Episode 158: Martino’s first Argentina squad, a possible format change & more

The hundred and fifty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan discuss Gerardo Martino’s first real Argentina squad, after he was obliged to name an AFA-imposed one for the friendly against Germany earlier this month. We discuss why Carlos Tevez wasn’t included, and what the inclusions of Erik Lamela and Javier Pastore tell us about where Martino is going with his side. The AFA are talking about reverting the format of the league back to a 20-team top flight from 2016, and we have a weekend of action to look back on including yet another River Plate victory – this time a 4-1 thrashing of third-placed Independiente (which explains why Peter was mysteriously unavailable this week).

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

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

Episode 157: Rain halting play, Tigre turning form round and a dull La Plata clásico

The hundred and fifty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés beging with a look back at Sunday evening, when one-and-a-third matches (the last half hour of Boca v Racing, and the whole of Arsenal v River) were called off due to some ‘orrible weather in (Greater) Buenos Aires throughout the day. We wish good luck to Jonás Gutiérrez in his fight against testicular cancer, and look back on the matches last weekend which actually did get played; Independiente have gone joint second, along with Newell’s Old Boys, whilst Vélez Sarsfield have slumped somewhat in recent weeks. Oh, and we also have the Dwarf Priest of La Plata to talk about, as we look back on one La Plata clásico (in the Copa Sudamericana on Tuesday) and forward to another (in the league on Saturday).

As ever, Mystic Sam’s previews for this weekend’s matches are below. You can subscribe to us on iTunes or Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

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

Episode 156: River Plate extend their lead & more nonsense from the AFA

In the hundred and fifty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Peter and Andrés are joined, surprisingly, by Neil Clack and we discuss a week of enormous confusion in the headquarters of the Argentine Football Association; dates have been moved back and forth for not one, not two, but three different competitions, but we give you the definitive say on when the superclásico will be played: it’s the 5th October. Well, it was when we recorded anyway. Who knows when it will be now. We also talk about River Plate’s continued impressive performances, ask whether Boca are improving in anything more than results, spend a good deal of time laughing at Racing (well, they make it so easy for us) and tack on a quick bit of chat at the end about Colombia’s World Cup captain Mario Yepes, who looks like he’s joining San Lorenzo.

As ever, Mystic Sam’s predictions for this weekend are below (by the time this episode was uploaded, Gimnasia v Defensa y Justicia had already come and gone, and landed him a correct prediction with Defensa running out 3-0 winners). You can subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter too.

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

Episode 155: Bianchi sacked, River go top, Di María’s star showing for Argentina & more

The hundred and fifty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod is a rather long one, because we’ve had a lot to cover; Sam, Peter and Andrés are joined by a special guest, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Sebastian Hassett, who’s been touring South America since the World Cup finished. We have two rounds of domestic action to look back on since the last episode, and those have included the sacking by Boca Juniors of Carlos Bianchi, their victory (and impressive performance) over Vélez Sarsfield in the first match of new man Rodolfo Arruabarrena’s spell in charge, River Plate going top of the table with another couple of very good showings, Tigre manager Fabián Alegre finally being sacked after a year of solid defending but disappointing attacking… oh, and also a few Copa Sudamericana games, the Avellaneda clásico in which Independiente beat Racing 2-1, and the small matter of an Ángel Di María-inspired Argentina thrashing Germany 4-2 in Düsseldorf on Wednesday – we take it as an excuse to discuss the impact he could have for Manchester United, as well as looking at how Gerardo Martino’s Argentina might be made up.

Mystic Sam’s predictions for the sixth round are below. Don’t forget you can subscribe to us on iTunes and Stitcher, and follow us on Twitter.

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