Liga MX’s fourth week has been completed, and the end result has left a dominant América all alone atop the league table with 10 points (and not Cruz Azul as I predicted in the last “Bold Predictions”), being hunted closely by both Tigres and Pumas who are tied for second with 8 points apiece. Meanwhile at the other end of the table, not many surprises with Atlas in dead last having garnered just one point thus far. Of course, Querétaro would have joined them had it not been for the most surprising result of the season so far, defeating Cruz Azul by a 1-0 score. And that’s Week 4 in a paragraph.
Coming back to present day, If there’s any headline for this weekend, it has to be the debut of new Chivas head coach Víctor Manuel Vucetich, who will try to get off on the right foot with his new squad. So, with Week 5 kicking off tonight in Puebla between Camoteros and Tuzos at 10:30 ET (9:30 CT), it’s time to take a look at our Week 5 BOLD PREDICTIONS:
- Puebla extend great start; defeat Pachuca tonight. Puebla’s impressive start to the season has been no fluke. After starting off the season vs. one of the weaker teams in Mazatlán, they have faced Cruz Azul, Chivas, and Tigres; never an easy three games in a row simply because of what those teams represent, if nothing else. They managed to pull away with a draw vs. Cruz Azul, defeated Chivas in Guadalajara, and gave Tigres a real run for their money on Tuesday night, even after Tuca’s squad took a 2-0 lead within the match’s first seven minutes. A great defensive scheme along with an organized attack have proven a good recipe for success so far. On the other hand, Pachuca have looked bewildered at times, and their only win came by a 1-0 score vs. a 10-man Querétaro. I don’t see enough in Pachuca to get the usual, expected result. Puebla takes the three points tonight.
- Vucetich leads his Chivas to a victory in his debut. Tomorrow at 6 ET (5 CT), Chivas play hosts to Atlético San Luis. While Chivas haven’t shown much this season, they proved to be a much more organized side on Wednesday when visiting FC Juárez. They definitely held their own and handed a very tough Gabriel Caballero-led squad their first loss of the season. I have no doubt Vuectich will be able to bring something similar out of this team’s overall level of play to a significant degree. Despite “Memo” Vázquez bringing together a squad who show improvement every game and who are coming off an inspiring 2-0 win in Tijuana, I believe we’ll see an even more inspired Chivas playing for their legendary new coach. Chivas wins this one hands down.
- Pumas will lose first game of the season. This one is for sure a toughy. Pumas visit lowly Mazatlán tomorrow at 10 ET (9 CT). In what has been a lucky start so far, Pumas have incredibly survived and are still standing in second place alongside Tigres. Rayados should’ve handed Pumas their first loss of the season on Wednesday, had Funes Mori or Janssen taken advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Now, having survived Rayados, everyone will look at Mazatlán like a piece of candy for Pumas, and that’s when teams seem to be the most vulnerable. I’m going with a surprise from the underdog in this one. Mazatlán should come out on top.
- Tigres defeat Toluca on the road. Toluca receive Tigres on Sunday at 1 ET (12 CT). The ‘Diablos Rojos’ have now won two out of their last three matches. Rubens Sambueza has indeed given this offense a different dimension upon his arrival, and was the deciding factor in yesterday’s win vs. Atlas with his converted penalty kick. Nevertheless, the mighty Tigres roll into town still undefeated. While it’s never easy going into La Bombonera and pulling away points, I believe these two teams are on completely different levels, and Toluca will be no match for Gignac and company. Tigres should win their second road game of the season.