Liga MX - Preview and analysis of the 2019 Apertura tournament

A new Liga MX tournament is just around the corner, and as always, all the teams and their fans are trying to keep up to speed with all the changes coming in the 2019 Apertura tournament.

Changes of venue, an odd number of teams, some local and foreign top-notch players, added to the usual controversies amongst the "Four Greats" and those aspiring to enter that group, will give fans something to talk about starting this Friday.

Without further ado, we will present you this breakdown of the tournament in three categories: title contenders, dark horses and participants. Since there will be an odd number of teams playing each category may can have between six and seven teams.

Title contenders

Tigres UANL - "Long live the king," goes the saying, and that is exactly what the team from the North of Mexico will try. Ricardo Ferreti's men want to become the third team to win back-to-back titles since the short-tournament format has been in use, which would cement their reputation as the Best Team of the Decade.

America - The last winners of an Apertura tournament in the Mexican top flight get to this competition after winning a trophy against Tigres. The team from the South end of Mexico City represents the biggest threat for Tigres' hopes for success, and Giovani Dos Santos' arrival to the club has fans hyped for the upcoming tournament.

Monterrey - The other team from the state of Nuevo León is the current CONCACAF Champions League, and with their new additions and their better understanding of Diego Alonso's tactics, they can be considered as a serious threat for the two aforementioned teams. Will they finally reach the final and lift the title?

Leon - "La Fiera" shocked Mexican experts with their impressive run that saw them reach the final. Ignacio Ambriz's men face the tough task of proving that their performance last season was not a matter of luck.

Cruz Azul - The always-hopeful team will try, once again, to put an end to their 22-year-drought without a league title. "La Máquina" was eliminated by their biggest foe in their last playoff appearances, and if they can avoid facing Las Águilas this time, they might just get the job done.

Toluca - Ricardo La Volpe's arrival to the team last spring filled the team's supporters with hope. Even if they did not make the playoffs, El Bigotón's expertise may just lead Toluca all the way this time. Their new players might just give them the edge they need to get back to the top.

Dark horses

Necaxa - Los Rayos made it to the playoffs in the 2019 Clausura tournament, but some of their recent transfers may jeopardize their chances. Can Memo Vázquez lead this Moneyball-like franchise back to the last eight this season?

Pachuca - The team coached by Martín Palermo gets to this tournament with some interesting new faces, which may see the good times coming back to the Windy City. The Argentine tactician had a good debut season in Liga MX, and he will try to keep the good times rolling in his first full campaign coaching a Mexican side.

Pumas UNAM - The team from the most laureated university in Mexico has kept its low-budget policy, but Michel's arrival could give this club the edge it needs to shine. If the Spanish boss can work his magic with this young talents, Pumas will be a team to watch out for.

Guadalajara - Chivas lands in this category for their past, because their present is quite appalling. The second team with most fans in Mexico needs to win games in order to avoid relegation, and if they can make it to the playoffs...so be it!

Santos - After a number of solid years, the green and white team makes it to this tournament as a wild card. A new administration could end up giving the team strength, but their recent deals have fands guessing if they will be able to fight for a spot in the playoffs, which may be their greatest accomplishment this campaign.

Xolos - Tijuana will try to stop being an inconsistent team, and reaching the playoffs for a second tournament in a row would be a good start. Camilo Sanvezzo's arrival may be a good start for a team that wants to add a second title to their trophy case.

Puebla - The team coached by "Chelís" Sánchez Solá barely missed the playoffs last season, and as long as striker Lucas Cavallini is around, La Franja might have a chance of making it to the last eight. All Chelis needs to do is to try and motivate the rest of the team to do so...

Participants

Atlas - Los Rojinegros enter this tournament under new management, but their new players and the lack of quality among those who stayed may hurt their chances. Atlas' hopes rely on their U-20 players, but the burden of carrying the team's weight might be too much for their talented youngsters.

Atletico San Luis - The debutant team in the Mexican top flight will try to put to good use Atlético Madrid's support. Even if they are not one of the favorites to make the playoffs, their addition to the Liga MX may be a breath of fresh air to the First Division.

FC Juarez - The team from the final frontier bought their way into the Primera División, and while that might be frowned upon, their first top-flight experience might also be something to look after. Nevertheless, being involved in the battle to avoid relegation will be their top priority.

Morelia - Monarcas will make it to this tournament after several seasons in the darkness, and things don't seem to be close to changing this semester. Javier Torrente's arrival did not give the team the competitive edge they needed last season, and the poor investment made by the team's bosses does not make their future any brighter.

Queretaro - The team where Ronaldinho played for a year seems to be living tough times, which has forced them to sell some of their marquee players. Victor Manuel Vucetich will have to work overtime to make this squad competitive...or die trying.

Veracruz - The single worst team in Liga MX history is back, but they might not be in the Mexican top flight for long. Unpaid bills, a lack of new players, a pointless season and the worst record in the Primera División don't give their fans much to hope for, and after the 2019 Clausura fiasco, it seems that their cash will not be enough to keep them afloat.

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