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Puebla are coming into this game after a comfortable 2-0 victory over ten-man Queretaro. The victory was much needed after opening-day humiliation at the hands of Pachuca. Unfortunately for Puebla, a similar fate awaits them in the next game.
Club America were held to a frustrating goalless draw against Queretaro in the first game of the 2023 Clausura season. In the second game, the Aguilas were on the verge of losing against Toluca before Henry Martin’s 76th-minute penalty rescued a point for them.
Puebla have not beaten Club America in Liga MX since the 2018 Clausura season. Additionally, the last time Puebla beat Club America at the Estadio Azteca was in the Apertura season of 2011. The Azteca has not been a happy hunting ground for Puebla in Liga MX, and it seems that Club America will extend that streak in the next encounter.
In the 2022 Apertura season, Puebla and Club America locked horns thrice. The first encounter came in the league phase, where two late goals did not change the outcome of the game as Club America went home with a 2-1 win.
The two sides faced off once again in a two-legged quarter-final encounter in October. In the first leg, Club America netted six goals past Puebla and conceded only one. In the second leg, the Aguilas continued the barrage and scored five past Puebla, advancing to the semi-final with a staggering aggregate score of 11-2.
No team has won more Liga MX titles than Club America. They were favorites to win their 14th league title during the 2022 Apertura season before their marauding run was halted in the semi-finals by Toluca.
Club America were rampant during the league stage of the last Apertura season, which saw them finish at the top of the league table. In the 21 games they played, including the playoffs, Club America scored 51 goals.
In the league phase, they won 12 out of 17 games. However, this time around, they have dropped points in the opening two games. Club America drew two games in the entire 2022 Apertura season and now they have already matched that tally.
Averaging 2.4 goals per match, Club America had the best record in Liga MX. Santos Laguna were behind them with an average of 2.2 goals per match. Their next opponent, Puebla, only averaged 1.4 goals per match.
Club America were prolific in front of goal last season and will be hoping to bring that flair back into the side this season that has gotten off to a slow start. Their unbeaten streak at home remains intact even after losing in the semi-finals of the 2022 Apertura playoffs.
In the last 11 games Club America have played at the Estadio Azteca, they have won seven and drawn four. Two of these draws have come in the opening two matches of the new season against Queretaro and Toluca.
Club America are favorites to win the next game as they face Puebla at the Estadio Azteca. The fortress will create an intimidating atmosphere to challenge a side that has only beaten Club America three times in 29 attempts.
After joining Club America in January 2018, Henry Martin is closing in on a new milestone of 200 appearances for the club across all competitions. During this stint, the striker has scored 70 goals. Club America relied on him during the 2022 Apertura season and will rely on him again this season.
During the 2022 Apertura season, Martin was the club’s top scorer and provided the most assists. The Mexican scored 13 goals and registered 6 assists in 21 games. This season, in the opening game, Martin came on as a second-half substitute in the 69th minute. In the second game against Toluca, Martin started and nabbed a goal and an assist.
In the opening two fixtures, Puebla have lost one and won the other. Astonishingly, both results were a rarity for Puebla during the 2022 Apertura season. The side lost just three games out of 17 in the league stage last season.
However, Puebla could only finish eighth because they had the joint-lowest victories of any other team that qualified for the playoffs. Both Puebla and Juarez only won four games last season, meaning ten of Puebla’s games ended in draws.
Between 16th July 2022 and 11th September 2022, Puebla played 12 matches, drew ten and lost two. They drew eight matches in a row during this period. The streak ended with a loss against CD Guadalajara on 11th September.
This season, the key objective for Puebla will be to convert these draws into wins. However, that will not be an easy task and certainly will have a low possibility of success in the upcoming game that is against Club America.
Apart from the concerns revolving around the number of draws, Puebla will also need to work on defense this season. During the 2022 Apertura, Puebla only managed to keep two clean sheets in 20 games all season. Queretaro were the only team below them, with 1 shutout in 17 games.
Puebla’s goal concession rate was also quite poor and only better than Queretaro and Cruz Azul’s average. Puebla conceded 35 goals during the 2022 Apertura season, bringing their concession rate up to 1.8.
From a disciplinary point of view, Puebla were decent. The total tally of yellow cards picked up during Apertura 2022 was 50. However, Puebla were reduced to ten men only once during the entire last season. They were only one of three clubs to achieve this feat.
Jordi Cortizo scored five goals and registered three assists for Puebla during the 2022 Apertura season. The Mexican winger came up with the second-highest goal contributions at the club last season, only behind Martin Barragan.
Before the commencement of the 2023 Clausura season, Cortizo joined Monterrey and has already made two appearances from the bench for his new side. As a result, this season, the goal-scoring onus will be on Barragan and Federico Mancuello.
Barragan, who scored 9 goals last season, has already gotten off the mark this season when he scored Puebla’s only goal from the spot in the 5-1 hammering against Pachuca in the opening game of the 2023 Clausura season.
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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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