By Tom Nash.
The Argentine Liga Profesional got underway only eight weeks ago, but that provided enough time for a clear set of winners and losers.
The most obvious loser was Leandro Stilitano, Independiente manager who was fired after winning one of the opening eight fixtures.
El Rojo were not expected to compete at the top this year but being 20th out of 28 teams was deemed unacceptable.
Another man who will be looking uneasily at the exit door is Boca Juniors manager, Hugo Ibarra.
He led the team to the league title in dramatic fashion in October, but consecutive defeats have left the champions 14th over the international break. He won’t get too many more chances to put Boca on the right path and speculation over his replacement is already rife.
Vélez’s poor start led to the dismissal of Alexander ‘Cacique’ Medina and paved the way for the return of a coach with both Copa Libertadores and World Cup experience — Ricardo Gareca.
The other three of the ‘big five’ could fall under the winners category.
New River Plate manager Martin Demichelis has his team top with six wins from eight, satisfying the intense pressure for results at the club for now.
Just two points behind are San Lorenzo, who were top after seven games. A title challenge was not forecast so second is a satisfactory position for Ruben Dario Insúa and his squad after the opening rounds.
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Fernando Gago’s Racing, themselves among the favourites, are now fourth after a series of wins, only four points off the pace.
Gabriel Heinze’s return to the country is going relatively well too as Newell’s Old Boys lie sixth, on the same points as neighbours Rosario Central.
Action resumes on Friday night as River hope to extend their lead to five points when they face Unión at home.