Here your five conclusions from the eleventh and twelfth week of play in the 2017 Liga MX Apertura.
Nightmare week for Tijuana
Not all in life is milk and honey for Xolos de Tijuana. Eduardo Coudet’s men suffered two defeats this week, falling to Tigres at home and then losing to Monarcas Morelia away. Let's get the mitigation out of the way. Tigres is arguably one of the best teams in Mexico, while Xolos suffered early against Morelia by losing Emmanuel Aguilera to a red card. Unfortunately for Tijuana, though, this Liga MX campaign looks particularly unforgiving. After starting the week in a Liguilla place, Xolos de Tijuana have dropped to tenth. Tijuana will surely use these defeats for learning, but this should serve as warning for other teams that this Liga MX season won’t be any easier.
If Xolos de Tijuana had a nightmare week, Atlas couldn't have had it better. The Rojinegros won both of their games this week against Puebla and Veracruz, teams they are coincidentally fighting against for relegation survival. Tougher challenges definitely lie ahead for Atlas, and they have never really looked like an assured side this season. For now, though, there is the sense that reports of the Atlas’ demise have been greatly exaggerated, and six points from two matches is just what the doctor ordered.
Chivas post-championship struggles continue
Speaking of teams in Guadalajara, Chivas just can’t seem to catch a break. The defending champions, quite simply, must find a way to earn at least 16 points from their remaining six matches to have any chance of making the Liguilla. In other words, Chivas can’t afford to lose another game. This week, Chivas lost to a wonder goal from Lobos BUAP and then suffered defeat to Tigres thanks to a last-minute penalty call that looked more than dubious. For a long time, Chivas had to shoulder the burden of not having Alan Pulido healthy. Now that Pulido is back, it seems like Chivas are completely out of the Liguilla race. The bottom line is the Liguilla would not be the same with Chivas, especially one which is healthy and is capable of playing some of the best fútbol in all of Mexico.
Club America bounce back from defeat to show great team chemistry
After losing in unusual fashion against Club Leon on Wednesday, Club America showed themselves to be contenders again by beating Toluca 2-1 at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. Chivas’ struggles will surely seize the narrative in the upcoming days, but if we forgive Club America’s performance against Leon, who frankly are playing some of the best fútbol in Mexico at the moment, las Aguilas can only be matched by few in this league, especially when it comes to their style of play. Silvio Romero and Oribe Peralta have adapted to the tactical requirements of being the team’s points of reference on the attack, symbolized perfectly by their well-timed runs and smart lay-offs. In addition, Colombian Mateus Uribe looked particularly promising, scoring his first goal for the team in the first half against Toluca. Sure, las Aguilas still have their brainless moments, and they had to play most of the game against the Diablos Rojos without Guido Rodriguez. But beating Toluca with 10 men is no easy task, and it is just testament of how good this America team really is.
Pumas are at an all-time low
Are we seeing the worst Pumas UNAM in the history of Mexican fútbol? The Universitarios had another horrific week, losing to Toluca on Wednesday and getting hammered 4-1 by rivals Cruz Azul on Sunday. One of the problems with former coach Juan Francisco Palencia is that the team looked little more than a pale imitation of a team that tried to play a high line and move the ball from side to side. Obviously, Pumas clearly didn’t have the players or talent for that, but at the very least you admired their willingness to stick to said style of play. With Palencia now gone, however, things just keep getting worse for the Universitarios. Pumas were not only exposed but they were embarrassed against Cruz Azul. There seems to be no end in sight, and if rumors are true, money is tight in Ciudad Universitaria. Pumas fans must brace themselves for the worst.