Down to five matches now and the weekend’s action has knocked a few more apples off the tree.
With five, or in some cases four, matches left to play, seven teams are still realistically at least marginally in the hunt for the championship.
Vélez are eight points back and have to be considered a real long shot. Only a complete train wreck at the top of the table are going to get them a chance at a trophy.
Central sit seven points back, but have already played their match against Estudiantes that was scheduled for round 18 so they have only four games to make up the points. Even less likely to happen than Vélez, but they still have to play Newell’s so they are guarding a smidge of hope. If either of these two teams don’t win out they have no chance.
Next up is Estudiantes, who are only six of the pace, but have played an extra match already and are focusing on the Club World Cup, so I’m thinking they are basically out of the race.
Independiente also lie six back, but have the luxury of five matches to make it up. The problem they have is that their are co-leaders so they will need two teams to stumble although they have Banfield this weekend.
Colón sit four back of the leaders and are in a good spot should they stumble to try and take advantage of it.
Banfield sit top of table on 32 points and close out the season with a favorable schedule at Independiente, Racing, at Huracán, Tigre and at Boca. Not exactly a murderes row, so four wins is not a stretch and five isn’t out of the question.
Newell’s are level with Banfield but face the harder schedule to finish out the season starting this weekend with the clasico against Central and then away to Colón, home for Arsenal, at Gimnasia and home for San Lorenzo.
Banfield is increasingly looking like the team to beat, as they finish the season by playing teams currently sitting 4th, 10th, 18th, 19th and 20th out of 20 teams.
On the other hand, Newell’s face teams currently sitting 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, and 14th.
I’m still not ready to call it, but the race is basically down to four teams with one of those looking increasingly dominant. We’ll see what week 15 brings.
The big matches will be Banfield-Independiente and Newell’s-Central from a title perspective. A Banfield victory would all but bury Independiente and Central’s slim hopes would be completely crushed with even a draw at Newell’s.
I’ll give it one more week to see how it shakes out and then I’ll break down the chances of the teams still in the hunt.