Campeonato Paulista: round 12 preview
Sertãozinho – One win in their last seven outings has seen Sertãozinho drift towards the relegation zone.
Nenê Santana was acting as caretaker after Luis Carlos Barbieri got the boot at the end of round ten. Sertãozinho went down 3×2 at Paulista FC on Tuesday and on thursday the club announced the appointment of Lori Sandri.
Sertãozinho narrowly avoided the drop last year and the signs are they are in for another relegation battle again this season.
Santos – Two wins on the trot has gone some way to lift the gloom at Santos. But the Vila Belmiro club are still ten points behind leaders Guaratinguetá and six points off the playoff places.
Despite the 4×1 thrashing of Ituano at the weekend, coach Emerson Leão remains unpopular with many Santos fans and continues to live on borrowed time. Saturday’s match could see the debut of centreback, Fabão. The former São Paulo man is expected to be paired with ex Corinthians defender, Betão.
Kick off: 18:10 (Brasilia) GMT – 3 hours
One to watch: Santos’s Kléber Parreira suddenly cannot stop scoring
My prediction: Santos win
Sunday’s game throws together archenemies Corinthians and Palmeiras. While this match has all the ingredients to be a classic, the big derbies have been largely disappointing this season. Palmeiras and Santos, and São Paulo vs Corinthians produced two very dull 0x0s – though São Paulo’s 3×2 win over Santos in round eight was more like what we have come to expect when the giants meet.
Corinthians are unbeaten since the second round and will be buoyed up after their 1×0 win at Ponte Preta last Sunday. Mano Menezes’ team have the best defence in the league with just six goals conceded. But they remain shaky in the centre and only dire finishing by Ponte let Corinthians off the hook in the previous round.
On Sunday, Menezes will be without first-teamers Dentinho, Acosta and Fabinho who are all suspended. Herrera should be back up front and new boy Diogo Rincón is set to make his debut.
Corinthians will be hoping to have first choice keeper, Felipe, back after a shoulder injury ruled him out against Ponte but Júlio César remains on standby.
The Parque São Jorge team broke into the top four for the first time last weekend. However, with the league so tight, only three points will guarantee that they will still be there at the end of the round.
Despite the arrival of some big names this year, Palmeiras have yet to prove they are the real thing. Their last two matches in the Paulista saw them draw 1×1 with the league’s bottom clubs. Wednesday’s 2×0 win away at lower league opposition, Cene, in the Copa do Brasil will not cover up the cracks.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo is struggling to find the right way to blend the talents of Diego Souza, Valdívia and Léo Lima. With the odd exception, Palmeiras have not performed well in front of goal. Add to this a leaky defence and it is clear that Luxemburgo still has his work cut out.
Palmeiras are four points off the playoff positions and cannot afford to lose any more ground to the teams above them. So, this is the perfect match to demonstrate their Championship credentials.
Kick off: 16:00
Ones to watch: Felipe is easily the finest keeper in Brazil. Corinthians pulled off a major coup when they got him to re-sign earlier this year. Fantastic reactions and a brilliant shot-stopper, Felipe was chiefly responsible for ensuring that Corinthians attempt to stay in Série A of the Brasileiro went to the wire in 2007.
For my money, Valdivia is the worst type of footballer. The Chilean can really play but his constant acts of simulation make Manchester United’s Ronaldo look like a saint. Valdivia is worth keeping an eye on for his theatrics and for counting the number of ‘star jumps’ he makes. You may also see the occasional flash of skill.
My prediction: the fixture has a high goal average of almost three per match. But I’ve gone for a scoreless draw.
Entry filed under: Campeonato Paulista 2008. Tags: Brasil, brazil, Brazilian football, coaches, Corinthians, esporte, estadual, Felipe, football, Futebol, futebol negócio, internacional football, Palmeiras, Paulista, Santos, Sertãozinho, soccer, Sport, sports, Valdivia, World Football.