5 Key Battles for Liga MX Week 4
The fourth week of the 2014 Apertura will bring some key battles no one should miss. The Liga MX is getting more and more exciting as the matchdays go by.
Raul Jimenez continues to amaze with his accuracy and technique, while Enrique Esqueda seems to be back on track after a couple of bad years with Pachuca.
Other Mexican footballers, like Marco Fabian, must keep focus on the local league rather than in Europe, especially because Cruz Azul is not doing so well this season.
Let's take a look at the players you need to keep an eye on in the upcoming week.
Nahuel Guzman (UANL) vs. Raul Jimenez (America)
Good luck Nahuel Guzman in trying to stop Raul Jimenez. So far the UANL goalkeeper has only received three goals.
However he needs to be sharper than ever if he wants to keep a clean sheet at the Estadio Universitario on Saturday.
Jimenez leads the top scorers table after putting the ball away once vs. Tijuana and bagging his first hat-trick of the season against Puebla.
The America striker is still hoping to leave Las Aguilas for Porto, but according to Ricardo Pelaez, the club's Athletic Director, the Dragons' offer was lower than expected, as reported by ESPN Deportes (Spanish).
Despite all, Jimenez continues to be a thriving force for his side.
Dario Veron (UNAM) vs. Enrique Esqueda (Atlas)
Enrique Esqueda left Pachuca after 36 appearances in five tournaments (2011 Apertura to 2014 Clausura), in which he scored 10 goals.
El Paleta joined Atlas for the 2014 Apertura and has already made a difference on the pitch. After three games, he has put the ball away two times, helping his club to secure back-to-back wins.
But he won't have a walk in the park at Estadio Olimpico, against UNAM.
Pumas have lost their last couple of games, including one on home soil vs. Guadalajara. The main trouble has been the attacking zone, while the defense has been tight thanks to the leadership of Dario Veron.
His experience has been key so far, and he will be Esqueda's main obstacle.
Oscar Perez (Pachuca) vs. Fernando Arce (Guadalajara)
Pachuca performed great in the latest Liguilla (2014 Clausura). However, this tournament has been rather difficult for Los Tuzos.
They kicked off the season with a victory against Cruz Azul, but then they lost the following couple of games.
Guadalajara have not impressed their fans so far. Chivas have scored twice in two games (they are pending the match against Leones Negros, to be held in September); both goals were from Fernando Arce.
The midfielder has become a key man for Chivas, especially in set pieces. His long-distance shots have been instrumental for his side, but they are also a disadvantage, as the rest of his teammates are not making a difference on the pitch.
Oscar Perez has been one of the best goalkeepers in the country, having played with the national team 56 times, including one World Cup.
He has to be focused when Arce takes his chances from outside the box.
Javier Munoz (Chiapas) vs. Carlos Pena (Leon)
Leon secured their first victory of the 2014 Apertura in Matchday 3, against Morelia.
The Panzas Verdes trashed Monarcas with the help of Carlos Pena, who not only scored once but also went back to his old self. He created plays and unbalanced the rival's defense on a regular basis.
He is the kind of footballer who can keep the ball or pass it depending on the situation. His intelligence will be key against Chiapas.
Javier Munoz will be the man in charge of leading the defense, which means not only organizing the back line but also trying to stop Pena's brilliance.
Chiapas are hoping to win their second game on home soil.
Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul) vs. Michael Orozco (Puebla)
Marco Fabian is still thinking of Europe while Cruz Azul are struggling to win for the first time in the 2014 Apertura.
They lost to Pachuca on home soil and then tied with Santos and Veracruz. Overall, La Maquina have only scored once.
Fabian needs to start playing like he did last season. His performance at the 2014 Clausura earned him a spot in Miguel Herrera's World Cup team.
Puebla comes from a 4-0 loss against America, the leader of the tournament. Although they have not been impressive so far they have a 1-1-1 record, which puts them in the 10th place of the general table.
Their defense has been their weakest line. Michael Orozco needs to step up against Cruz Azul. If he loses balls and misses passes, as he did against America, Fabian will definitely take advantage of it.
All stats appear courtesy of ESPN FC, unless otherwise noted.
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