Episode 279: Boca pull clear, River in crisis and Unión keep up the good form

Episode 279 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and Andrés meet to discuss the opening weekend of football in Argentina in 2018, which included a Talleres win over San Lorenzo, giving Boca Juniors the chance to open a six-point gap at the top of the Superliga table – a chance the champions took in beating Colón. River Plate lost away to Huracán and, more worryingly, showed no signs of having adapted their gameplan over the summer break. Unión continue their fine form of 2017, and are now third, while Gabriel Heinze’s spell at Vélez Sarsfield got off to a good start with a 1-0 away win over Defensa y Justicia. Newell’s Old Boys almost suffered the indignity of dropping points to Arsenal de Sarandí, but were bailed out at the last minute.

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Last week, Mystic Simon beat Mystic Sam 7-5 in the prediction battle. This week, Sam’s all on his own. Here are his picks for this weekend’s games.

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


Episode 214: San Lorenzo and River still can’t defend, and are Boca back on track?

Episode 214 of Hand Of Pod is short but sweet, as Sam and Andrés take you through the last week in Argentine football. There are some entertaining matches to discuss, with San Lorenzo’s 3-2 win over Vélez Sarsfield and River Plate’s 3-3 draw away to Rosario Central the highlights – though Boca Juniors’ 4-1 win at home to Newell’s Old Boys is also a topic of conversation, and Colón’s unbeaten start to the campaign came spectacularly undone with a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Godoy Cruz in Mendoza. The clásico de Avellaneda was a desperately dull match until the last few minutes, so we don’t waste too much time talking about it. The Copa Libertadores group stage has begun, but until we’ve seen another few matches it’s a little early to comment on that yet.

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Mystic Roberto’s predictions (last week Liam Harrison got 5/14)
Newell’s v Unión
Banfield v Godoy Cruz
Estudiantes v Argentinos
Sarmiento v Quilmes
Defensa y Justicia v Aldosivi
Huracán v San Lorenzo
Patronato v Belgrano
Colón v Central
Atlético Tucumán v Atlético de Rafaela
Olimpo v Arsenal
Racing v Boca
San Martín v Lanús
Vélez v Gimnasia
Temperley v Tigre
River v Independiente

Episode 213: Boca, Newell’s and Vélez find their feet as others stumble

Episode 213 of Hand Of Pod sees Sam and English Dan look back on two rounds of fixtures during which Boca Juniors almost lost a manager but ultimately kept him, and found their first win of the new year thanks to a goal from Carlos Tevez. As well as Boca, Newell’s Old Boys and Vélez Sarsfield also both look rather better now than they did a couple of weeks ago, which makes Boca v Newell’s a particularly interesting fixture this weekend. Newell’s revival came in the form of a 5-0 tonking of Racing days after being played off the pitch by Central in the clásico rosarino, and Central are one of four clubs who’ve recorded three wins out of three (Aldosivi have a chance to do the same, but haven’t done yet because Huracán’s last two matches were postponed). This episode is later in the week than normal, but join us again next week, when we’ll be back to our normal schedule.

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Mystic Liam Harrison’s round 4 predictions (last week Liam Kelly got 4/14 for round 2)
Arsenal v Sarmiento
Atlético de Rafaela v Temperley
Belgrano v Banfield
Boca v Newell’s
Aldosivi v Estudiantes
Independiente v Racing
Tigre v DyJ
Godoy Cruz v Colón
Lanús v Atlético Tucumán
Quilmes v Patronato
Central v River
San Lorenzo v Vélez
Unión v San Martín
Gimnasia v Olimpo
Argentinos v Huracan

Episode 199: Boca go top with a superclásico win, and are away fans about to return to Argentina?

The hundred and ninety-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod is a post-clásico-round edition, with Sam and Andrés looking back over a weekend which saw Boca Juniors beat River Plate in the Monumental to go top of the league after San Lorenzo had surprisingly lost their derby away to Huracán. Independiente turned in the only really impressive clásico performance, beating Racing 3-0, whilst a lot of the other derbies were rather damp squibs. There’s discusssion of Newell’s Old Boys’ and Vélez Sarsfield’s disappointing current situations, and a rather dampened down plan for the return of away fans to Argentine stadia this coming weekend, with only one Primera match to see visiting supporters after all. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Mystic Sam’s twenty-fifth round predictions (last week: 6/15)
Sarmiento v Defensa y Justicia
Vélez Sarsfield v Estudiantes
Gimnasia v Tigre
Godoy Cruz v Central
Independiente v Chicago
Newell’s v San Martín
Aldosivi v Huracán
Arsenal v Olimpo
Banfield v Crucero del Norte
Argentinos v Boca
River v Lanús
San Lorenzo v Racing
Unión v Temperley
Belgrano v Atlético de Rafaela
Quilmes v Colón

Episode 187: San Lorenzo lead as Boca lose again and River get a controversial win

In the hundred and eighty-seventh episode of Hand Of Pod, Sam, Andrés and Gustavo meet to discuss the penultimate weekend of Primera División action before the league breaks for the Copa América. San Lorenzo are out on their own at the top due to a win over Quilmes combined with Boca Juniors losing for a second successive week, this time away to Vélez Sarsfield. River Plate got a slightly controversial win over Rosario Central, prompting us to ask whether Ramiro Funes Mori is the Argentine league’s answer to John Terry (because he seems to get away with a penalty decision every game, not all the… other stuff); we also look back on River’s Copa Libertadores progression last week, and Racing’s exit to Guaraní, both of which happened after episode 186 was recorded. As Gustavo is here, there’s a roundup of lower division action as well, focussing mainly on the Nacional B so far this year. HOP is sponsored by Argentina Independent, a fine English-language source of news from Argentina and across Latin America.

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Mystic Sam’s fifteenth round predictions (last week: 4/15)
Banfield v Sarmiento
Gimnasia v Unión
Argentinos v Quilmes
San Lorenzo v Belgrano
Temperley v Lanús
Colón v Huracán
Crucero del Norte v San Martín
Godoy Cruz v Arsenal
Atlético de Rafaela v Chicago
Boca v Newell’s
Central v Independiente
Olimpo v River
Racing v Vélez
Defensa y Justicia v Estudiantes
Tigre v Aldosivi

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

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 129: ¡San Lorenzo campeón!, Lanús claim the Sudamericana, and a general Inicial round-up

The hundred-and-twenty-ninth episode of Hand Of Pod is also the last of 2013, and Sam is joined by English Dan and Joel to look back over a Torneo Inicial that was settled in an entirely predictable manner; with all four of the title hopefuls failing to win, meaning San Lorenzo took the trophy by default with the lowest points total of the three-points-for-a-win era. Lanús have the consolation of the Copa Sudamericana, only the third major trophy in their history (and the second in the last six years), whilst River Plate, Boca Juniors, Racing and the rest of the pre-season supposed title hopefuls could only look on enviously. We consider Colón’s woeful last few months, look at how Independiente are going at the halfway point of their campaign in the B, and Joel gives us the lowdown on Rodolfo D’Onofrio, who as of Tuesday is the new president of River Plate, having won Sunday’s elections by a resounding margin. It only remains for us to say thanks for listening during 2013, merry Christmas if you’re celebrating it, and we look forward to entertaining (or at least bothering) you all again in 2014.

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