Fabian returns as Real rallies against plastic fans

Posted by Tom Marshall

Victor Straffon/Getty ImagesFormer Chivas star Marco Fabian makes his return to Guadalajara this weekend with first place Cruz Azul.

Round five of matches in the Liga MX 2014 Clausura brings a confident Cruz Azul led by former player Marco Fabian to Guadalajara on Saturday to face Chivas in the Estadio Omnilife.

La Maquina is in first position in the Liga MX and comes into the game after destroying Veracruz 4-0 last weekend, while Chivas let a 1-0 lead slip against Atlante, bringing the wrath of a section of supporters on coach Jose Real.

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"If we were in first place there would be unhappy fans, it doesn't worry me," Real said in Thursday's press conference. "There are people that expect and we should respond in the right way, but there are a lot of fair-weather fans that just look for a pretext to discredit when there are positives."

It was a statement that caused some controversy and there is a clear line in the sand being drawn between those backing Real and those who want much more from this Chivas side.

On the one side, you can point out that Chivas are undefeated in 2014 and are in a playoff position after four rounds of matches. It is a massive improvement on last season’s series of nightmares.

The other side of the argument is that the tactics are negative; Chivas should be winning games against the likes of Veracruz, and that Real has been content to simply just hold onto leads or a point late on in games.

In the short term, Saturday's game against Cruz Azul will be a good indicator of exactly where Chivas are at after two away draws.

There will be nowhere to hide for Chivas, who need to improve significantly in the attacking third if they are to take what would be a very good three points. It is the club's most difficult game so far this year, with the Liga MX table beginning to take shape.

The game marks the return of Fabian, the player charged with lifting Chivas over the last couple of years, but one who could provide only flashes of brilliance mixed in with heavy doses of inconsistency.

Fabian is likely to receive a poor reception in from of what should be an Omnilife that gets near capacity.

"It would be a little special if I score a goal and, with full respect, I have my own commitments and I'm looking to score or assist so that my team wins," said an uncompromising Fabian in a press conference in Mexico City during the week, although he did say he would't be celebrating wildly.

But he won't be the only one for whom Saturday's game is a little extra special.

Israel Castro has, arguably, been Chivas' best player this season and the midfielder -- a Cruz Azul player for seven seasons -- has the vital job of containing a fearsome attack.

Helping him out in that will be Jair Pereira at center back, who came out of Cruz Azul's youth system. Omar Bravo is another that passed through Cruz Azul, although his time there wasn't the most successful.

How Chivas could do with a real performance from Bravo, rolling back the years, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and getting Aldo de Nigris, Rafael Marquez Lugo and Carlos Fierro working together to make the attack click.

If Chivas can't score more than once in a game for the first time in 16 outings, it could be a long Saturday evening against a Cruz Azul side hoping for its first ever win in the Estadio Omnilife.

Probable Chivas line-up: Antonio Rodriguez, Nestor Vidrio, Pereira, Nestor Araujo, Gerardo Rodriguez, Castro, Giovani Hernandez, Fierro, Bravo (C), Marquez Lugo, De Nigris,


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