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UANL Tigres Vs. Cruz Azul, 2011 Apertura: Preview

Between the new additions of UANL Tigres and all of the roster issues that surround Cruz Azul, with additions, subtractions, and suspensions, their match looks like a very interesting one on paper. The marquee match of the 2011 Apertura's opening week could turn into a fascinating tactical battle, as it's nearly impossible to predict how Ricardo Ferretti and Enrique Meza will line up their sides.

Meza is serving a touchline ban and will not be on the sidelines, but Eugenio Villazón, Jorge Garcia, and Enrique Meza, Jr. should be well versed on his plans for the match. The suspension of Chaco Gimenez and the team's roster moves over the years have left them with a surplus of talent on the wings and no real replacement for Gimenez as a playmaker. Meza could opt for a 4-4-2 setup, or he could use Cesar Villaluz as an attacking central midfielder in an attempt to get the most talent possible on the field.

It's likely that one of Villaluz, Javier Aquino, or Javier Orozco will have to be kept out of the lineup. The players that Meza selects and the formation he deploys them in will be important, and it will be interesting to see what he does in those respects.

Tigres have some questions to answer as well, as they have more talented attacking midfield and wing players than they have spots on the roster. There's no place for all of Lucas Lobos, Danilinho, and new signing Edgar Pacheco, so one of those players - likely Pacheco - will have to start on the bench.

Ricardo Ferretti's team is arguably the most talented in the league and with both Gimenez and goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corono out for Cruz Azul, they probably beat the Blue Machine in raw talent. However, Cruz Azul should have a serious advantage in the center of midfield. Manuel Viniegra and David Toledo are solid players, but they're nowhere near the class of Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro. If there's one place where Cruz Azul can win the match, it's there.

In the end, it's tough to see Cruz Azul scoring multiple times on a tough Tigres defense, while it's tough to see an average Cruz Azul defense containing the attacking power of their opponents, but this is the Mexican Primera, the most unpredictable league in the world. If someone like Villaluz, Orozco, or Aquino is on the top of their game while the Cruz Azul center of midfield outplays their opponents, the other mismatches may not matter.