Thursday, 19 May 2011

Brasileirão In Focus: Avaí

Competing in the Série A for the third year in a row (their seventh Série A in their history) Avaí will be hoping to cement their place this year amongst the mid-table of the Brasileirão. Nicknamed ‘o Leão da Ilha’ (the lion of the island), they hail from the coastal city of Florianópolis in Santa Catarina state in the south of the country. They are not a big team in Brazil by any means, their only national honour coming in the shape of the 1998 Série B title, but they are beginning to form their own identity in Brazil’s top league since gaining promotion in 2008.

The 2010 season was one of mixed emotions for Avaí, they were eliminated in the last 16 of the Copa do Brasil in a close game against Grêmio, and then later in the year they participated in the Copa Sulamericana, their first ever continental tournament. Avaí performed well in the Sulamericana, reaching the quarter finals. In the league, their form was inconsistent at best, and they ended up in 15th position, just safe from relegation.

The squad has changed significantly from last season with several departures, the most notable being Patric moving to Atlético Mineiro, and the trio of Émerson, Davi and Eltinho all joining newly promoted Coritiba. In the other direction, the transfers were more low-key, but the signing of Marquinhos from Santos was celebrated amongst Avaí supporters, being the midfielder’s return to the club he helped gain promotion in 2008.

Avaí play a 3-5-2 formation, with the cover provided by the three centre backs allowing the wing backs to function as attackers, a very Brazilian strategy. In defence, they are able to soak up pressure and get plenty players behind the ball, both on the flanks and through the middle. They are strong at set-pieces, with Marquinhos able to put some really good crosses in to the area.

Goalkeeper Renan will shine for Avaí, if they can hold on to him...

The real shining star of this team is the man between the sticks. 20-year old Renan is another of Brazil’s extremely promising young goalkeepers, and with a call-up from the national team already, Renan seems to be a little bit ahead of the rest. A great young keeper, excellent shot-stopping abilities, has a good command of his area and fabulous distribution. He’s a very important part of the Avaí side and they will be hoping that they can stave off interest from São Paulo giants Corinthians.

There are some other excellent talents in the squad, new-signing Jonathan Estrada looks like he will be integral to the Leão squad this season. The 28 year old Colombian is a central midfielder, and he is a tenacious ball winner, and also likes to drift out to the left and help the team going down the wing.

This year promises to be another season full of uncertainty, as already they have given a very poor performance in the Santa Catarina state championships, failing to make it to the final. However in the Copa do Brasil, they have progressed to the semi-finals against Vasco, after seeing off Botafogo and São Paulo in the earlier rounds. It goes without saying that Avaí are the definition of an unpredictable club, expect some disappointing results against poor opposition, and some mighty scalps against the grandes.

Expected Formation:
football formations


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