The Clásico Tapatío could not come at a better time for Club Atlas and Guadalajara Chivas. Both are floundering in the Clausura 2011 and in need of a boost of confidence to help them climb out of the rut they find themselves in.
Chivas come into the game off the back of a dismal 0-0 draw against UANL Tigres. Off the pitch there were almost as many Tigres fans as those in the red-and-white shirts of Chivas, a sign that Chivas fans have been put off going to the stadium from high ticket prices and, more importantly, an average team that fails to excite. The kings of the draw, Chivas have only lost two out of the nine league games played this season but they’ve only won two as well.
Hope lies in the youth for Chivas with Erick Torres and Jorge Mora likely to be charged with getting the goals on Saturday. That would mean out of form "Bofo" Bautista and Omar Arellano will be on the bench even though they are probably the most talented players that Chivas have, at least on paper.
Atlas’ recent form hasn’t helped ticket sales. After three victories on the trot at the start of the campaign, only four points have followed since, culminating in their worst performance of the season against Puebla last Sunday.
Honduran Carlo Costly was brought into Atlas with a lot of hope riding on his shoulders but the tall striker has failed to live up to expectations. Not only has he not scored yet, Costly looks almost disorientated and clumsy and not the same player who has a reputation of always scoring against the Mexican national team.
Coupled with the drop in form of Atlas’ main playmaker Edgar Pacheco, it’s not been a pretty last few weeks for Atlas but a derby is perhaps the best game to turn that around. There should be no shortage of motivation.
A betting expert wouldn’t bet on this game. Of all the 33 Clasicos Tapatios that have been played since Mexico started short tournaments in 1996, Chivas have won eleven games, Atlas have won eleven and there have been eleven draws.
Thankfully, after the frankly embarrassingly low attendance at the last clasico in Chivas’ Estadio Omnilife, the game will take place in the confines of the Estadio Jalisco.
Ticket sales are said to be slow. Seats at the game went on sale last Monday (Feb 28) at a special "pre-sale" price that was set to end last Saturday. That deadline was extended to Tuesday and now until Friday. Come kick off though, the stadium is likely to be full and the atmosphere electric.
Speak to Chivas fans from Guadalajara and they will tell you this game means more to them than the national clasico against America. For Atlas, the empty trophy cabinet can almost be forgiven if the team beat their bitter enemies.
Let’s hope both teams provide some entertainment to give Guadalajara football something that has been lacking the last couple of years: something to cheer about.