There’s a lot to get through on Hand Of Pod 141, but Sam, Peter and birthday boy Andrés manage to whistle through in under an hour and a half, for once. First on the agenda is the news that on Wednesday, Javier Cantero finally stood down as Independiente president. How the club’s barra brava forced him out and why, in spite of being against the barra, many ordinary fans will be happy to see him go as well is the first topic of the day that we tackle. We then consider the Primera División title race – River Plate and Gimnasia La Plata now sit joint top of the Torneo Final – and ask whether River are the favourites, given the run-in they have. Also up for discussion is the relegation battle, in which although most teams (bar Argentinos Juniors) are quite close together, it looks like the three drop spots are all but settled already. Questions include our thoughts on Lanús’ full back Alejandro Silva and our all-time favourite Argentine club kits.
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Mystic Sam’s sixteenth round predictions
Newell’s v Tigre
Vélez v Central Belgrano v San Lorenzo
Racing v Quilmes
Atlético v Colón
Argentinos v Gimnasia
Olimpo v River Lanús v All Boys
Boca v Arsenal
Estudiantes v Godoy Cruz
Episode 140 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan, Andrés and Peter welcome not one but two special guests – Jonathan Wilson returns to HOP and Rupert Fryer finally makes his long-awaited debut. We discuss Ramón Díaz and Ricardo Caruso Lombardi embarrassing themselves to varying degrees, two managerial changes, as Newell’s Old Boys and more surprisingly, Arsenal de Sarandí both changed bosses, consider the title race and the relegation battle and ask how Argentine sides will do in the Copa Libertadores – four of Argentina’s five representatives are in the knockout stage, with only Newell’s failing to get out of their group. We also look at whether Fernando Gago’s injury is really bad news for either Boca Juniors or Argentina, and have a bit of a laugh at Racing, who’ve been rubbish again lately.
Mystic Sam’s fifteenth round predictions
Central v Estudiantes
Quilmes v Olimpo
San Lorenzo v Newell’s Colón v Belgrano
Arsenal v Lanús
Argentinos v Racing River v Vélez
Tigre v Boca Godoy Cruz v Atlético de Rafaela Gimnasia v All Boys
Hand Of Pod episode 139 is a bumper edition, featuring Sam, Santi, Andrés and Peter. They discuss not one but two rounds of Torneo Final action, including a 3-3 thriller between Racing and Estudiantes which no-one saw coming, and a 2-1 away win for Rosario Central in Sunday’s Rosario clásico against Newell’s Old Boys. Three sides lead the Torneo Final on 21 points, with two more just behind them on 20, and the top nine are separated by just three points. We also look at Argentine hopes in the Copa Libertadores – at the time of recording, Lanús, Vélez Sarsfield and Arsenal had all confirmed their places in the knockout stage. A couple of hours after recording ended, San Lorenzo joined them, but just as this episode was uploaded on Thursday night, Newell’s Old Boys crashed out. Santi’s not been on for a while and has grown jealous of HOP new boy Gustavo hugging the lower league limelight, so we also let him give a roundup of Ascenso action, and look at the frankly slightly silly notion that Boca Juniors might be in relegation trouble next season.
Since we recorded, following Newell’s Copa Libertadores exit, their manager Alfredo Berti has resigned.
Mystic Sam’s thirteenth round predictions Central v Belgrano
Tigre v All Boys
Quilmes v Estudiantes
Argentinos v Vélez
Racing v Olimpo
San Lorenzo v Lanús Gimnasia v Arsenal Godoy Cruz v Newell’s River v Atlético de Rafaela
Colón v Boca
The hundred-and-thirty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod was recorded at lunchtime on Tuesday, over mate, in order for us to get it to you ahead of (most of) the eleventh round of Torneo Final action. It features Sam, English Dan and a brief guest appearance from Sam’s brother, Will, who tells us what it was like watching – or rather, trying to watch – Boca Juniors v River Plate from a cafe on the Bolivian border with a small child who was more interested in cartoons. We dissect River’s 2-1 away win in the superclásico as no other English-language Argentine football podcast can, as well as considering the other results from the weekend and how they affect the title and relegation races. We also take a look at how Argentine sides are doing with one match each of the Copa Libertadores group stages left, give a mention to some very good news for San Lorenzo fans, and much more. Enjoy.
Mystic Sam’s eleventh round predictions
Quilmes v Belgrano Olimpo v Vélez Sarsfield
Argentinos v Atlético de Rafaela
Racing v Estudiantes
Godoy Cruz v Lanús Central v Boca Colón v All Boys River v Newell’s
Gimnasia v Tigre San Lorenzo v Arsenal