Monday Musings: Santos perfect; Gignac a real ’10’

Brian Lozano, left, and Julio Furch are leading a potent Santos attack. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images)
Brian Lozano, left, and Julio Furch are leading a potent Santos attack. (Photo by Manuel Guadarrama/Getty Images) /

Santos looks like a beast; Gignac is lighting up the scoreboard; Veracruz continues to be a punch line.

Santos won its fourth straight to open the Apertura 2019 season. This is the first time the Guerreros have had a 4-0-0 start since the Apertura 2010. Santos reached the Finals that season, before losing to Monterrey.

Santos is the only perfect team in the Liga MX through four games – claiming sole possession of first place with 12 points (and also No. 1 in our inaugural Power Rankings) – and is one of only three undefeated teams remaining. Querétaro and América are 3-1-0 (10 points).

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At the other end of the table, there are four winless teams – Pachuca and Toluca are 0-1-3, while Puebla and Veracruz are 0-1-2.

Thus far, the Albiverdes have not given up a goal from the run of play. Both goals conceded by Santos this season came on penalty kicks and their goal differential is an impressive +10 thanks to their 12 goals (the only team in double digits already).

Coach Guillermo Almada – aka the “Uruguayan Guardiola” – has punched all the right buttons after remaking the squad that went 6-4-7 last season. His aggressive attacking style has produced flashy play from Brian Lozano (tied for the league lead with 4 goals) and striker Julio Furch scored twice against Puebla on Sunday. The re-fashioned back four has also played well, with Hugo Rodríguez working well alongside Matheus Doria in central defense. The decision to bench captain José Abella for Carlos Orrantia at right back is also working.

In-form Gignac lights it up

Tigres superstar Andre-Pierre Gignac converted a hat trick during the first 23 minutes of Saturday’s game vs. Necaxa. That gave APG10 four goals in 25 minutes of action after he scored the game-winner against the Pumas last week in minute 89.

Santos perfect; Gignac a 10
Andre Pierre Gignac scored a hat trick Saturday night and now has four goals on the season. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

Gignac leads the league with those four goals (tied with Santos winger Brian Lozano).

The Frenchman became the Tigres all-time leading scorer last week with his late strike against the Pumas, surpassing Tomás Boy who had 104. Gignac now has 108 and Tigres ownership is talking about erecting a statue outside the stadium to honor the two-time Liga MX scoring champ.

What, me worry?

Atlas, Guadalajara and Querétaro are off to solid starts this season, easing relegation concerns. All three clubs won this weekend with the Chivas’ win over Atlético San Luis being the most significant.

With the 3-0 home victory, the Chivas leap-frogged over the Tuneros into 17th place in the relegation standings, inching closer to Juárez in 16th. Querétaro has climbed to 15th and Atlas is now in 14th.

There’s still a long way to go, but if the Chivas, Zorros and Gallos Blancos continue to play well, they should be clear of demotion headaches before the Clausura 2020 kicks off.

And of course, all three teams have a safety net below them – Veracruz. The Tiburones are a complete mess and look to be in line to suffer relegation two seasons in a row.