lanús

Episode 151: previewing the Torneo de Transición and more

8 Aug

In the hundred-and-fifty-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Santi, Andrés and Peter have a lot of explaining to do. That’s because the new season is upon us, and it behoves us to explain why we’re entering a ‘transitional championship’ and what exactly we’re transitioning to (erm, we don’t really know at this stage, and the AFA don’t seem 100% decided either). We ask which sides did best in the winter transfer window, which sides did worse, and whether Racing can once again flatter to deceive having apparently strengthened impressively. Can River Plate defend their title? Will Boca Juniors finally step out of Juan Román Riquelme’s shadow? These and many more issues are dealt with. We also take a look at San Lorenzo’s Copa Libertadores final, which is currently 1-1 after the first leg, with the second leg to come in Buenos Aires on Wednesday.

Mystic Sam’s predictions for the first round are below. Don’t forget your subscription options: we’re available on iTunes or Stitcher, and are also on Twitter.

Mystic Sam’s first round predictions
Godoy Cruz v Banfield
Central v Quilmes
Arsenal v Estudiantes
Defensa y Justicia v Racing
Independiente v Atlético
Boca v Newell’s
Gimnasia v River
Tigre v Vélez
Lanús v Belgrano

Episode 150: Julio Grondona is dead, and San Lorenzo are Libertadores finalists

2 Aug

One story dominates the hundred-and-fiftieth episode of Hand Of Pod, and we make no apologies for it: Sam and Andrés mark a landmark episode with discussion of Julio Grondona’s exit from his position as head of the Argentine FA, which came to pass in the manner he frequently said it would; in a coffin. The FIFA Vice-President died on Wednesday afternoon, and we ask what the consequences will be for the AFA and for FIFA. If you don’t believe in speaking ill of the dead, you might want to avoid this one. We also congratulate San Lorenzo on reaching their first ever Copa Libertadores final, ask whether outgoing Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella was the man who killed Grondona (sort of), and answer a few listeners’ questions. Thanks to all our listeners for helping us reach this milestone; here’s to another 150 episodes!

Don’t forget you can subscribe to HOP on iTunes or on Stitcher, and even follow us on Twitter if you so please.


Episode 149: Looking back on a successful World Cup for Argentina, and where to next?

17 Jul

The hundred-and-forty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Gustavo look back on the semi-final and final of Argentina’s World Cup campaign, and on the tournament as a whole from the Argentine perspective. What went wrong, what went right, what could have better and more. We ask whether Lionel Messi had a good or a bad tournament, look at the reasons for his attacking colleagues not firing on all cylinders, and consider what might have been in the final. We also turn our attention to some names for the future, and consider how Argentina’s squad for the next World Cup, in Russia 2018, might look. At the time of posting, Alejandro Sabella hasn’t made a decision on whether or not he’ll continue in charge, but we also consider the good job he’s done so far, and ask who might take over if he does decide to go.

You can subscribe to HOP on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks to preview the new championship.

Episode 148: Alfredo Di Stéfano RIP & previewing Argentina’s World Cup semi-final

8 Jul

The hundred-and-forty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod was convened to discuss Argentina’s historic qualification for their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, but before we get on to that, we have to begin by bidding farewell to Alfredo Di Stéfano, whose arrival in Madrid in 1953 changed the history of European football. Sam, Peter and Santi are joined by Argentine football historian Esteban Bekerman, who provides a unique perspective on Di Stéfano’s place in Argentina’s football culture and tells us how his game developed from the early years as a fast-paced centre forward at Huracán and River Plate to become perhaps the greatest all-round player who ever kicked a ball. After that, we look at Argentina’s World Cup campaign so far; perhaps underwhelming performance-wise, but undoubtedly successful already given they’ve finally got past the barrier of the quarter-finals after so long waiting for a return to the semis. As listeners will realise towards the end, this episode was recorded before that astonishing Brazil 1-7 Germany first semi-final.

As ever, a reminder that you can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

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