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CF Monterrey finished second in the Apertura 2022 league phase and reached the semi-finals of the playoffs
Toluca finished sixth in the Apertura 2022 league phase and were the runners-up in the playoffs
The reverse fixture between the two sides in the Apertura 2022 league phase ended in a 1-1 draw
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Pick: CF Monterrey to win (-133)
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Both sides have done exceptionally well in the Apertura phase. After an opening-day disappointment against CD Guadalajara, CF Monterrey have bounced back really well with three wins on the bounce. They have scored eight goals in the last three games but have failed to keep a single clean sheet.
Toluca, on the other hand, have gotten off to a slow start but are still unbeaten in the league. In the opening fixture, they were held to a goalless draw by their rivals Club America. Toluca will surely have an eye on the title this season after reaching the finals during the Apertura season.
However, the recent form, odds, and history books strongly favor the hosts in this crunch encounter. Riding on the momentum gained so far, CF Monterrey can make it four wins on the bounce.
The reverse fixture between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Nemesio Diez. The overall head-to-head record is perfectly balanced as both sides have won eight games against the other in Liga MX and nine games have ended in a draw.
Toluca have visited the Estadio BBVA 12 times in Liga MX. They have won only once. That solitary victory came in Clausura 2016. In the last six games between the two sides at this venue, CF Monterrey have won five and drawn one.
Clinching their fourth win of the season in their fifth league game will give CF Monterrey the perfect momentum in the title race of the Clausura season. It is still early days, but CF Monterrey will not want to drop any points this season, especially those which are easily winnable.
Going into the match against Toluca, CF Monterrey will have a better recent form. In addition to that, the Estadio BBVA has not been a happy hunting ground for Toluca and even for other teams who have visited the arena.
CF Monterrey lost at home in the opening game this season. However, during the Apertura league stage, the side went the entire season without a single loss at home. They won five out of eight home games, drawing the other three.
This Clausura season, CF Monterrey will be eager to replicate that home record to cement a top-three finish in the league before heading into the playoff where they might come face-to-face with their next opponents, Toluca.
CF Monterrey certainly don’t have goalscoring issues, as they scored 34 goals last season. However, clean sheets are a concerning aspect for the Apertura 2022 semi-finalists. As long as CF Monterrey score more than their opponents, the lack of clean sheets will not matter to them. However, on a day the attack misfires, CF Monterrey could land themselves in trouble.
Last season, CF Monterrey kept the cleanest sheets in the entire league. But this time around, they have struggled to keep a single one. In fact, this season on average, CF Monterrey have conceded 1.3 goals per match. However, they are scoring an average of two goals per game and that is the reason why CF Monterrey are close to the summit of the league.
CF Monterrey’s attacking prowess was evident last season so the club did not rope in any attacking players during the transfer window. Center-back Victor Guzman was signed from Club Tijuana to reinforce the defense this season.
The young defender has played two games for CF Monterrey this season and has been deployed as a right-back, replacing the injured Erick Aguire. Guzman won 100% of the ground duels he was involved in and also won five out of seven aerial duels, showing everyone around him why he deserves a starting eleven spot.
Despite finishing sixth in the Apertura 2022 league phase, Toluca went all the way to the finals before losing to Pachuca. The club has been quite active in the transfer market as well, trying to strengthen all areas on the pitch, especially their defense.
Looking at their performances and signings, Toluca’s intent to go all the way for the title is quite evident. However, first, they have to clear a giant hurdle directly in front of them in the form of CF Monterrey.
Club Deportivo will surely nab a qualifying spot but the goal will be to finish in the top two. A win against CF Monterrey will be the perfect result for coach Ignacio Ambriz. However, the inconsistency factor will play a big role in this encounter.
Toluca made four signings in the recent transfer window and three out of those were in defense. The inbound players have made a positive impact so far and the best performances have come from the two new full-backs - Maximiliano Araujo and Carlos Orrantia.
After joining Toluca from Puebla FC, Araujo has already pocketed two assists this season. The 22-year-old left-back has instantly cemented his spot in the team. On the other flank, Orrantia was pulled in from Santos Laguna and has ended up scoring on his debut against Club America.
In addition to that, their third defensive signing, Brian Garcia, was quite impressive in the 0-0 draw against Club Leon. The former Necaxa right-back replaced Orrantia in that game and finished with a long-ball accuracy of 100%.
Camilo was Toluca’s top scorer in the Apertura season. The striker scored nine goals. Jean Meneses scored eight, while Leonardo Fernandez scored six. The trio had 23 goals between them last season.
This time, none of them has managed to get off the mark so far. Even the creativity department seems to be struggling at Toluca. Fernandez was the man with the most assists last season, with ten in all. So far, only Maximiliano Araujo has provided two assists.
Carlos Gonzalez has found the back of the net twice and Camilo has only set up one goal so far. Toluca have several options for attack but it seems that none of them are working on a consistent basis.
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Teams: CF Monterrey vs Toluca
Location: Estadio BBVA Bancomer
Time: Sunday, February 5 at 8:10 pm ET onwards
How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
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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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