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There’s no time to waste for Mazatlan or Chivas de Guadalajara.
After both lost last weekend, their playoff hopes have now become slimmer ahead of their final match of the Liga MX regular season.
Depending on how some results go before Friday, a win might be necessary for either Mazatlan or Chivas in order to qualify for the playoffs.
And although Mazatlan will be hosting this one, Chivas haven’t been nearly as poor as their upcoming opponents in recent weeks.
Especially when you look at the numbers.
Chivas for the win (+140)
When glancing at FiveThirtyEight’s calculated Liga MX predictions, it’s interesting to note that they’re giving Chivas a 41% chance of winning and Mazatlan only a 29% chance.
Mazatlan are sitting one point ahead of Chivas and will be hosting Friday’s match.
So why do some number-crunchers believe that they’ll lose?
It’s all in the details, and when you dive into some of the deeper numbers, it becomes more apparent that Chivas should be the ones here who run away with a victory.
Don’t let their point total and midtable position fool you, Mazatlan are fortunate to be where they are at.
After the results from the latest batch of Week 16 matches, Mazatlan are currently the worst team in Liga MX when it comes to xG (expected goals) and xGA (expected goals against).
Striker Camilo Sanvezzo is the only thing keeping them alive, and as seen in previous losses, a strong defensive approach can typically frustrate the Brazilian forward.
As long as Chivas focus on stifling him, odds are, Mazatlan will stumble towards another defeat.
Going forward, that might possibly lead to another season without a playoff appearance as well for Mazatlan.
On the other end of the spectrum, Chivas are a bit unlucky to be sitting below Mazatlan.
We’re not saying that they should be a top team in the league, but at the very least, their 16.9 xG hints at what could have been in a tournament that has only seen 12 goals from them.
And we saw hints of that in their 2-1 loss to Tigres last weekend.
Chivas were arguably the better side throughout the 90 minutes but ultimately failed against arguably the top player in Liga MX, Andre-Pierre Gignac.
That, coupled with some chances missed, led to the end of their undefeated streak that would have stretched to four matches if they had scored an equalizer against Tigres.
Honestly, Chivas aren’t playing terribly.
In fact, if their defensive trends continue, they should be able to hold Mazatlan back for most of Friday.
It’s gradual progress but progress nonetheless.
Despite the unfortunate loss against Tigres, Chivas have only allowed five goals in their last six Liga MX appearances.
Defensively, they’ve become more resolute.
With Leaño aiming to make things complicated for opponents, Tigres have so far been the only team to score on Chivas more than once since their interim manager took over.
Statistically, no opponents have garnered more than an xG of 1.0 against Chivas in their last four games either.
Things are slowly trending upwards, and in the final game of the regular season, all signs point to Leaño helping carry them towards the playoffs with a win.
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|Mazatlan vs Chivas de Guadalajara Information
|Mazatlan vs Chivas de Guadalajara
|Estadio de Mazatlan (Mazatlan, Mexico)
|Friday, November 5th at 8:00pm PT/11:00pm ET
|How to Watch
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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