Argentina vs Venezuela
Argentina vs Venezuela
Argentina will host Venezuela at La Bombonera on Friday in a CONMEBOL World Cup 2022 qualifier, looking to extend their unbeaten record to 30 matches across all competitions.
The hosts have already secured their place in this year’s tournament in Qatar, while the visitors are one of two South American nations already eliminated, along with Paraguay.
- Argentina will be without nine players this month, including Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Emiliano Buendia, and Giovani Lo Celso, who have all been suspended for two games following a COVID-19 protocol violation against Brazil last September.
- Lautaro Martinez is out with a coronavirus infection, while Paulo Dybala, Marcos Acuna, Lisandro Martinez, and Alejandro Gomez are all nursing ailments.
- Lionel Messi has returned to the senior squad following a COVID-19 infection last month. He is anticipated to start alongside two of Angel Di Maria, Julian Alvarez, Angel Correa, Joaquin Correa, and uncapped Lucas Boye.
- Nicolas Otamendi and Nicolas Tagliafico are available to play on Friday after serving one-match suspensions last time out, and will almost certainly start at centre-back and left-back, respectively.
- Leandro Paredes and Rodrigo De Paul both served one-game suspensions last month and might be given starts alongside Guido Rodriguez.
- Cristian Casseres is available to play for Venezuela following a one-match suspension last month, and he is expected to fight with Jose Martinez for a starting position alongside 115-cap Tomas Rincon.
- Roberto Rosales, a seasoned defender, will look to take the role of Ronald Hernandez at right-back, joining Jhon Chancellor, Nahuel Ferraresi, and Oscar Gonzalez in the back four.
- Salomon Rondon of Everton, who scored a hat-trick in January’s 4-1 triumph over Bolivia, could retain his starting position ahead of Josef Martinez, with Darwin Machis and Yeferson Soteldo expected to start on the flanks.
While Venezuela can play without fear in Buenos Aires, Argentina will need a victory on Friday to keep their faint hopes of finishing above table leaders Brazil alive.
Even with a number of absentees, we expect La Albiceleste to record a routine home victory and prolong their impressive unbeaten run.
Our prediction is Argentina 2-0 Venezuela
Argentina: Armani; Molina, Otamendi, Martinez Quarta, Tagliafico; De Paul, Rodriguez, Paredes; Messi, J. Correa, Di Maria.
Venezuela: Farinez; Rosales, Chancellor, Ferraresi, Gonzalez; Martinez, Rincon; Machis, Otero, Soteldo; Rondon.