Campeonato Brasileiro preview round 34
Our weekend fixtures start with São Paulo’s visit to the estádio Canindé and a meeting with Portuguesa.
São Paulo went top of the Brasileiro last weekend for the first time this season. Muricy Ramalho’s team now have five games: Saturday’s against Portuguesa, Figueirense (H), Vasco (A), Fluminense (H), and Goiás (A) to hang on for what would be an historic three consecutive championship titles. Four of those matches are winnable. The real hurdle may be on the final day in the Serra Dourada against Goiás. However, as São Paulo have only won 4 times away from home in this campaign, the destination of the title is not a foregone conclusion.
Love or loathe São Paulo under Muricy Ramalho, one can’t help admiring their tenacity and consistency over the past three years. As this competition draws to an end, they have timed their run to perfection and now look like stealing the Brasileiro away from Grêmio, Palmeiras, Cruzeiro and Flamengo. 7 wins and 3 draws in their last 10 outings certainly is championship winning form. During this period they also picked up 2 of their 4 road wins. In their 12 other away games, São Paulo have been less than inspiring with 8 draws and 4 defeats.
Last weekend, Portuguesa earned a deserved draw away at Flamengo thanks to Jonas and Athirson. But in 16th place and with just 36 points to their name, Estevam Soares’ team are far from safe. Last year, Goiás survived with 45; Corinthians went down with a point less. So, Portuguesa know roughly what they have to aim for if they are to survive. As well as São Paulo, Portuguesa face Fluminense (A), Goiás (H), Sport (H), and Cruzeiro (A). The three home fixtures may just produce enough points to save the Canindé outfit. Despite their perilous situation, Portuguesa have a more than decent record at home with 8 wins, 6 draws, 2 losses (Vitória, Vasco). Because of this, and the fact that Portuguesa are unbeaten in five, the outcome of Saturday’s meeting with São Paulo may not be as cut and dry as their league positions suggest.
Portuguesa will be missing right-back, Patrício, who is suspended, and the injured, Ediglê. Fellype Gabriel is available once again. Hugo is out for São Paulo.
Kick off: Saturday 8th November – 18:30 Brasilia
Goal average: 2.1
Ones to watch: São Paulo’s Dagoberto has finally rediscovered the form he showed at Atlético Paranaense more than two years ago.
Sunday’s game could decide the destiny of two teams as we head to the estádio Palestra Itália for what should be a cracking match between Palmeiras and Grêmio.
Palmeiras moved to second last week after they came away with all the points in the Vila Belmiro against Santos. Their run-in reads like this: Grêmio, Flamengo (A), Ipatinga (H), Vitória (A), and Botafogo (H). Realistically, Palmeiras have to win all the home games and at least one against Flamengo or Vitória if they are to take the championship. Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s charges have a good record in the Palestra Itália winning 13, drawing twice (Figueirense and São Paulo), and losing once (Sport) and will have the edge on Sunday.
The last round saw Grêmio lose the leadership after drawing at home to Figueirense. Training was interrupted this week when a group of around twenty fans angry at their club’s recent poor form, tried to storm the pitch. Security personnel kept the group away from the players but the incident reflects the kind of pressure that Grêmio are feeling right now.
Unfortunately, the chances of getting a positive result against Palmeiras appear slim. Grêmio haven’t won an away game since early August when they beat Atlético Mineiro 4-0. Since then they have lost 4 and drawn 3 on the road. In total, Celso Roth’s team have won 5, drawn 5 and lost 6. After Palmeiras, Grêmio face Coritiba (H), Vitória (A), Ipatinga (A), and Atlético Mineiro (H). The Olímpico outfit are more than capable of winning their last four games but there’s now a crisis of confidence affecting the Porto Alegre side.
Palmeiras will be without Diego Souza and Kléber who is suspended (surely not?) and the injured Roque Júnior. Grêmio also have their problems. Centrebacks Léo and Pereira may not make the starting line-up; Réver, William Thiego and Felipe Mattioni are all suspended.
Kick off: Sunday 9th November – 17:00 Brasilia
Goal average: 2.13
Ones to watch: Grêmio’s teenager, Douglas Costa (though he may start on the bench)
Elsewhere, 4th placed Cruzeiro take on relegation-threatened Fluminense in Belo Horizonte. Flamengo have a derby against Botafogo in the Maracanã. There are a couple of relegation battles: Figueirense and Atlético Paranaense clash in the Orlando Scarpelli and Vasco are at home to Santos.
See the table and all the fixtures here