Liga MX as topsy-turvy as ever as title favorites struggle in Jornada 8

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Guillermo Arias
Chaos is familiar to fans of Liga MX, and this weekend gave a reminder that plenty of teams are still in the playoff hunt

Is it absolute chaos if it's what we're all expecting? Expected chaos is the norm in Liga MX. It's why we watch the league. It's what makes it great for the neutrals and what makes the die-hard fan of, say, Pumas or Monterrey to pick two this week, want to tear out their hair in clumps.

Pumas and Rayados are among the group of favorites early on in the Liga MX Clausura and both were handed lopsided defeats on the road by visiting teams that up to this point were sitting outside the playoff positions. Pumas couldn't stop Tijuana from scoring, losing 4-1, while Rayados' vaunted attack never shifted into gear in a 3-0 loss to Necaxa.

The top four failed to get victories. Club America, a team looking like the odds-on favorite to win the league, had to pull a point out of the fire against relegation-threatened Veracruz. Santos Laguna and red-hot forward Djaniny were cooled by Toluca. Of the 'grandes plus two' — Mexico's four strongest teams historically and the two Monterrey clubs who have shifted power to the north in the past few seasons — only Tigres won, beating last-place Atlas.

The weekend came in the midst of a double round, with teams having played league matches during the week as well and managers getting creative with their lineups to avoid putting heavy stress on regulars. While it's tempting to credit the double round for the crazy results, you'd think playing three matches in a week-long spell would benefit the bigger teams. After all, Tigres, America and Monterrey are in the position they're at in the Liga MX hierarchy as much because of their depth than anything else.

Instead, teams in the bottom half of the table took their opportunities to go out and play. Normally cautious Necaxa threw that to the wind with their forays forward against Rayados, ending the match with eight shots on goal.

Tijuana kept its cool after a disastrous start that saw Pumas star Nicolas Castillo find the back of the net in the first minute. Mateus, a young Brazilian who had been at Toluca, got the nod from manager Diego Cocca and scored a double in his first Liga MX start with the club.

And Puebla, a team typically in the lower rungs of the league, moved to fourth place in the table with a draw in the Estadio Azul. Bolivian attacker Alejandro Chumacero continues to be the best winter acquisition to any team in the league, while substitutes Omar Fernandez and Fernando Acuna made the difference with Acuna finishing the equalizer with around five minutes remaining.

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It all means that conventional wisdom is bunk. We know nothing.

We might think Rayados are unbeatable or that America is going to run away as the Superlider (Las Aguilas are undefeated but have just a two-point advantage at the summit). Tigres seem to be climbing back into the playoff positions but have struggled away from El Volcan. Chivas look dead in the water, but the attack played well against Pachuca. And surely Puebla will come back to earth at some point? 

Jornada 8 served up a reminder that anything can happen in Liga MX. As we pass the halfway mark, we know only marginally more than we did entering the season and must simply wait for the results to have the answers to which teams will make the playoffs, who will contend for the title and ultimately who will lift the trophy in May.

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