- Nine fixtures in Mexican league with Matchday 1 kicking off on Thursday evening
- Favorite Cruz Azul seeks to follow Clausura triumph with another title in new season
- See all odds, best bets, predictions and season preview for Mexico’s Liga MX Apertura
Mexico’s Liga MX Apertura competition is about to kick off with Cruz Azul favored for a second successive championship title.
The Mexico City-based Cruz Azul outfit won its first trophy in 23 years when it landed the season’s 2020-21 Apertura title last May.
It has since, furthermore, laid down a marker for the coming 2021-22 campaign by defeating rivals Leon 2-1 in the annual Campeon De Campeones match in Los Angeles last weekend.
Mexico Liga MX Winner Odds
|Atletico San Luis||+25000|
Odds taken on July 21 at William Hill
Leon was the winner of last season’s Apertura competition. It is now among the five leading candidates to win the new campaign’s Apertura championship, according to William Hill.
They rate Cruz Azul as the favorite at +400 with Club America at +500. Then comes Monterrey at +600 with Leon at +650 and Tigres UANL also at +650.
The opening of the Apertura will be significantly affected with many leading players away with the Mexican national teams at the Olympics in Japan and the Gold Cup in the USA.
Cruz Azul, meanwhile, was said to have destroyed a “curse” after it overcame Santos Laguna in last May’s Clausura final.
History Against Follow-Up Success
However, its chances of winning a follow-up Apertura title must contend with the weight of history.
Only twice has this feat been managed. In 2004, Pumas won the Clausura and then the following season’s Apertura.
The Liga MX All-Star roster that will face the MLS All-Stars in August is set 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/SLnkAowZR8
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 18, 2021
Then, subsequently, the same achievement was posted by Leon in the Apertura of 2013 and the Clausura of 2014 – which were part of the same season.
Liga MX operates a twin-championship system with the Apertura opening each campaign and the Clausura then commencing in the New Year.
Cruz Azul will open its bid without MVP Luis Romo and Roberto Alvarado who are in Tokyo.
There is an undemanding start for Cruz Azul when it kicks off at the Azteca Stadium on Monday against Mazatlan, which finished 13th in the Clausura standings.
But the Cruz team will open its title bid without its MVP defender Luis Romo and playmaker Roberto Alvarado who are in Tokyo. In addition, meanwhile, its attacking midfielder Orbelín Pineda is at the Gold Cup.
In addition, meanwhile, its attacking midfielder Orbelín Pineda is at the Gold Cup.
Mexico is favored to go all the way to the final at the Gold Cup which is on August 1 – potentially depriving leading teams of star players for some time.
The Olympic final, moreover, is on August 7.
Squad Strength in Depth
However, Cruz has strength in depth as it proved by putting together a 15-match unbeaten run to finish top of the Clausura regular season standing – after losing its opening two matches.
Many felt the team was pragmatic rather than entertaining. But its Peruvian coach Juan Reynoso is said to be planning a more expansive style in the forthcoming campaign.
Soccer newsletter: Liga MX's Santos Laguna chases redemption after gutting loss to Cruz Azul https://t.co/4TQUrDcGuD
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) July 20, 2021
Second favorite Club America was second in the Clausura regular season standings but was eliminated by Pachuca in the playoff quarterfinals.
However, it was the leading goalscorer in both the most recent Clausura and Apertura tournaments even though it also lost in the last eight of that competition’s knock-out phase.
Club America coach Santiago Solari knows there will be expectation that he should win the club’s first title since 2018.
America has won all three of its warm-up games this month 1-0; against fellow Liga MX teams Santos Laguna, Atlas and Tigres UANL.
Therefore, coach Santiago Solari knows there will be an expectation that he should win the club’s first title since the 2018 Apertura.
Third-favorite Monterrey was fifth in the most recent regular season but did not get past the knockout “reclassification” stage – which precedes the quarter-finals.
The team is among the hardest hit by Gold Cup and Olympic call-ups with eight players away on international duty.
It could undermine its title chances before any challenge can get started.
Leon Was Apertura Champion Last Season
Leon was the most recent Apertura champion. But after finishing sixth in the Clausura standings, its attempt at consecutive titles ended disappointingly with elimination during re-classification.
However, it retains the strength in depth to make a reasonable challenge this time around.
Finally, Tigres UANL could be the dark horse among the most favored sides.
Tigres UANL reached the final of the Club World Cup in Qatar.
It was 10th in the last Clausura standings but was preoccupied with bigger things.
After beating Los Angles FC 2-1 to win the CONCACAF Champions League last December, it went on to reach the final of the Club World Cup in Qatar.
Jonathan Rodríguez's last 2 matches with Cruz Azul 🇲🇽
– Goal to win the Liga MX title after 23 years 🏆
– 2 goals to win the Champion of Champions title after 47 years 🏆
Cabecita is showing his talent in decisive matches pic.twitter.com/4WaDerH15v
— Uruguay Football ENG (@UruguayFootENG) July 20, 2021
It was then beaten 1-0 by mighty Bayern Munich.
But it could now be ready for another big domestic challenge after last winning the Clausura in 2019.
Pick: Tigres UANL +650