It’s fair to say that despite being perennial favourites for the title with the bookies, media and fans, Boca just haven’t lived up to expectations in the last few years. Six seasons have passed since they last won a title and such an impotent period has taken a lot to get over.
In JC Falcioni though, they seem to have found the right man to progress the club. I’m of the opinion that Martin Palermo’s retirement was an enormous blessing in disguise for the new boss. Despite his goalscoring exploits and *proper* legendary status, you have to be honest and say that he was dreadfully immobile and didn’t offer the sort of dynamism that they needed. His goal-less run in his last season was principally due to some bad luck but also the fact that he genuinely began to offer little apart from his presence.
The other issue of course, as discussed here (with the rest of their resurgence) is that you couldn’t drop either Riquelme or Palermo when both fit although their games aren’t really suited. The diamond midfield that he plays has taken some adapting to, Walter Erviti followed Falcioni from Banfield and struggled at the start as he was an enganche being forced to play on the left of a diamond. Now he’s changed his game slightly – with more energy and drive than before – he gets up and down the pitch to enable the side to carry JRR – and he has arguably been their best player thus far.
Riquelme himself is a master craftsman, and his unique brand of trequartistism is something that evidently makes him an undroppable commodity – however, by playing Palermo (also obligatory) – you limit his abilities by employing a static forward, as opposed to someone who can probe space in the knowledge that the through-ball will be coming, and will be accurate.
So now, there is a strike duo of Lucas Viatri and Dario Cvitanich. Whilst neither are prolific, they make the side a far more effective attacking unit by marauding the channels and dragging teams out of position. This strategy has been very effectively supported by a brilliant defensive unit.
As mentioned in The Mirror article above, Rolando Schiavi was a signing that raised a few eyebrows. The stats speak for themselves though – having conceded 2 goals in their first 9 games this season as opposed to 13 a year ago. It’s obviously fairly clear that if you concede less, that you put yourself in a better place to win games, and that’s why they see themselves undefeated at the half-way point and romping clear of Racing at the top.
Racing now have their big derby game to focus on, and 3 points will be essential given that they dropped points last weekend, but everyone at el cilindro will just have to hope that they are still in touch when they go the Bombonera on Fecha 15 – as a win could pop them in the driving seat for the title.
There’s no doubt Racing have some of the stars of the division in Gio Moreno and Teo Gutierrez, but they have drawn five of their 9 games, evidence of their lack of killer instinct. Without the circus of the Superclasico (not just a game where Boca may have dropped points, but also one where minds drift in the upcoming weeks and affect results) – they truly have the best chance in years of pulling away this year, and are threatening to win the league by a considerable margin.