Saturday, 21 May 2011

Brasileirão In Focus: Grêmio

Now we turn our attentions to two two giants from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, starting with o Imortal, Grêmio. They are a club with a great history of winning trophies, both in Brasil and in continental competition. Last year they had a season of two halves, they were very disappointing in the first half, placing in and around the relegation zone, but were irresistible in the second half of the season, unbelievably turning their season around and finishing in 4th place with the most goals scored in the league.

They have lost some real key players since last season, most notably the 2010 Brasileirão top scorer Jonas, left-back Fábio Santos and midfielder Souza. These players really have not been sufficiently replaced, and they have been restricted to bringing in some squad players on loan, notably ex-Porto and Vasco midfielder Carlos Alberto, Boca Juniors’ Damián Escudero and Lokomotiv Moscow’s centre back Rodolfo.

They still do have undoubted quality in the side, Victor is another wonderful Brazilian goalkeeper and should be Júlio César’s backup at the Copa América and ex-Sporting Lisbon midfielder Fábio Rochemback plays a commanding role in the middle of the park.

Up front, 18 year old attacker Leandro has been getting a lot of playing time up front with Grêmio’s lack of replacements. He is an exciting young player, great dribbler, pacey, tricky and intelligent. Perhaps the most important observation made about Leandro this year is his maturity. In the small time he has had in the first team, he has played in the Copa Libertadores and against Grêmio’s bitter rivals Internacional, the kind of games where you need confidence and maturity to play well, and Leandro has so far passed the test.

They play a 4-4-2 with full-backs pushing up and providing width, Fábio Rochemback in the holding role in the middle, Lúcio and Adilson slightly more advanced and Douglas as the playmaker behind Leandro and Junior Viçosa up front. The defense does not look terribly secure, and their power in attack does not quite make up for that.

Expected formation:
football formations


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