“Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” - William Shakespeare, Julius Cesar
“Does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? I don't know – The Smiths
All good things come to those that wait! Time for new endings and true beginnings!
Last Friday, marked the dawn of the new season, dubbed, (deep breath) Torneo Clausura Guard1anes 2021. Much has been said and written about the match so I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that Puebla and Chivas measured up to one another resulting in a battle of wills more than one of strategy. Even though the result was not exactly what the Chiva faithful could’ve expected or hoped for in the season opener, Guadalajara was able to come away with a tie, never a bad thing, and much to be analyzed and exorcised.
Talking about exorcisms, our first home game this season promises to be everything but boring. Hosting the first placed Diablos, who by the way are being managed for a second time by former Toluca goalkeeper and, need it to be said, ‘Choricero’ idol, Hernán Cristante, has never been anything but an on the edge of the seat, nail-biting, no holds barred, futbol battle. Toluca has never lived down giving up the trophy on their home turf and every match since then has been a struggle to see who comes out on top.
Time to look at the numbers.
In the more than ten years since that wonderous afternoon in Toluca, the stats have leaned slightly in favor of the Diablos who have come away with 8 victories to Chivas’ 6, dividing points on 11 occasions in the last 25 matches, with Guadalajara coming out on top in 3 of their last 4 matches.
Still, this is not the same lackluster Toluca of the last two seasons. In their season opener against Queretaro, the Diablos were able to come away with a 3-1 victory against Queretaro, with 44% possession and 79% passing accuracy and 9 shots in total, 4 on target, with 3 in the net. Not too shabby. The numbers do not show it, but the Choricero defense had a hard time containing Queretaro’s highly mobile forwards, and only luck and two uncalled penalties kept the score in their favor.
Chivas, on the other hand, kept hold of the ball 54% of the time, also made 79% of their 400 plus passes, with 11 shots, 6 on target. I haven’t heard mention of the great work done by Puebla after the goal scored by Ponce. The game ended up tied at one thanks to Paraguayan cancerbero, Antony Domingo Silva, and Puebla’s defensive line which was hard-pressed by the Rebaño’s offense all through the second half.
The stats are pretty even, the numbers never lie. We can expect an aggressive high press from Vuce’s starting eleven. Vucetich has drilled his boys to control and circulate the ball using the tried-and-true Triangle to break through lines and attack alternately down the middle or up the wings. Cristante’s Toluca looked much better offensively but were very slow defensively. Diablos will let Chivas do the hard work in hopes to counter and let their forwards do the talking.
The result? Chivas is going to win, of course. The easy part is done. The analysis done by me and the other gaggle of talking heads and couch potatoes can now take a back seat. Come game time all speculation will cease. Words will be forgotten and only actions will decide the outcome. We might look to the stars for inspiration, but it is what we do which decides our outcome. Masters we are of our fate. “Do or Do not! There is no try.” This is the way.
So, for a few more hours majestic Akron will wait and sit patiently. A floating cloud and green slopes, the beacon of hope for the faithful Old Guard. For now, the halls lay silent, expectant, anxiously awaiting the return of the gladiators. The Red and White. The Sacred Flock. Las Chivas Rayadas de Guadalajara.