Tango Ball: Week Six

AFA delegates meet to discuss how they will ruin the league.

Last weekend was very good for me. Epic underdog comebacks FTW. I won’t say anything more about that though, as you’re all probably sick of me by now. I probably sound like one of those gooners that always finds a way to bring a topic back around to Arsenal. “You eating french fries? Arsene Wenger’s French. Don’t think he eats fries, though. Wanna talk about Walcott?”

Tigre fans are strutting around with a big smirk and stopping people on the street to yell “Punteros!” (top of the table!), while simultaneously worrying about relegation. More on that bizarre circumstance in a bit.

Tigre is a small club located just north of the Buenos Aires metro area near a swampy delta that feeds into the Rio de la Plata. Curiously, their nickname is not the Tigers, but rather The Matador from Victoria, which is the club’s hometown. Though Tigre has been around since 1902, they’ve never won a first division title, settling for 2nd in 2007 and 2008. They also have the distinction of being the home of one Bernabé “The Beast” Ferreyra, who was the Lionel Messi of the 1930s and had a career goals per game average of 1.04, scoring 232 goals in just 10 seasons. So that’s your rundown on Tigre.

Looking Back: Tigre beat Banfield 2-0 to go top, benefitting from Boca’s loss. Meanwhile, Vélez and Estudiantes beat Olimpo and Lanús, respectively. They’re tied on points but Vélez has a slight edge on goal diff. With a win over Belgrano, San Lorenzo moved up a notch on the relegation table, but they’re still in hot water. Newell’s beat Colón in the Santa Fe derby of teams that wear red and black. Your golden boot frontrunner is still Gastón “The Cat” Caprari, with five ol’ onion bags bulged.

Midweek Gossip and Other Nonsense: A couple managerial moves to note first. Atletico Rafaela’s manager, Carlos Trullet, resigned following a string of losses. He’s been replaced by a guy who is refreshingly not from Argentina’s mediocre manager lazy susan, but also lacks any first division coaching experience. Independiente tried unsuccessfully to hire “Tolo” Gallego, which is fine because reserves manager Cristian Diaz did a bangup job against Boca on Sunday and has been confirmed as the coach for the remainder of the season.

There’s been a good amount of chatter this week about potential changes to the league format. A proposal was made that would do away with the stupid relegation averages and create a “SuperLiga” where the top ten teams in the country would compete. This idea was confusing and stupid, and was summarily rejected. Hooray. AFA mob boss Julio “The Godfather” Grondona has indicated that he favors the status quo (Spanish link). This is also stupid because the relegation averages system creates situations like River Plate’s relegation last season, Tigre’s conundrum of being league leaders while also facing direct relegation, not to mention when Quilmes finished 2nd a couple years ago and still had to play a relegation playoff.

The possibility that Argentina’s national champions could be relegated is a traveshamockery of the game. Here’s my revolutionary proposal:

20 Teams in first division. 38 week season played during the calendar year (rather than this 2011-2012 nonsense). Top four teams get Copa Libertadores spots. Bottom three teams get relegated. Boom.

Looking Forward: Tigre get third place Estudiantes on Saturday at home. That should be a good game. I also like Vélez on the road against Unión de Santa Fe. On Sunday, Boca will try to get out of their “crisis” and beat sixth place San Martin on the road. I hope they don’t. Keep in mind that there’s only ten points separating first from last place in this league, so clubs can shift positions rather dramatically, which makes the games that much more interesting.

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4 responses to “Tango Ball: Week Six

  1. Could you expand on the current relegation system? I’m stunned and intrigued that it could be possible for the champion or runner-up to be relegated.

  2. @KCG: AFA has been using a system for about 30 years now where they average clubs’ performances over the last 3 seasons to determine which clubs get relegated each year. It favors established clubs while limiting newly promoted clubs’ chances of staying up. To quote Wikipedia:

    Relegation is based on an averaging system. At the end of each season, the two teams with the worst three-year averages are relegated, and the best two teams in the Primera B Nacional are promoted. The teams placed 17th and 18th in the average table play in a promotion/relegation playoff against the 4th and 3rd placed Primera B Nacional teams, respectively, in a two-tie decided on aggregate goals. Thus, the number of teams promoted each year varies between two and four. Newly-promoted teams only average the seasons since their last promotion.
    Averaging was instituted in 1983, two years after San Lorenzo de Almagro were relegated in 1981. That year, River Plate finished 18th out of 19 teams and would have been relegated under the old system. Racing and Nueva Chicago were the first teams to be relegated on average. Boca Juniors was also struggling at that time and had a dismal 1984 season. These facts have led some to speculate that the averaging system was instituted to minimize the chance of large clubs being relegated.

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