Diego Maradona’s side have arrived in Bolivia for Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier in La Paz and, although the boss is keeping his cards close to his chest, it looks like there’ll be one or two changes, the most notable of which are Lucho González replacing Newcastle’s Jonás Gutiérrez, and Sergio Agüero starting on the bench. Back home, though, there’s an announcement that’s rocked the Primera A: River Plate, their financial worries apparently at an end following the discovery of oil under the Estadio Monumental, have reached an agreement to strengthen their squad at the end of the Clausura by signing Martín Palermo and Juan Román Riquelme from Boca Juniors, as well as bringing Javier Mascherano back from Liverpool.
OK, so that last bit was an April Fool. Got your interest though, didn’t it?
Gutiérrez is suspended for the match against Bolivia having been booked against Venezuela on Saturday, and whilst Maradona had initially looked at Benfica man Ángel Di María as his replacement, it seems the need for a more physical presence in the high-altitude conditions of the Bolivian capital has inclined him more towards Lucho. Martín Demichelis will replace Marcos Angeleri in the defence, whilst Emiliano Papa will get his first competitive cap at left-back. El Kun, it seems, will be rested to start with.
As such, although there are no guarantees, the starting XI that Olé are predicting, assuming no injuries in the final training session during the day on Wednesday, is as follows:
Argentina expected starting XI against Bolivia in La Paz, World Cup South American qualifiying group, 1st April 2009:
J. P. Carrizo
J. Zanetti —- M. Demichelis —- G. Heinze —- E. Papa
L. González — J. Mascherano (c) — F. Gago — M. Rodríguez
L. Messi —- C. Tevez