How will Mexico line up against Argentina on Friday?

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El Tri interim manager Tuca Ferretti is likely to use his strongest team in the first of two matches against the Albiceleste

Update: Mexico's line up confirmed

Mexico closes out 2018 with a pair of matches against Argentina, which should see some interesting lineups from interim manager Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti.

How will he approach playing two matches against the same team, with round two coming just four days after round one?

With the return of Miguel Layun, who is set for his first Mexico cap since the World Cup, we once again have to wrestle with the question of where the versatile player will play. He could be an outside back, could play in the midfield or maybe won't play at all.

That said, the Villarreal man seems like a good bet for inclusion, with Ferretti in the habit of sending back his Europe-based players back to their clubs as quickly as possible.

Here are three potential lineups for Mexico in the first of the doubleheader. Check back on Goal an hour before kickoff to see what Ferretti has decided to go with:


Layun in the middle


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In this lineup, we have Layun in the midfield, playing a role similar to the one he played at the World Cup. Next to him is Queretaro midfieder Javier Guemez, who would stay more fixed than the attacking Layun and protect a center-back pairing of Nestor Araujo and Diego Reyes. Erick Gutierrez of PSV rounds out the midfield, in a role similar to what Andres Guardado did during the World Cup.

With Layun in the midfield, Tigres right back Luis "Chaka"Rodriguez, a Ferretti favorite, can play his usual spot with Monterrey left back/midfielder Jesus Gallardo on the left once again. Guillermo Ochoa, back after missing the last call-up, would play in goal.

Up top, things get a bit funky. Raul Jimenez of Wolves would lead the line, either working with Alan Pulido alongside him or with the Chivas forward and Marco Fabian split out to either side. My bet is it would break down something like this, with Fabian sitting behind Pulido and Jimenez  - maybe not quite as the point of a 4-4-2 diamond midfield but definitely with that feel when El Tri are going forward.

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Layun at the back


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Another option is for Layun to take over at right back, pushing Rodriguez to the bench. That would allow Ferretti to get left winger Javier Aquino into the starting XI with Fabian and also bring in Victor Guzman, who stood out last month for Mexico and is having a fantastic season with Pachuca. Guzman can play centrally, move out wide and even could drop deeper. From the start, though, we have Guemez playing the role of the six while Gutierrez can get forward and join the attack.


Mixing in young players


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While Ferretti's mandate as interim manager has been to integrate younger players, there aren't that many options on this roster who are legitimately young. Some of that couldn't be helped. Hirving Lozano and Jesus Angulo pulled out of the squad with injuries. Diego Lainez is with the Mexico U-20s in Florida.

This roster gives some of those young players, who are perhaps more likely to get their chances next week, the chance to play next to many of Mexico's veterans. Santos Laguna defender Gerardo Arteaga, 20, and Erick Aguirre of Pachuca, 21, each enter. So too does Cruz Azul's Roberto Alvarado, a 20 year old who may be putting together the most impressive season of any Mexico player under 23.

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