As we look ahead to another international break, not much has been done to move the needle at the top of the league. The same four teams continue to lead the pack, though Club América did make a splash over the weekend with a Clásico Nacional victory over rival Chivas Guadalajara.
Las Águilas finished the week with two straight victories over Chivas Guadalajara, first in the Copa MX and then in Liga MX. So what did these two Clásico Nacional victories mean for Club América’s chances? Well, it meant that Las Águilas continue to meet expectations and should continue to be treated like genuine contenders for the title.
While Chivas was quiet accommodating through the course of both matches, Miguel Herrera’s men left no doubt about who was the better team. It’s in these high-pressure situations that América tends to shine, and the defending champions demonstrated why their favoritism is no coincidence. Perhaps most importantly was the fact that América used two different teams for both matches, proving that they don’t lag behind in depth compared to the two teams from Monterrey.
At the same time, Miguel Herrera’s tactics remain quite flexible, and this in particular was one thing that helped Las Águilas on their path to the title last season. Their ability to adapt to whatever the opposing team has to offer is a trait all championship teams generally have.
Chivas is in trouble
The same can’t be said about Chivas Guadalajara. At one point this season, the oddsmakers had the Rebaño Sagrado among the top five to win the league title. Now, the probability of them even making the playoffs looks remote. Chivas is in the middle of a crisis, and in total, they have won just once in their last seven matches across all competitions. Ownership has already given current manager Jose Saturnino Cardozo their backing, but it’s abundantly clear that there is something really wrong with this team.
If you were one of the unfortunate souls who went all-in on Guadalajara when they started the season on fire, it’s never too late to pivot to another team like Club León. However, at this point, if Chivas does manage to sneak into the Liguilla, it would probably be worth sticking with the Rebaño. Chivas has one of the toughest schedules in Liga MX remaining, and in theory, if they find themselves in the Liguilla by the end of the season, they’ll probably be entering it carrying plenty of momentum.
The teams that are trending up
Finding other teams apart from Club León, Monterrey, Tigres and Club América that have made a splash this season is proving a difficult task. This has been one of the most unpredictable seasons in recent Liga MX memory, and outside the top three, the league table is something of a mess, with only five points separating fourth from 13th.
However, three teams going into the international break trending up are Cruz Azul, Necaxa and Xolos de Tijuana. If you remember, at one point the oddsmakers had Cruz Azul as the fourth favorite to win the title, but a negative streak followed and La Máquina lost plenty of pace. Now, it looks like last year’s finalist is slowly getting back in the frame of things as a team capable of making a run.
Meanwhile, Necaxa was also a team the oddsmakers were really high on earlier in the season. Like with Cruz Azul, consistency has been a problem for Los Rayos, and ideally, they would need to string a few more wins together before being taken more seriously ahead of the business end of the regular season.
Finally, Xolos de Tijuana has been a sleeper pick for a lot of people this season. The Fronterizos have left behind a weak start to their campaign and go into the international break with just one defeat in their last nine. They are officially a team worth keeping an eye on as the rest of the season unfolds.