Episode 291: Godoy Cruz slip up to (almost) hand Boca the title, and a good week for Racing

In the two hundred and ninety-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, English Dan and Julián get together over a mate and some biscuits to discuss a weekend of Superliga action in which Boca Juniors saw the title race swing decisively their way (surely this time, this is it?) after Godoy Cruz were held by Banfield. Elsewhere, River Plate are now so good that even their reserves can win at a canter … although it was only against Arsenal de Sarandí, so maybe not. Racing won the clásico coudetense, Defensa y Justicia shocked Independiente in the clásico holandés (I wish I’d thought that name up to tweet during the match, or indeed to say earlier on the podcast) and the race for the last Copa Libertadores spots, and all of the Copa Sudamericana spots, is as tight as ever. Oh, and we’re now finally live on Patreon! Please check out our page and consider supporting us.

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CORRECTION: last week, Mystic Sam and Mystic Liam drew 8-8 in a humdinger of a prediction battle which saw Sam equalise in the last game of the round thanks to Defensa y Justicia’s win over Independiente. No one was brave enough to take Sam on this week, but here are his predictions so you can play along at home.

Mystic Sam
Chacarita v Temperley
Godoy Cruz v San Martín
Vélez Sarsfield v Banfield
Defensa y Justicia v Rosario Central
Newell’s Old Boys v Independiente
Lanús v Argentinos Juniors
Huracán v Atlético Tucumán
Gimnasia La Plata v Boca Juniors
Patronato v San Lorenzo
Belgrano v Colón
Racing v Arsenal
Unión v Talleres
Olimpo v Tigre

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Episode 257: River beat Boca to open up the title race, and lots more clásico action

The two hundred and fifty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés gather to look back on a dramatic weekend of clásico action in which the biggest headline was River Plate putting the title right up for grabs (possibly for themselves) by defeating Boca Juniors 3-1 in La Bombonera in the superclásico. Boca’s league lead is three points over San Lorenzo, but would be just a point were River to win their game in hand. San Lorenzo themselves got yet another clásico win against Huracán – because of course they did, come on – and Newell’s Old Boys missed the chance to join in the fun at the top, losing 3-1 at home to Rosario Central. The relegation race is hotting up as well, and some Copa Libertadores groups are coming to a conclusion – shortly after we recorded, San Lorenzo secured top spot in Group 4 in highly dramatic circumstances.

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Mystic Sam’s twenty-fifth round predictions (last week Mystic Simon got 7/15)
Atlético Tucumán v Banfield
Belgrano v Patronato
Lanús v Atlético de Rafaela
Sarmiento v Talleres
Boca v Newell’s
Tigre v San Martín
Unión v Arsenal
Independiente v Huracán
Godoy Cruz v Vélez
San Lorenzo v Aldosivi
Temperley v Colón
Quilmes v Defensa y Justicia
Central v Racing
Olimpo v Estudiantes
Gimnasia v River

Episode 256: Previewing a weekend of clásicos which might blow the title race wide open

Episode 256 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam joined by Andrés and Dan to look back on a weekend during which Newell’s Old Boys failed to take advantage of yet more dropped points from league leaders Boca Juniors. More to the point, we’re looking forward to a weekend full of clásicos in the Argentine Primera which could see Boca take a huge step towards the title – or, especially if a River Plate win in La Bombonera is combined with a win for Newell’s in the Rosario derby, could breath new life into the title race just ahead of the run-in.

The first attempt at uploading this episode was met with disaster due to a fault in the file – it was only online for a minute or two so hopefully subscription services won’t have picked it up, but if you find the sound on your file cuts out after about 26 minutes, download again from here or our Soundcloud page – the version that’s now online is the full show. Sorry.

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Mystic Simon’s twenty-fourth round predictions (last week Mystic Chris got 4/14, with Arsenal v Olimpo called off at half time due to a waterlogged pitch)
San Martín v Godoy Cruz
Atl. Rafaela v Atl. Tucumán
Estudiantes v Gimnasia
Huracán v San Lorenzo
Banfield v Lanús
Talleres v Belgrano
Olimpo v Aldosivi
Newell’s v Central
Independiente v Racing
Boca v River
Colón v Unión
Patronato v Sarmiento
Arsenal v Temperley
Defensa y Justicia v Quilmes
Vélez v Tigre

Episode 255: No change at the top, but the relegation battle hots up

The two hundred and fifty-fifth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés meet to discuss a weekend during which there was no change at the very top of the Primera: Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys both won, meaning Boca remain three points clear at the top. There was some re-ordering of the sides just below, though – partly thanks to yet another home draw for Independiente – and a dramatic shaking up of the relegation dogfight after shock wins for Atlético de Rafaela and Quilmes. We also look again at the Copa Libertadores and developments which have the potential to affect the immediate future of the Argentine national team, as well as explaining another new rumour about the next Primera championship. Oh, and HOP listeners within reach of London will want to listen out for a discount code to get 10% off tickets to the upcoming London Festival of Football Writing!

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Mystic Chris’s twenty-third round predictions (last week Mystic Andrés got 6/14)
San Martín v Quilmes
Talleres v Tigre
Patronato v Lanús
Racing v Gimnasia
Atlético de Rafaela v Unión
Estudiantes v Boca
River v Temperley
Aldosivi v Huracán
Arsenal v Olimpo
Defensa y Justicia v Godoy Cruz
San Lorenzo v Central
Colón v Atlético Tucumán
Newell’s v Independiente
Banfield v Sarmiento
Vélez v Belgrano

Episode 254: Newell’s close the gap in a weekend of fine matches

In the two hundred and fifty-fourth episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés take you through a weekend of thoroughly entertaining matches, including two that ended 4-3, a convincing win (combined with a very unconvincing draw) that took Newell’s Old Boys to within three points of league leaders Boca Juniors, and a frustrating draw that meant River Plate failed to go third. We consider Rodrigo Bentancur’s form now his mega-money move to Juventus has been confirmed, and ask whether he (for Uruguay) or Ezequiel Barco (for Argentina) will be travelling to South Korea for the Under-20 World Cup. All this, as well as listeners’ questions, and some predictions for the weekend to come from Mystic Andrés.

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Mystic Andrés’s twenty-second round predictions (last week Mystic Luke got 4/15)
Quilmes v Talleres
Independiente v Estudiantes
Huracán v Newell’s
Gimnasia v San Lorenzo
Sarmiento v Colón
Tigre v Banfield
Temperley v Racing
Unión v Patronato
Godoy Cruz v San Martín
Central v Aldosivi
Boca v Arsenal
Olimpo v Atl. Rafaela
Belgrano v Defensa y Justicia
Lanús v Vélez

Episode 253: Tragedy in Córdoba, and River join the title race

The two hundred and fifty-third episode of Hand Of Pod features Sam and Andrés, who are joined via Skype by Luke Smith, who’s able to give us a Córdoba-dweller’s perspective on the tragedy that struck Argentine football over the weekend when Belgrano fan Emanuel Balbo was murdered in the stands at half time of the Córdoba clásico on Saturday. What exactly happened, and what the punishment might end up being for Belgrano are among the topics discussed. We also look over a weekend of football which saw River Plate – in somewhat controversial circumstances – become the only member of the top five to win  their match, and in so doing arguably join the title race, although they still have some distance to make up on Boca Juniors. As well as all this, there are listeners’ questions on the second tier and on the most southerly clubs in Argentina’s pyramid (which also happen to be the most southerly clubs in the world).

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Mystic Luke’s twenty-first round predictions (last week Mystic Chris got 3/15)
San Lorenzo v Temperley
Aldosivi v Newell’s
Racing v Atlético Tucumán
Banfield v Quilmes
Defensa y Justicia v Lanús
Vélez v Unión
Central v Gimnasia
Estudiantes v Huracán
Atlético Rafaela v Boca
San Martín v Belgrano
River v Sarmiento
Talleres v Godoy Cruz
Arsenal v Independiente
Patronato v Olimpo
Colón v Tigre

Episode 252: Bye-bye Bauza, Sampaoli next? And a domestic roundup

The two hundred and fifty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, Andrés and Peter meet to discuss the AFA’s sacking on Tuesday of Edgardo Bauza as Argentina manager, and who might the next candidate be – with news filtering out shortly after we’d recorded that, as suspected, Jorge Sampaoli is the only serious candidate. Is he the right man for the job? Would he take it? And if he doesn’t, who might the other options end up being? All these questions and more are debated. As well as this, we’ve got a look at a Primera weekend which was so action-packed, even Independiente found their shooting boots – and how!

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Mystic Chris’s twentieth round predictions (last week Mystic Sam got 8/14, with Racing v Tigre postponed due to rain):
Huracán v Arsenal
Lanús v San Martín
Newell’s v Estudiantes
Belgrano v Talleres
Independiente v Atl. Rafaela
Olimpo v Vélez
Sarmiento v Racing
Godoy Cruz v Banfield
Atl. Tucumán v San Lorenzo
Boca v Patronato
Quilmes v Colón
Tigre v River
Unión v Defensa y Justicia
Temperley v Central
Gimnasia v Aldosivi