Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Good evening sports fans.
Your beloved I like football me has moved to its new home at http://ilikefootballme.wordpress.com

The move is just simply down to wanting to try something new in terms of layout and style, and I was getting very frustrated with the Blogger interface...

Please bookmark/favourite the new site and keep following the blog!! There will be plenty more stuff there and I will need everyone's help to get it on the map.



Saturday, 6 August 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 15 (part two)

Continuing on with the preview of this weekend's Brasileirão, let's turn our attention to Sunday's afternoon matches.

Santos x Ceará (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Pacaembu)

Both Santos and Ceará have been struggling of late, so a win for either side would be vital. Ceará are coming into this game off the back of an extremely disappointing defeat at home to Avaí, where they were completely outplayed and beaten 3x0. Santos, the 2011 Copa Libertadores champions, are also in a poor phase, losing their last three matches and gaining heavy criticism from their supporters.

Against Ceará, Santos should not really have many problems and will more than likely win comfortably. They will be without wonderkid Neymar, who is suspended, but they will still be able to field a strong lineup capable of seeing off the Vozão.

Internacional x Cruzeiro (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Beira-Rio)

Internacional and Cruzeiro face off against one another in Porto Alegre in what could certainly turn out to be the game of the round. Both teams have slumped a little over the past month, but they possess strong squads and we should see in exciting yet even match. Inter and Cruzeiro are both poised to go on a good run of form, and a win in this match could be perfect to kick that off.

Inter remain with several selection issues, Guiñazu, Zé Roberto, Bolatti and Gilberto are all injured, Oscar and Juan are away with the Brazilian U-20 squad, and Kleber and Wilson Matias are suspended. Coach Osmar Loss has been using a 4-5-1 formation recently, but with so many injuries in the midfield, it is expected that he will have to change his shape. 

Cruzeiro aren't without their own problems either, Thiago Ribeiro and Roger remain on the sidelines injured, but coach Joel Santana can still count on Montillo and Wallyson going forward. This will be an intriguing match, where we should see some goals and excitement. In my opinion, Cruzeiro will come through as narrow winners, but in truth this game could go either way.

Atlético-PR x Corinthians (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Arena da Baixada)

Leaders Corinthians continue on their run of favourable fixtures, in the past week they have faced 17th placed Avaí, 20th placed América and now they take on Atlético Paranaense in 19th place. This game could be dangerous though, as o Furacão have hit some decent form of late and look tough to beat at home in Curitiba. 

Corinthians have had their leader credentials well tested over the past few weeks, and some cracks are beginning to appear. Their defence does not look as assured as it was earlier in the season, and some particularly poor performances from young goalkeeper Renan has now made coach Tite axe him in favour of their terribly inexperienced third goalkeeper Danilo Fernandes. With their opponents visibly rattled by recent results, Atlético will be going all out for the upset.

América-MG x Fluminense (Sunday 7th - 16h00 Arena do Jacaré)

InternaciIn the last of Sunday's afternoon matches América Mineiro host last year's champions Fluminense in Sete Lagoas. América, currently in 20th position in the league standings, have been in some real trouble of late and team morale appears to be at an all-time low. Fan's favourite Givanildo has came in as their new manager to try and steady the ship, but they will find it extremely hard against this Fluminense side.

Fluminense coach Abel Braga looks to have finally settled into the job and Fluminense are on their best run of form of this season so far. This week the club has been rocked with speculation surrounding the possible exit of national team striker Fred, with the 27 year old claiming he has recieved death threats from certain sections of the Fluminense support. They will continue without him this weekend, with Rafael Moura and Rafael Sobis playing up front. 

In Brasil, scandals like this often seem to affect on-field performance, but Fluminense are looking too good at this moment and should win this match comfortably.

There you have it, Sunday's afternoon games all previewed. The final part of the preview is coming soon, a look at the three matches on Sunday evening, which includes an interesting clássico.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 15 (part one)

The 2011 Brasileirão continues this weekend with another card full of interesting ties and a nice clássico on Sunday night. Read on for previews of the weekend, starting with the three matches on Saturday.

Palmeiras x Grêmio (Saturday 6th - 18h30 Canindé)

Round 15 kicks off with an interesting clash between two traditional giants, Palmeiras and Grêmio. Both sides came away with a draw in Round 14, but the morale in the respective camps could not be more different. Palmeiras were away from home against Coritiba, and despite playing a large portion of the second half with only ten men, they managed to draw 1x1. Grêmio were at home to Atlético Mineiro and drew 2x2 after conceding a very late goal. Grêmio coach Julinho Camargo was sacked the following day after only 33 days in charge, and he has been swiftly replaced by Celso Roth, who will be managing the Tricolor for the fourth time.

Palmeiras will be without Luan and Thiago Heleno who are suspended, but they should be buoyed by the inclusion of centre-back Henrique for his first start since returning to the club from Barcelona. Playmaker Douglas returns for Grêmio, and he will play in Roth's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. Grêmio may be able to pull off a surprise result as so often occurs when a team brings in a new manager, but Palmeiras have a great record against Grêmio and are heavily favoured in this one.

Flamengo x Coritiba (Saturday 6th - 18h30 Engenhão)

In Rio de Janeiro, Flamengo will be trying to continue their assault on leaders Corinthians with a home match against Coritiba. Fresh from a vital 1x0 win over Cruzeiro, Ronaldinho Gaúcho &co will take the game to Coritiba and are clear favourites to win. Coritiba played well against Palmeiras on Wednesday, but could not find a winning goal and left very disappointed with their 1x1 draw.

Flamengo are without Ronaldo Angelim and Airton - suspended after picking up a third yellow card against Cruzeiro - but will have battling midfielder Willians back in the team. Coritiba should field the same side that played against Palmeiras, the only change should be the inclusion of Jonas ahead of Maranhão at right back. Coxa will give it everything they've got against Flamengo, but a resounding win for the home side is the safest bet.

Atlético-MG x Figueirense (Saturday 6th - 21h00 Ipatingão)

Atlético Mineiro take on Figueirense in Saturday's late game. Despite an excellent and unexpected win over Botafogo mid-week, this is a Figueirense side that appear to be losing momentum and feeling the pressure. Atlético Mineiro look to be returning to form after a disappointing start and will be expected to win this one and climb up the table.

O Galo will make one change to the side that drew with Grêmio on Wednesday, with Giovanni Augusto entering in the place of the suspended Caio.  Dorival Junior should keep the team in the same 3-5-2 shape with André and Magno Alves up front. This will be a closer game than some are predicting, but I would still expect Galo to come out on top.

There you go, that's all of Saturday's games done, I'll be back very soon with the seven Sunday games, both afternoon and evening.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 14 (part two)

We are back with the preview for Round 14 of the 2011 Brasileirão, we still have two move games tonight to cover, and then tomorrow's match-ups.

Cruzeiro x Flamengo (Wednesday 3rd - 21h50 Arena do Jacaré)

Cruzeiro host Flamengo in Sete Lagoas in what is certainly this week’s headline match. The home side have had some difficulties of late and after some good performances in the past month or so, they have now suffered two straight defeats against lesser opponents. Sitting in mid-table, they will be desperate to claw their way back up into a Copa Libertadores place. Cruzeiro are still without Thiago Ribeiro and Roger, but will have a strong line-up to call upon.

Flamengo are the league's form team at the moment and they remain as the only unbeaten side in the Brasileirão. Craque Ronaldinho Gaúcho is hitting form and sits at the top of the goalscoring charts, while Thiago Neves is putting in some excellent performances in the midfield. On paper, this one looks like a nailed-on Flamengo win, but Cruzeiro have an uncanny knack of beating Flamengo, in fact they have been victorious in the last six league meetings between the sides. Expect an even game without many goals.

Coritiba x Palmeiras (Wednesday 3rd - 21h50 Couto Pereira)

The last time that Coritiba and Palmeiras met at the Couto Pereira, the home side recorded a historic win, defeating Palmeiras 6x0 in the Copa do Brasil. Times have changed now, Palmeiras are a much stronger side who are secure in defence and Coritiba's momentum seems to have slowed down.

Palmeiras welcome back ídolos Marcos and Kleber to the starting 11, and new signing Henrique makes in the squad, although he will most likely start on the bench. Coritiba are the favourites for this one, despite Palmeiras' high league position. This should be an interesting match, with Coritiba investing their hopes in their attack and Palmeiras doing the same only in defence. Expect a tight scoreline, perhaps even a 0x0 draw with plently of missed chances.

São Paulo x Bahia (Thursday 4th - 21h00 Morumbi)

Moving on to Thursday's games, we start at the Morumbi as São Paulo take on Bahia. New São Paulo boss Adílson Batista has had a pretty unconvincing start to his reign, especially at home. His only two home games in charge have ended in disappointment, with a defeat to Vasco and a draw against Atlético-GO. On Thursday they will be looking to bounce back against a Bahia side struggling in defence.

Bahia are a side that have been suffering from similar problems, they have managed good results against big sides away from home, but their home form is lamentable. O tricolor baiano should make it very difficult for São Paulo, and if their defence can manage to stop São Paulo's wonderkid Lucas, they might just be able to sneak a result.

Fluminense x Internacional (Thursday 4th - 21h00 Engenhão)

Internacional travel to Rio de Janeiro to take on a rejuvenated Fluminense side at the Engenhão, and with the return of some key players for the away side, we could be in for a cracking match. Since Abel Braga took over as Fluminense boss, the morale amongst the squad has beed good, but results have been poor. Last weekend though, Flu managed a 4x0 win over Ceará in what was certainly their best performance of the season so far. Forwards Fred, Souza and Marquinho all seem to be in good form, and they will certainly be very hard to beat at the moment.

Their opponents Internacional are trying to pull themselves out of a disappointing phase, littered with injury problems and unconvincing results. However striker Leandro Damião will make his return against Flu and when he is in the side the whole team seem to function better. Zé Roberto is still injured and Oscar and Juan are with the Brazilian under-20 squad, but Inter are starting to get their big men back. This promises to be an excellent game, both sides are needing the points and there should be goals.

Atlético-GO x Atlético-PR (Thursday 4th - 21h00 Serra Dourada)

The last game of the weekend sees a battle of the atléticos as Atlético Goianiense take on Atlético Paranaense in Goiânia. This match may be forgotten amongst the other more high profile encounters, but it promises to be an intriguing game with both sides making big improvements over the past few weeks. The home side are unbeaten in their last three games, and when you consider those games were against São Paulo, Cruzeiro and then Internacional, that is even more impressive. 

Atlético Paranaense, o Furacão, had a terrible start to this year's campaign, only picking up two points in their first ten matches. However, wins against Botafogo and Santos (a thrilling 3x2) in the past ten days has breathed new life into the players and lifted them up off the bottom of the league. The signing of Uruguayan striker Santiágo 'Morro' García has given their attack some much-needed firepower and who knows how far this resurgence can take them.