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This game will pit two of the worst teams in the Liga MX last season against one another on Friday night as both teams open their respective seasons.
Juarez finished 16th last season with 15 points in 17 matches. They were one of only three teams in the Liga MX last season to lose 10 or more games. However, Juarez did find some momentum towards the end of the season, winning two of their last five matches to push themselves out of the bottom of the table.
Nexaca, on the other hand, just had no rhythm for the duration of the season. They finished dead last in the Liga MX with 11 points in 17 matches, including four defeats in their last five matches. That run of form was simply not good enough against a pack of middling teams that also failed to put much on the scoreboard.
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Juarez relied heavily on David Lezcano last season. He delivered by producing 5 goals, the most for Juarez, along with three assists, also the highest for his team. No other player from Juarez came close to his level of production in the final third.
Now remember, Juarez are not a team that has dominated their offensive game. Last season, they only managed to score 13 goals, the second fewest in the Liga MX. An average of under a goal per game is always a recipe for disaster, and that proved to be true.
Juarez were appalling defensively, allowing 29 goals to be scored. Their goal difference of -16 was comfortably the worst in the Mexican league. While San Luis conceded more goals (33), Juarez will not want to be competing for worst in the league. If players can contribute and chip in, like Lezcano did last year, Juarez could even find a spot in the top 12.
While Nexaca will not be aiming to finish in the top 12, which ensures qualification for the playoffs series in the Liga MX, they will still have lofty ambitions in order to prevent a last-place finish, like the 2020-21 season.
Nexaca will be desperate to improve on a season in which they scored just 14 goals. That meant the team managed to win just two games through the entirety of the season, an untenable tally in a relatively long 17-game season.
Nexaca also had defensive frailties, just like Juarez. Nexaca also conceded 29 goals at an average of close to two goals per game. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Nexaca finished at the bottom of the league. They will need to find some defensive compactness in order to stand a chance against teams that don’t concede so many goals.
The blockbuster fixture from the first round of matches from the Liga MX is a strong Club America unit facing a resurgent Puebla team. Club America finished the regular season of the previous edition of the Liga MX with 38 points in 17 games.
They will face a Puebla team that punched well above their weight to finish third in the regular-season standings with 28 points in 17 matches. Eventually, they were beaten by Leon in the quarter-final of the playoffs.
While Puebla will be hard to defeat in these conditions, Club American does have a slight skill advantage, which will have a massive difference down the stretch, especially in the final third making them a strong bet.
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Puebla scored 25 goals in the Liga MX this season in 17 regular season matches. Only three teams scored more, including Club America. Puebla built their success around their offense, which has remained steady.
The main striker in the final third will be Daniel Alvarez, who led the scoring with four goals last season. Christian Tabo and Fernando Aristeguieta contributed with three goals apiece but it will be Alvarez’s job to ensure Puebla can maintain their offensive prowess from last season.
Apart from offense, Puebla will also look to repeat their defensive heroics from last season. Puebla allowed just 11 goals, joint fewest in the Liga MX. That is not easy to do against some of the better, quicker teams in the league. These will all be attributes where Puebla can mount a challenge against the might of Club American in this season opener.
In a slow-moving league like the Liga MX, it can be important to score goals because that is the differentiating factor between teams that simply cannot break down defenses with quick, crisp passing in the final third. That is where Club America have a chance.
They scored 26 goals last season, joint highest along with league leaders Cruz Azul. That offense was led by seven goals from Henry Martin, who was stellar in his goal-scoring duties. He was supported by Roger Martinez, who scored four goals, and Emanuel Aguilera, who chipped in with a vital three goals.
In all, it seems like Club America are better suited for quick soccer across all phases of the soccer pitch. Their stats suggest they transition better from the middle into the final third, which could help them find a final pass or a clever through ball that could catch Puebla out.
If that does pan out as expected, then Club America will be a strong choice through the first half of this season, especially considering they have lucrative odds that allow bettors to multiply their investment without the same level of risk as some other bets in the Liga MX.
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|Teams||Juarez vs Nexaca, Puebla vs Club America|
|Location||Estadio Olimpico Benito Juarez, Estadio Cuauhtemoc|
|Time||Friday, January 7 at 8.00 PM EST onwards|
|How to watch||Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes|
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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