On Tuesday, Alejandro SABELLA announced his list of players who will take part in the match against Sweden on February 6 and what a list!
I would go as far as saying that this is SABELLA's best list yet. Five players who were part of the squad for the match against Saudi Arabia did not make it this time around. Fabian MONZON, Ricardo ALVAREZ, Eduardo SALVIO, Tino COSTA and Marcos ROJO have all been excluded from the latest squad. The reason for ROJO's exclusion is because he is injured and is expected to be out for 3 weeks.
Beginning with the goalkeepers, Willy CABALLERO has been in excellent form and is not included, which I would say is one of the biggest disappointments of this list. However, when talking about Argentina, if one of the biggest let downs is that a goalkeeper has not been included, it must mean it's a good squad of players.
Alejandro SABELLA has called on 6 defenders. The newest inclusion being Cristian ANSALDI. It's very possible that the two CB's would be Federico FERNANDEZ and Ezequiel GARAY. Pablo ZABALETA could start as the right back and we could see Hugo CAMPAGNARO replace him in the second half, as has been in the case for the past few matches. That would leave Cristian ANSALDI as left back. With Clemente RODRIGUEZ not getting any younger and ROJOS out injured, this could be a great opportunity for ANSALDI to play well and possibly put some pressure on ROJO for that left back spot.
For the midfielders, Javier PASTORE remains out of the team. Erik LAMELA, who I know many (myself included) would have liked to have been included, is left out. That, for me, is the biggest disappointment. However, we did start with Jose SOSA not only being a regular member of the squad, but a regular starter. In that case, SABELLA has evolved, therefore, it is possible that LAMELA will be included in future lists.
Those who wanted Ever BANEGA to make the team, their wish has been granted. Fabian RINAUDO, Augusto FERNANDEZ and Enzo PEREZ also make the list. The dominant midfield duo of Javier MASCHERANO and Fernando GAGO have obviously been included. Angel DI MARIA, who is part of the fantastic four, makes the list. The biggest inclusion (in a positive way) is that of Walter MONTILLO. Anyone who watched the second leg of Argentina vs. Brazil of the Superclasio de las Americas will agree he was one of the better players of the match. Should he be given a chance to play, he could be a real threat going forward from midfield.
The forwards does not include Lisandro LOPEZ and I think at this point, Javier PASTORE has better chance at making this team. Franco DI SANTO, who played against Saudi Arabia is included and Nicolas GAITAN also makes a return to the team. The other forwards are Lionel MESSI, Gonzalo HIGUAIN, Ezequiel LAVEZZI and Sergio AGUERO.
Not everyone who made the list will take part in the match and it's very likely that most have just been brought in for training purposes. But if even one of these players who are rarely given a chance with the team (MONTILLO or ANSALDI) can do well, they may earn themselves a place in the next squad. Argentina's next round of qualifiers is in March and some of these players could find themselves part of that list.