Don’t overlook Cruz Azul here. Regardless of the fact that a more revived Monterrey will be hosting this weekend’s clash, they’ll also have a busier schedule that could hurt their chances and potentially leave some starters on the bench.
Cruz Azul for the win +188
|Monterrey vs Cruz Azul Information|
|What||Monterrey vs Cruz Azul|
|Where||Estadio BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey, Mexico)|
|When||Saturday, October 31st at 11:00 PM ET|
|How to Watch||To Be Determined|
Who has the upper hand in Monterrey vs Cruz Azul?
Is it Monterrey? Once a sleeping giant that appeared to be more in a state of hibernation, Los Rayados have slowly picked up their form in recent months. They may not have the same rhythm as the squad that lifted the 2019 Apertura title, but they are undefeated in their last four games in all competitions. And at 26 points with two games to go, they already have enough to head into the playoffs.
But what about Cruz Azul? A few eyebrows were raised in late September and early October as they, unfortunately, went through a draw and two losses, but last week’s 2-0 away win over Chivas helped stop any worries. Most importantly, star striker Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodriguez scored twice in the victory.
It’s tough to land on a clear and obvious candidate here for a win, but there are reasons to look towards Cruz Azul over Monterrey.
Let’s dive into why.
There’s something to be said about schedule congestion.
Monterrey must soon make a choice regarding their next three games that will take place in just seven days. Although they have the depth to be able to navigate the three, the big question is whether Monterrey prioritizes this weekend’s regular-season match or next Wednesday’s Copa MX championship game.
If we were to stand in the shoes of manager Antonio Mohamed, many of us might make the same conclusion: With a place in the playoffs already booked, put more focus on winning a championship next Wednesday.
It’s not an easy choice, and unless if Mohamed plans on potentially overtaxing his players, he’ll need to drop some starters this weekend.
It was only for 90 minutes against Chivas, but Cruz Azul looked like their old selves.
Fans saw them create a number of key changes, defender Pablo Aguilar looked resilient in his return from injury, and in the attack, Rodriguez was firing on all cylinders. Few teams can stop Cruz Azul when they are playing at this level. Even with a lack of possession, they easily find ways to create dangerous opportunities through counters and crucial interceptions in the opposition’s half.
In spite of the possibility of them slumping again as they did in the recent past, Cruz Azul should feel confident against an unpredictable and capricious team like Monterrey.
On the surface, it looks as if Monterrey is back. No longer falling apart in bizarre losses and draws, Mohamed and his men have picked themselves up with three consecutive victories that have at least guaranteed a playoff position this season.
That said, things get a bit more tricky when you look at the opposition they went through. Looking at the table after the latest round of matches in Week 15, Monterrey’s three wins were against teams in the bottom six. To put it differently, they defeated non-playoff teams in a season where four additional playoff spots have been given.
Monterrey has lacked a real test in weeks, and up against a dominant squad like Cruz Azul, they’ll more than likely revert to their old (new?) ways that have kept them out of the conversation regarding title favorites.
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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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