Campeonato Paulista: round 16 preview

March 21, 2008 at 18:50 Leave a comment

valdivia-run.jpgThere are just four rounds remaining in the group stage of the Paulista. On Saturday, we head to the city of Jundiaí and the estádio Jaime Cintra for Paulista FC vs Palmeiras. On Sunday, we pay our first visit of the year to the estádio Brinco de Ouro da Princesa (the princess’s golden earring) in Campinas for Guarani against São Paulo.  

Paulista got off to a dreadful start to this year’s campaign. But things began to look up when Giba replaced Marcus Vinícius in early February. However, defeats to Juventus and Ituano have put Paulista back in trouble and now they sit just four points above the relegation zone.  

The Jundiaí team finished a creditable 6th in the Paulista in 2007. But later that year suffered the ignominy of being relegated to Série C of the Campeonato Brasileiro.

Run in: Guarani (H), Rio Preto (A), Bragantino (H)

After a yoyo beginning to this season, Palmeiras are starting to realize their potential. Four wins on the trot took them to second at the end of round 15. For many pundits, last weekend’s battering of São Paulo was the sign that the balance of powering the region has swung away from the Morumbi to the Palestra Itália. Of course, the result could have been very different had Kléber been sent off for elbowing André Dias. Though it may be a little early to write São Paulo off, Vanderlei Luxemburgo has assembled a squad that should be strong challengers on all fronts this year.  

Run in: Portuguesa (H), São Caetano (H), Barueri (A)

Kick off: 22/3/08 – 18:10 (Brasilia) GMT – 3 hours


Home team record: won 4, drawn 2, lost 1 (Ponte)


Away team record: won 4, drawn 2, lost 1 (Noroeste)


Home team news: Marco Aurélio is expected to drop to the bench as Devas comes in. Up front, the speedy Everton Costa replaces Itaqui. Dema and Diego Padilha are injured, so Everton Luis is given a chance at the back

Away team news: Vanderlei Luxemburgo will probably make just the one change – Pierre is available after suspension, Wendel is the player who could miss out.


Fixture goal average: 3

Ones to watch: Paulista’s top scorer Neto Baiano (ex Palmeiras) has put away 8. Take your pick from Valdívia, Diego Souza or Henrique for Palmeiras. 

My prediction: Palmeiras to win  


Like fellow new boys, Rio Preto, Guarani have struggled with the step up to the Série A1.  Jair Picerni’s men have rarely been out of the bottom four. However, Guarani’s destiny is still in their own hands as the last 3 games pits the club against sides that are in or around the relegation zone. The omens for this confrontation are not good for Guarani as they have lost all their games against the big clubs this season. Against Corinthians, Palmeiras and Santos they conceded 9 goals and scored only 1.

Run in: Paulista (A), Juventus (A), Rio Preto (H)


São Paulo crashed out of the top four following the trouncing by Palmeiras last Sunday. The Morumbi outfit’s success over the past few seasons has been based on a rock solid defence backed up by a very effective midfield shield and a dependable keeper. But personnel changes, injuries, a loss of form to key players, and disciplinary problems have contributed to São Paulo conceding 20 goals in 15 games. While this is a fairly average figure for the rest of the teams in the Paulista (9 sides have let in more), for São Paulo this is proving disastrous. Unfortunately, Muricy Ramalho does not seem to have noticed São Paulo’s defensive frailties and continues to use the same tactics that were so effective when scoring against them was nigh on impossible. While São Paulo have a weaker squad than in 2006 and 2007, they are still pretty strong. If they concentrated on taking the game to the opposition, São Paulo would be doing much better.

Run in: Sertãozinho (H), Bragantino (A), Juventus (H) 

Kick off: 23/3/08 – 16:00 (Brasilia) GMT – 3 hours


Home team record: won 4, drawn 1, lost 1 (Bragantino)


Away team record: won 2, drawn 2, lost 3 (Marília, Portuguesa, Palmeiras)


Home team news: centreback Diego should come in for the suspended Lucas.


Away team news: São Paulo have problems with their central defenders. Juninho is suspended, Alex and Alex Silva are injured, Miranda is doubtful. Also out are the injured Fabio Santos, and Adriano who is suspended


Fixture goal average: 2.8 – though the last five meetings have produced an average of five per match

Ones to watch: centreback Danilo Silva spent part of last season on loan at São Paulo but never really got a chance. Will he do what Kléber and Denílson did against their ex team last week?

Aloísio scored within a minute of coming on vs Sportivo Luqueño midweek. São Paulo are so much better when he’s playing. He may start as Adriano picked up a third yellow against Palmeiras. 

My prediction: São Paulo are dodgy away from home. I thought they would easily dispose of Marília and Portuguesa but it didn’t turn out that way. In addition to injuries to defenders, São Paulo may be a little deflated after succumbing to a very late equaliser in Paraguay on Thursday. Guarani have had a week to recover and have a good home record. On paper, São Paulo are head and shoulders above Guarani. But I think there’s a chance that the home side may pull off a surprise on Sunday.  


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Libertadores – wins for Fluminense and Flamengo. Santos crash Brazil call up Henrique for Sweden clash

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The man who came up with: Messi carrying Argentina. Neymar carrying Brazil. British Airways carrying England. My name is Jon Cotterill. I am an English football commentator for TV Globo in São Paulo, Brazil. Currently we're broadcasting two live Campeonato Brasileiro or Campeonato Paulista games per week plus our magazine show, Footbrazil to 180 countries. + Eu trabalho como narrador na TV Globo em São Paulo, Brasil. Atualmente, nos transmitimos dois jogos ao vivo do Campeonato Brasileiro ou Campeonato Paulista por semana e nosso programa de futebol semanal, Footbrazil.

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