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In the last five Liga MX games this Clausura season, Atletico de San Luis have only managed to win one game. They have lost three and drawn one of the other four games. Last week, Club America visited the Estadio Alfonso Lastras Ramirez before Henry Martin and Diego Valdes handed the hosts a 3-1 loss.
Santos Laguna were on a good run but have tripped over a hurdle recently. In the last five games, Santos Laguna have won two, drawn two and lost just once. The only loss in this period came in their previous game against FC Juarez when Gabriel Fernandez and Tomas Molina ensured a comeback 3-1 win for the hosts.
This encounter will be a very close one between two mercurial sides. However, it seems as if Santos Laguna will bring their three-game winless run to an end by clinching all available points against Atletico de San Luis.
The head-to-head record between the two sides strongly favors the visitors in this encounter. Atletico de San Luis and Santos Laguna have locked horns on 13 occasions in Liga MX. Santos Laguna have nabbed eight wins, while Atletico de San Luis have only won twice.
In the last five Liga MX encounters between the two sides, Santos Laguna have won the latest three. Atletico de San Luis won one of these encounters in Clausura 2021 before the Apertura 2021 encounter ended in a goalless draw.
When Santos Laguna last visited the Estadio Alfonso Lastras Ramirez, it was during the previous Clausura season and they waltzed away with all three points after a 3-1 victory. In the last five meetings between these two teams at this venue, the hosts have only won once.
Atletico de San Luis are not title contenders but neither are they a side that can be near the bottom of the table. As things stand, Atletico de San Luis are 11th on the table, but a major concern hovers over them.
The side come into this game after picking up no points from their last two games. If Atletico de San Luis lose again, this will be the first time they lose three successive games in Liga MX since the beginning of the previous Clausura season.
During the Apertura 2022 season, Atletico de San Luis never lost three games in a row. However, this time around, against Santos Laguna, that unfortunate record could be broken, unless the hosts pull a miraculous result out of the bag.
Atletico de San Luis have scored seven goals in seven games so far. Almost half of their goals have come from new striker Leo. Javier Guemez, Juan Sanabria, and Sabin Merino have scored one each so far this season.
Atletico de San Luis are following the same pattern they followed in the Apertura season when they relied on Abel Hernandez for goals. Out of the 15 goals scored by Atletico de San Luis in the Apertura season, eight were scored by Hernandez.
Ultimately, Atletico de San Luis missed out on the final playoff spot by just a single point. This season, at least two attacking players will have to step up and share the goal-scoring responsibility with Leo if the side are aiming for a playoff spot.
At the other end of the pitch, the Atletico de San Luis defense is doing all it takes to keep attackers at bay. Two out of the four defenders in the Atletico de San Luis backline are ranked second and third in the clearances per 90 minutes table.
Left-back Jose Garcia has maintained an average of ten clearances per match. Meanwhile, center-back Unai Bilbao has made 8.4 clearances per 90 minutes so far this season. The solid effort in defense has helped Atletico de San Luis keep three clean sheets so far.
Santos Laguna finished third in the Apertura 2022 league phase, but find themselves in a muddled situation at this point. The side are coming into this game after dropping points in their last three Liga MX games.
The last time Santos Laguna went four successive games without a win was during the final four league games of the Clausura season of 2022. After that, the longest Santos Laguna have gone without a win is three consecutive games.
The eagerness to clinch three points after three frustrating outings, coupled with the superior head-to-head record could help Santos Laguna avoid this unwanted streak and bring them back on the right track.
Quite a few Santos Laguna’s attackers will miss this encounter against Atletico de San Luis. Three players are on the injury list, while Cecilio Dominguez will serve his suspension after seeing a straight red in the 95th minute against FC Juarez last week.
Striker Eduardo Aguire has not featured in a game after he was sent off during Santos Laguna’s 3-0 thumping against Tigres UANL in January. The striker has served his suspension but a back injury has ruled him out till March.
After his loan stint with the Newcastle United Academy, Santiago Munoz is back at Santos Laguna. The 20-year-old striker is also doubtful ahead of the game against Atletico de San Luis but could be fit enough to make an appearance off the bench if needed.
Santos Laguna’s first-choice defensive duo is Hugo Rodriguez and Felix Torres. In the absence of Ronaldo Prieto, Torres has done well, while Rodriguez’s performances have been inconsistent. Torres won 15 duels in the match against FC Juarez last week.
Coach Eduardo Fentanes could try and deploy a defensive partnership of veteran Matheus Doria and Torres in defense to try and get more clean sheets. So far this season, after six games, Santos Laguna have only kept one clean sheet.
It will be interesting to see what the back line looks like once Prieto returns to the squad.
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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