Should Boca Juniors go on to clinch the Primera Division title within the next couple of weeks, their success would owe a lot to Guillermo Schelotto’s timely alteration of his system during the second half of the campaign.

The title triumph of Lanus last season further validated the notion that Argentina’s top flight is no longer under the control of its traditional powerhouses River Plate, Boca Juniors and Independiente.

Indeed, the beginning of this campaign felt more like a goodbye to some old values and faces as Agustín Orión departed following half a decade of being a reliable servant of the club.

With limited funds available, Schelotto’s business in the transfer market was bound to be kept at a low profile as the likes of Sebastián Pérez, Axel Werner, Ricardo Centurión and Fernando Tobio arrived on affordable loan deals.

Even though Boca were thriving in the Copa Argentina, the faulty aspects of the 4-3-2-1 system did some damage to their league form and the 1-0 defeat against champions Lanus, so early in the campaign, proved to be a worrying sign of things to come.

Following the sacking of Rodolfo Arruabarrena in spring 2016, his successor was expected to introduce a new brand of football which would not only be appealing to an unforgiving crowd but also deliver maximum points on a regular basis.

However, the rigors of the managerial role at La Bombonera was seemingly difficult to deal with for a relatively young coach like Schelotto who is still learning a thing or two about how to guide a team from the dug-out in a very demanding environment.

Judging by the frustrating figures cut by star forwards Darío Benedetto and Cristian Pavón as Los Xeneizes bowed out of the cup to Rosario Central, a change felt imminent and indeed, that change soon arrived with a devastating impact.

A new 3-4-3 system has helped Schelotto figure out the best use of each player in his attacking unit and Boca have now managed to win 13 of their last 16 domestic games as a result.

In midfield, Fernando Gago and Pablo Perez are no longer shackled as they were in the old system and the emphatic 3-0 victory over Independiente a fortnight summarized how far the team has come.

With River Plate still only four points behind in second place, Boca cannot afford to count their chickens before they hatch.

However, there is no doubt that the tactical flexibility of Schelotto has been rewarded with results which have drastically improved the state of the club in comparison to where they stood 12 months ago.

Samuel SchubertPost
Should Boca Juniors go on to clinch the Primera Division title within the next couple of weeks, their success would owe a lot to Guillermo Schelotto's timely alteration of his system during the second half of the campaign. The title triumph of Lanus last season further validated the notion that...