Here your five conclusions from the fourth week of play in the 2018 Liga MX Clausura.
Tijuana stay unbeaten with win over Puebla
On Friday, the “Fronterizos” managed to stay unbeaten by defeating a surprising Puebla team 2-0.
Tijuana have unquestionably lost plenty of talent in the transfer market in recent seasons, but they always seem to find a way to bounce back. After just four weeks, Xolos de Tijuana has been one of the more impressive and organised teams of the Clausura. Manager Eduardo Coudet’s sudden exit towards the end of last season was a big blow, but new manager Diego Cocca has proved that he is a more than an adequate replacement. Tijuana have made it a habit of being a tough team to beat in recent seasons, especially at home, and Cocca has brought a little bit of that back to the Estadio Caliente.
Of course, It remains to be seen(and unlikely) whether they can close the gap on Club America and the Monterrey teams, but this is certainly not a bad start from the Argentine coach and his players.
Tigres get the best out of Keisuke Honda’s Pachuca
Pachuca can justifiably feel hard done by their start to the season. The Tuzos have offered glimpses four weeks into the season, but on Saturday they fell for the second time this season, losing 3-2 to Tigres.
Through Keisuke Honda, Pachuca are not lacking any kind of spark or invention, and the Japanese star is without question one of the best players in Liga MX. After Tigres jumped to a 2-0 lead, very much in part to a goal that was arguably the biggest offside in the history of the game, Honda scored the eventual equalizer. As ever, Honda was once again the player that offered adventure in the midfield and something completely different from the rest of his teammates.
Tigres, though, showed that it takes more than a “fantasy” player to close the gap on them, and Andre-Pierre Gignac replied almost immediately to hand the champions all three points.
Necaxa shock Leon
Under Alfonso Sosa previously and under Ignacio Ambriz now, Necaxa were always more about destroying than creating. That’s why when the Rayos saw Leon in the schedule, they must have been salivating at the chance of taking on a technical side that likes to take too many chances defensively. Tactically, the game didn’t exactly pan out as expected, but Necaxa did come away with the win, crushing Club Leon 4-0 away from home.
Necaxa have been far from brilliant this season, but they took complete advantage of a sloppy performance from goalkeeper William Yarbrough to grab the upset of the weekend. Leon are still expected to be one of the more consistent and reliable sides in Liga MX, but this should serve as a small warning to a team prone to overreacting to simple defeats. Former manager Javier Torrente knows a thing or two about that.
Aguilas soar over lowly Atlas
Fans at the Estadio Azteca got their first glimpse of new signing Jeremey Menez, as las Aguilas ran away 1-0 winners over Atlas on Saturday. Menez’s debut could have gone a bit better, but that will matter too little for the frenchman, seeing as how his team remains unbeaten in this Clausura with eight points from four matches. In the balance sheet, a win over Atlas was always expected, and las Aguilas remain the biggest threat to the Monterrey clubs’ dominance. Rumor has it team owner Emilio Azcarraga is fully invested in his side, which means good news for Club America fans. From the club owner to the players, everybody seems to be invested in one common goal and that is what seems to make America an increasingly dangerous team in this Clausura.
Monterrey bring Chivas back to reality
The rampant nature of which Chivas came away with three points against Necaxa last week was replaced with a typical Chivas display against Monterrey. Even with the Rayados struggling to carve open opponents the same way they did during the last campaign, Antonio “Turco” Mohamed’s men did just enough to earn all three points from their visit to Chivas, 2-1 at the Estadio Akron.
After a first half in which Chivas struggled to cope with Monterrey’s high pressing and the visitors took the lead, the Rebaño Sagrado improved after the break and could have even taken a point from this one. Despite the spirit and desire shown and this not being overall a bad performance, it almost seems like we say the same thing about Chivas after every defeat; Chivas’s standard of consistency for 90 minutes is abysmal.
As for Monterrey, you’d imagine Rayados could struggle against a more durable side. That said, it is still early in the season, and obviously Monterrey will be judged by if they win the championship or not.