Saturday, 25 June 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 6 (part one)

We have arrived in the sixth round of matches in this Brasileirão season. Here's a quick preview of the weekend's action starting with Saturday's matches. Part two will be posted tomorrow

First up on Saturday is a mouth-watering clash between Flamengo and Atlético Mineiro at the Engenhão. Both sides are under some pressure from their supporters after poor recent results, Atlético have now gone three games without a win, while Flamengo have yet to win since the opening round of the season.

With the suspensions of Willians and Bottinelli, Flamengo will adopt a different strategy on Saturday, opting to play an extra central defender and arranging themselves in a 3-5-2 shape. Luiz Antônio keeps his place in midfield after debuting in last week’s 0x0 with Botafogo, Wanderley comes in for Diego Maurício up front and Ronaldo Angelim will play as the aforementioned third centre-back.

O Galo welcome back full-backs Patric and Guilherme Santos for this weekend, Giovanni Augusto makes way for Dudu Cearense to start in the midfield and Guilherme – the scorer of last week’s all important equalising goal – starts up front in the place of Mancini.

What we have here is two teams desperately looking for a win, and we should expect quite an open match with opportunities and (hopefully) goals, a stark contrast from Flamengo’s uninspired stalemate last week. Fla’s left back Junior Cesar spoke this week at a press conference ahead of the match and his comments were very revealing about the mentality at the club. He said that the players realise their performances have not been up to standard, and that “to win is more important than playing well”.

Expected Formations

Atlético Paranaense face Bahia on Saturday in Curitiba with the home side suffering heavily in this early part of the season. We are five games in and Atlético have only registered one point and scored only one goal. The recent signing of former Nacional striker Santiago García is a superb piece of business and certainly a step in the right direction, but it is generally accepted that o Furacão will need more than only the 20 year old Uruguayan.

On Saturday, both teams should keep very similar line-ups to those of the last round. With Santiago García not yet eligible to make his debut, Guerrón and Nieto will once again start up front for Atlético. For Bahia, forward Júnior will receive his first full start for the club after he replaced the injured Souza in last week’s win over Fluminense.

O Tricolor will also be able to call upon Jobson, who returned to Brasil on Thursday after a hearing in Switzerland in regards to his doping case of 2009. The case has been well publicised, (I touched on it here) and this hearing is to judge whether he will have to serve his full two year suspension, which was previously reduced to six months. The committee have six weeks to make their final decision, in which time Jobson will be free to play for Bahia.

Expected Formations

The late game on Saturday is an interesting encounter between Cruzeiro and Coritiba in Sete Lagoas. Only a few months ago, while Cruzeiro were turning over every team in their Copa Libertadores group, and Coritiba were charging through the Copa do Brasil, these two teams were widely regarded as the two form teams in Brasil. Since then, that form has escaped both clubs, with Coritiba losing in the Copa do Brasil final and sitting in 16th position in the league. Cruzeiro have fallen even harder, being knocked out in the Libertadores last 16 and yet to record a win in this year’s Brasileirão, a Raposa find themselves in 18th position.

After last week’s draw against América-MG, Cuca left his post as Cruzeiro manager, with experienced carioca Joel Santana taking the reins. There will be a few changes to the Cruzeiro side from last week, with injuries to both full-backs Gilberto and Pablo, defensive midfielder Marquinhos Paraná will deputise at left back and Diego Renan starts at right back after recovering from a nasty hamstring tear. Also coming in is midfielder Everton, who should form a trio of central midfielders alongside Henrique and Fabrício, with Montillo as the advanced playmaker.

For Coritiba, they should maintain the same team that drew 1x1 with Internacional last Sunday. The only possible change comes in the shape of fan’s favourite Marcos Aurélio, who has spent the start of the season injured. If Marcelo Oliveira decides to start Marcos Aurélio, he will play up front alongside Bill, most likely taking the place of Everton Ribeiro.

Expected Formations


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