After a month long hiatus from writing for FMFSOM (life got in the way, sorry), your favorite Chivas writer is back (just kidding, I assume that’s Tom Marshall). You know who else was on a hiatus? That’s right, Chivas. Well, sort of. After providing the base for El Tri during the international break, and traveling to Sacramento for a friendly, Mexico’s favorite team returns to league play this week to take on Puebla. Matias Almeyda and El Rebaño will visit Los Camoteros de Puebla on Sunday evening, which should be a fairly attractive match as both teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot.
The international break was not very kind to Chivas. Oswaldo Alanis and Alan Pulido both returned to the team early with minor injuries (the FMF should look into JCO’s training methods-everyone gets injured). One advantage that Matias Almeyda has over last season is that he is managing Chivas’ deepest roster in a long time. With Pulido out for the match against Puebla, we will more than likely see a return to a 4-4-1-1 formation with either “La Chofis” Lopez or “Gullit Peña” breaking back into the starting lineup. This is a welcomed change as the 4-4-2 formation that Almeyda had been employing over the past several weeks seemed to hinder the team’s fluidity.
Although Chivas does have the deepest roster in years, and Almeyda has the team playing well, they continue to struggle to put balls in the back of the net. More importantly, the team's forwards have only scored 5 goals all season combined, and two of those goals came off penalty kicks. Almeyda must try and maximize his teams output. Controlling possession and playing attractive means nothing when you are not putting chances away.
While on paper Chivas is the stronger side, Puebla comes into the match winning their last three matches, and this has put them back in the playoff race. Not only does the team come into the match on a positive streak, their Argentine striker, Matias Alustiza, is currently one of the top goal scorers in the league, having netted 7 so far this season. Offensively, Puebla certainly has the fire power to keep up with Chivas, but Los Camoteros' backline has been a liability all season, and they will need to be cautious to not get exploited by Chivas’ speed.
With both teams fighting to climb higher in the table, look for the final game of the weekend to be one of the more attractive affairs. The return of Chofis or Gullit will surely provide the fluidity the midfield has been missing. With Chivas having the more solid backline and goal =keeper of both teams, expect for Chivas to continue their winning streak.
Chivas vs. Puebla – April 10, 2016 – Clausura 2016
Chivas defeated Puebla 3-0 at Estadio Cuauhtemoc with goals from Zaldivar, Cisneros and Bravo.