Episode 267: Previewing Argentina’s two final World Cup qualifiers

The two hundred and sixty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod is a look at the Argentine national team as they approach two high-pressure World Cup qualifiers at home to Peru and away to Ecuador, which will either see them finally make it to Russia 2018 or not (all right, or end up in the playoff). Sam and English Dan give their thoughts on the four(!) lineups tried by Jorge Sampaoli in training on Tuesday, and discuss what needs to change from last month’s disappointing double header if the selección are to make it over the line at last. We also look at the weekend in the Superliga, where Boca Juniors kept up their 100% record – just – and Arsenal de Sarandí stunned Banfield to record their first points of the season.

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Last week, Mystic Sam and Mystic Chris drew 7-7 in the prediction battle. This week, Sam and Dan give their predictions for the last two rounds of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying action.

Dan
Bolivia v Brazil
Venezuela v Uruguay
Colombia v Paraguay
Chile v Ecuador
Argentina v Peru

Paraguay v Venezuela
Brazil v Chile
Ecuador v Argentina
Peru
v Colombia
Uruguay v Bolivia

Sam
Bolivia v Brazil
Venezuela v Uruguay
Colombia
v Paraguay
Chile v Ecuador
Argentina v Peru

Paraguay v Venezuela
Brazil v Chile
Ecuador v Argentina
Peru v Colombia
Uruguay v Bolivia

Episode 266: Boca still lead the way, Banfield impress and an all-Argentine Libertadores semi

The two hundred and sixty-sixth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés look back on a weekend during which River Plate dropped league points for the first time this season to leave Boca Juniors as the only team with a 100% record after four matches. There were impressive wins for Banfield and Colón, who aren’t far behind the top two, and we look at a poor week for Estudiantes and San Lorenzo, who played one another on Monday evening. There’s also a brief look forward to an all-Argentine Copa Libertadores semi-final, after River’s thrashing last Thursday of Jorge Wilstermann in their quarter-final second leg, and Lanús’ penalty shootout win over San Lorenzo.

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Last week, Mystic Sam beat Mystic Liam 5-3 in the prediction battle. This week, Mystic Chris is the challenger.

Chris
Defensa y Justicia v Huracán
Unión v Olimpo
Atlético Tucumán v Belgrano
San Lorenzo v Colón
Temperley v Estudiantes
Gimnasia v Lanús
Argentinos v Racing
Talleres v Patronato
San Martín v Central
Independiente v Vélez
Boca v Chacarita
Tigre v River
Banfield v Arsenal
Newell’s v Godoy Cruz

Sam
Defensa y Justicia v Huracán
Unión v Olimpo
Atlético Tucumán v Belgrano
San Lorenzo v Colón
Temperley v Estudiantes
Gimnasia v Lanús
Argentinos v Racing
Talleres v Patronato
San Martín v Central
Independiente v Vélez
Boca v Chacarita
Tigre v River
Banfield v Arsenal
Newell’s v Godoy Cruz

Episode 263: The new season’s started! Someone tell the national team

Hand Of Pod returns from an extended winter break, and in episode 263 Sam is joined by English Dan and Andrés to run the rule over Argentina’s latest two disappointing World Cup qualifying performances. What went wrong against Uruguay and Venezuela? Is the problem solely tactical or are there, in fact, not really any of the right options even available for selection in the midfield? These are just two of the question we ask. In the second half, we take a very brief look at how the Superliga season began two weeks ago, in an opening round Sam didn’t see and which Andrés and Dan have mostly forgotten. Don’t worry, we’ll be back up to full speed next week.

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Mystic Sam’s second round predictions
Arsenal v Colón
Vélez v Atl. Tucumán
Olimpo v Independiente
Belgrano v San Martín
Estudiantes v Defensa y Justicia
Patronato v Argentinos Juniors
Racing v Temperley
Chacarita Juniors v Tigre
Godoy Cruz v Talleres
Rosario Central v San Lorenzo
River Plate v Banfield
Lanús v Boca Juniors
Unión v Gimnasia
Huracán v Newell’s Old Boys

Episode 262: Reviewing Boca’s title win, and some end of season tidying-up

The two hundred and sixty-second episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés bid farewell to a memorable 2016-17 season which ended with Boca Juniors crowned champions of Argentina for the thirty-second time, and with Sarmiento, Atlético de Rafaela, Quilmes and Aldosivi being relegated. Sam takes you through the ins and outs of Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana qualification (still pending, because the Copa Argentina final isn’t until the end of the year), and we discuss what made Boca worthy champions, what some of the other clubs will be thinking of their seasons, and our players of the season, including Sam’s Domestic Argentina Squad, which you’ll find on the HOP blogpost accompanying this episode. This is our last episode for a couple of months – we’ll be back when Sam returns from his holidays, probably at the start of September.

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Sam’s domestic Argentina squad of the season

Goalkeepers: Esteban Andrada (Lanús); Jorge Broun (Colón); Gabriel Arias (Defensa y Justicia); Alexis Arias (Gimnasia)

Defenders: Leonel Di Plácido (Atl. Tucumán); José Luis Gómez (Lanús); Alexander Barboza (Defensa y Justicia); Guillermo Ortíz (Colón); Jonatan Maidana (River Plate); Jonathan Silva (Boca Juniors); Nicolás Tagliafico (Independiente)

Midfielders: Iván Marcone (Lanús); Marcos Acuña (Racing); Gonzalo Martínez (River); Fernando Gago (Boca); Ignacio Fernández (River); Facundo Quignón (Newell’s Old Boys); Emanuel Reynoso (Talleres); Emiliano Rigoni (Independiente); Ricardo Centurión (Boca)

Forwards: Cristian Pavón (Boca); Darío Benedetto (Boca); Sebastián Driussi (River); Lucas Alario (River); Gustavo Bou (Racing)

Episode 261: Reviewing Sampaoli’s start for Argentina, and gearing up for the title run-in

In the two hundred and sixty-first episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam and Andrés look back on Jorge Sampaoli’s first two matches as Argentina manager, which ended in two victories, seven goals scored and none conceded – although one was a lot closer as a contest than the other. We also cast our eyes forwards towards his competitive debut at the end of August, where they’ll be no margin for error. As well as this, we’ve a title run-in to consider, with this weekend’s matches followed almost immediately by a round in midweek; by the time we next record, Boca Juniors could very well be champions.

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In round 27, Mystic Sam got 3/15. This week, Mystic Chris takes him on …
Mystic Sam
Colón v San Lorenzo
San Martín v Temperley
Huracán v Unión
Talleres v Gimnasia
Banfield v Central
Arsenal v Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes v Belgrano
Atl. Rafaela v Quilmes
Aldosivi v Boca
Vélez v Sarmiento
Newell’s v Lanús
Patronato v Tigre
Independiente v Olimpo
DyJ v Atl. Tucumán
River v Racing

Mystic Chris
Colón v San Lorenzo
San Martín v Temperley
Huracán v Unión
Talleres v Gimnasia
Banfield v Central
Arsenal v Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes v Belgrano
Atl. Rafaela v Quilmes
Aldosivi v Boca
Vélez v Sarmiento
Newell’s v Lanús
Patronato v Tigre
Independiente v Olimpo
DyJ v Atl. Tucumán
River v Racing

Episode 260: Previewing Argentina v Brazil, and Boca Juniors put one hand on the league trophy

The two hundred and sixtieth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés looking back over a weekend which saw River Plate lose ground in potentially decisive fashion to Boca Juniors, whose win over Independiente – combined with River’s defeat to San Lorenzo – sent them four points clear with just three matches remaining. It was also an interesting weekend for the relegation battle, and we look over the key results there. On Friday, Jorge Sampaoli’s reign as Argentina manager begins in earnest with a friendly in Australia against Brazil, and we also preview that.

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Episode 259: The top two falter, relegation edges closer for some, and more

The two hundred and fifty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod sees Sam, English Dan and Andrés discuss a fine clásico win for Racing against ten-man San Lorenzo and a victory for Talleres over a controversially under-strength Atlético Tucumán. The big stories, though, were dropped points for both Boca Juniors and River Plate, who drew away to Huracán and at home to Rosario Central respectively. Was Huracán’s late penalty controversial? (Erm, no.) Should River be kicking themselves? (Perhaps.) And are Arsenal de Sarandí and Sarmiento both going down? (Yes, surely.)

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Mystic Sam’s predictions (in last week’s head-to-head, Mystic Liam beat Mystic Chris, 6-3)
Sarmiento v Defensa y Justicia
Godoy Cruz v Atl. Rafaela
Tigre v Vélez Sarsfield
Central v Colón
Temperley v Talleres
Unión v Newell’s
Lanús v Estudiantes
Gimnasia v Banfield
San Lorenzo v River
Belgrano v Arsenal
Olimpo v Huracán
Atl. Tucumán v San Martín
Boca v Independiente
Quilmes v Patronato
Racing v Aldosivi

Episode 258: Two runners left in the title race, and the relegation battle hots up

The two hundred and fifty-eighth episode of Hand Of Pod comes after a weekend in which the relegation battle became significantly more heated, with most of the sides in or near the drop zone winning (in some cases significantly against expectations). Sam, English Dan and Andrés consider the weekend’s key moments, and also look at a title race which is increasingly looking like a straight sprint between leaders Boca Juniors and second placed River Plate. We also have a roundup of all the Copa Libertadores groups, which come to an end this week, and in a HOP first, a head-to-head in this week’s mystical predictions!

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Last week, Mystic Sam got 6/15. This week, we have two guest predictors!

Mystic Liam’s predictions
Aldosivi v Independiente
Colón v Gimnasia
Banfield v Temperley
Newell’s v Olimpo
Huracán v Boca
San Martín v Sarmiento
Racing v San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia v Tigre
Arsenal v Lanús
Talleres v Atlético Tucumán
River v Central
Atlético de Rafaela v Belgrano
Patronato v Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes v Unión
Vélez v Quilmes

Mystic Chris’s predictions
Aldosivi v Independiente
Colón v Gimnasia
Banfield v Temperley
Newell’s v Olimpo
Huracán v Boca
San Martín v Sarmiento
Racing v San Lorenzo
Defensa y Justicia v Tigre
Arsenal v Lanús
Talleres v Atlético Tucumán
River v Central
Atlético de Rafaela v Belgrano
Patronato v Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes v Unión
Vélez v Quilmes

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