A battle of the two most suffering fan bases in the Liga MX will be seen in this week 7 of the Liga MX Clausura 2017 when Cruz Azul host Atlas at the Estadio Azul this Saturday, February 18, 2017 (3:00 PM Pacific). Both teams are currently in mid-table and need to sum up points to get a playoff spot in this tournament.
Cruz Azul is a peculiar team in this tournament that has played well, but has not achieved the favorable results to go along with its style of play. Paco Jemez has made an impact on this team, but people are still trying to decide whether it is positive or negative. So far, the Spanish manager has only achieved one win and three draws in six weeks of play. Cruz Azul has dominated in possession in five of its six games this tournament, this is something Jemez has implemented within the team. Some of the most impressive players in this Clausura for ‘la maquina’ have been some of the new players who have recently joined the club in Martin Rodriguez, Angel Mena and Gabriel Penalba.
Mena and Rodriguez have supplemented three of the six goals for the ‘cementeros’ in this tournament. While Penalba has done, a fantastic job controlling the midfield and providing solid defensive work for Cruz Azul. Penalba is among the players who have the highest passing accuracy in the Clausura at 87 percent. The Argentine midfielder has also contributed with an assist and 70 recovered balls in the competition. The Mexico City team has not been playing to its potential in this Clausura and need to start summing up points for its tormented and patient fan base.
Atlas is another team whose fan base has suffered for years now, many having not been alive to see the team’s first and only league title in 1951. The fans are incredibly loyal and patient for the franchise, but who knows how much longer Jose Guadalupe Cruz will reign at the Estadio Jalisco. ‘El Profe’ has not had a bad campaign, just two points away from a playoff spot, but overall the team has not looked like a playoff team. The ‘zorros’ are coming from a huge defeat in week 6 of the tournament, 2-1 against arch-rivals, Chivas de Guadalajara.
Many new signings have not lived up to their potentials like Matias Alustiza and Fidel Martinez who have not imported much to the ‘rojinegros’ attack. The top goal-scorer for this Atlas team has been Martin Barragan with two goals, ‘el gasolinero’ has only played in 201 out of 540 possible minutes. Maybe it is time for Barragan to start making the starting 11 more often, for the team to generate more attack this tournament. Clifford Aboagye is another player who has looked impressive, but has not received much playing time.
The Ghanaian midfielder has only played in 167 out of 540 possible minutes, but has looked sharp in his limited playing time. Aboagye has generated chances and has looked solid in the midfield for Atlas, his passing accuracy is also quite high at 82.6 percent. He is another interesting player that Jose Cruz may consider starting for this game, it will be interesting to see what lineup Cruz brings out for this game. The match should be a hard-fought encounter with both teams in need of the three points from the game.