It's almost time for Week 4 of the 2019 Clausura! Before Liga MX futbol returns with another weekend of highly anticipated matches, here are three things to watch out for:
Chivas aiming for four wins in four
It is almost astonishing to see the immediate progress that Chivas have made in 2019. Last season, it took the team from Guadalajara nine matches to eventually slump to four victories. This season, they might be able to reach that tally in less than half the time.
Revived by a much-needed addition of fresh talent over the winter, Chivas have not only held onto the top spot in the league table after three weeks, but have also defeated heavy-hitters such as Cruz Azul and Toluca along the way. Chivas look like an entirely different side from 2018, and although it's far too early in the season to make promising predictions, it hasn't stopped numerous fans of the club from dreaming about a return to the playoffs.
All that said, when looking ahead, a tricky match against Santos Laguna awaits the current league leaders. Despite the fact that Los Guerreros have looked far from their best in the first few weeks of the season, highly-talented players like Julio Furch, Diego Valdes and Jose Juan Vazquez all have the potential to carry Santos to a win.
A home-field advantage at the Estadio Corona -- a venue in which Santos Laguna have only lost twice in their last 22 league games -- should also complicate things for the visiting side.
Martin Palermo's first match as Pachuca manager
Earlier this week, a few eyebrows were raised when Pachuca announced that Martin Palermo would be the next manager of the Liga MX team. Even for a club that is as progressive and forward-thinking as Pachuca, selecting a young coach with no Liga MX experience has generally been viewed as a bit of a gamble.
Luckily for the Argentine 45-year-old, he'll have a decent chance of quickly winning over some skeptics through a straightforward match at home this Saturday. Following two draws and a loss, Pumas head to Pachuca with little momentum Team captain Pablo Barrera will also be missing for the visiting side after earning a red in a recent draw against Atlas.
As for Palermo and Pachuca, the newly-appointed manager will have a wealth of talented options at his disposal. Edwin Cardona, Ismael Sosa and Victor Guzman are just a few of the high-profile names that could easily make Los Tuzos a playoff team once again.
A win against Pumas would do plenty to help right the Pachuca ship and set a new path towards the top eight.
The beginning of a new era for Toluca
On Wednesday, Toluca officially presented the team's six winter reinforcements. Although some are either returning to the club or have already earned minutes this season, three have yet to make their official debut with the team: Federico Mancuello, Emmanuel Gigliotti and Jonatan Maidana.
Time will tell how long e these three will need to adjust to their new surroundings, but on paper, they all have the capabilities of turning Los Diablos Rojos into one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Whether it be Gigliotti taking charge in the frontline, Mancuello in support through the midfield or Maidana bolstering the defense, Toluca now have much more experience and firepower to rely on in 2019.
Now, the big question heading into the weekend is if any of the three will make their debut. With a star-studded match against Tigres this Sunday, many Toluca fans will be keen to see some of their newest additions test themselves against a Liga MX powerhouse.
Three points at home, especially over Tigres, could help make an early statement in the club's new era.