Sunday, 26 June 2011

Campeonato Brasileiro 2011 preview: Round 6 (part two)

Following on from yesterday’s part one, here is the final part of the Brasileirão round six preview. All six games on Sunday are covered.

The Pacaembu is the only place to start on Sunday as Corinthians take on São Paulo in one of the biggest clássicos in the country. Both teams have had strong starts to their respective seasons, both are unbeaten, with São Paulo maintaining a 100% record and sitting atop the Brasileirão table. Corinthians have played one game less than the rest of the league, after they were due to play Copa Libertadores champions Santos last week (that match has been re-scheduled for August), and after a very tough run of fixtures to open the league they can be very happy with their ten points.

Corinthians will only make one change to their last time out, captain Chicão returns from suspension and takes the place of Wallace at centre-back. They were served a blow earlier this week when they were told they would not be able to play new-signing Alex from Spartak Moscow. The player has not been fully registered in time with the league, and it looks like he will have to wait until next week to finally make his debut, over a month since he signed.

São Paulo boss Paulo Cesar Carpegiani has quite a few changes to make from his side that defeated Ceará last weekend. Rodrigo Souto and Juan are both suspended, while star man Lucas is away with the Brasil squad for the Copa América. O Tricolor should line up in a 4-4-2, Luiz Eduardo deputizing at left-back with Bruno Uvini covering at centre-back. In the midfield, Ilsinho and Carlinhos Paraíba come in to play on the wings, with Casemiro and Wellington marshaling the middle of the park. Dagoberto returns up front alongside Marlos.

Many will be backing São Paulo to continue their rhythm and record their sixth straight league win, but Corinthians’ pedigree for clássicos is undeniable, o Timão have not lost a Paulista clássico at the Pacaembu since 2007. In that time they have played Paulista rivals sixteen times, winning twelve and drawing four.

Expected Formations

Next, back to the Engenhão in Rio de Janeiro as Botafogo host gauchos Grêmio. Both teams could only draw their respective matches last week, and will be hoping to kick on with an important victory.

Botafogo have a few players missing from their preferred starting eleven, Egidio Arévalo and Loco Abreu are still away with the Uruguayan national team, and since last week goalkeeper Jefferson has joined up with the Brasil side. Left-back Bruno Cortês picked up an injury in the Flamengo match last week, and Márcio Azevedo will deputise. Apart from that, their system remains largely the same, and they should line up 4-5-1 as they did last week.

Grêmio will be making a significant change to the side that drew with Vasco last week, moving to a 3-5-2 to try for a different approach after being criticized when playing 4-4-2. Captain Fábio Rochemback is suspended, and goalkeeper Víctor is with the Seleção and they will be replaced by Fernando and Marcelo Grohe. Junior Viçosa and Saimon are dropped, and new signing Marquinhos and Rafael Marques will play in their absence. Lúcio and Gabriel will be moved out to wing-backs, with Rafael Marques, Mário Fernandes and Neuton playing at centre back. Marquinhos will play centre midfield, supporting playmaker Douglas who plays just off the lone centre-forward Lins.

I will be expecting another draw for these sides here, when you have a look at the two formations on paper, both defenses appear to be well positioned against the respective attackers. Game-changing players like Maicosuel, Elkeson and Douglas will be looked towards to provide the all-important spark.

Expected Formations

Bottom side Avaí host reigning champions Fluminense at the Ressacada, and a win for either side would be extremely welcome. Avaí’s problems are clear to see, bottom of the league, only one point out of fifteen, and a dreadful goal difference of -13. Fluminense are having their own troubles however, and new boss Abel Braga will be absolutely desperate to record his first victory after taking over two weeks ago.

With morale low after their 5x0 thrashing at the hands of Palmeiras, Avaí will surely be doing anything they can for some points this week. There will be some changes to the squad for this match, George Lucas and Róbson are dropped, with new loan signing Daniel and the returning Rafael Coelho being introduced. Centre-back Cássio is injured and should be replaced by new signing Welton Felipe, who only joined the club on Wednesday.

In the absence of Fred, who is with the Seleção, Fluminense will alter their formation to a 4-5-1 for Sunday’s game. Marquinho and Diguinho are re-introduced to the first team, with Valencia and Ciro making way for them. Rafael ‘He-Man’ Moura will start as the lone striker in the place of Fred.

Conceding an average of 3.4 goals per game, Avaí’s defence has been truly woeful so far. If Fluminense can capitalise on this they could secure a very important morale-boosting victory. Anything other than a win is unthinkable for the reigning champions.

Expected Formations

The last of the Sunday afternoon games sees Ceará face Palmeiras in Fortaleza. Both sides have had good starts to the season by their own standards, with Palmeiras impressing the most in 2nd place with the most goals scored in the league.

Vozão coach Vagner Mancini has just about a full squad to choose from, with the returns of Boiadeiro, Fabrício and fan favourite Geraldo. Their only worry is central midfielder Michel, who is trying to shake off a knock picked up last week. Ceará should line up as follows: Fernando Henrique, Boiadeiro, Fabrício, Diego Sacoman, Vicente; Michel, Heleno, Thiago Humberto, João Marcos; Osvaldo, Washington.

With the suspension of last week’s goal hero Luan, Felipão will make a tactical change from his side that defeated Avaí 5x0 last week. Defensive midfielder Chico should replace the forward, and Palmeiras should line up with three deep midfielders, congesting the centre of the park. Wellington Paulista may lose his place in the starting line-up to Adriano, with Felipão looking for a more mobile forward to support Kléber.

Palmeiras look like they will have enough about them to pull off an important win this afternoon, Felipão’s anticipation of his opponents looks like it will neutralise Ceará’s central threats. If I was a betting man I would put my money on a 1x0 Palmeiras win.

Expected Formations

Moving on to the two late games, first of all we have two southern teams facing off, with Internacional hosting high-fliers Figueirense. Figueira have been one of the stories of the season so far, winning all three of their home games, drawing with Copa do Brasil champions Vasco and only losing to top side São Paulo in the Morumbi. The away game at the Beira-Rio, a traditionally difficult ground to play at, should prove to be a stern test for the newcomers. However Inter are yet to win at home this season, so the florianopolitano side may well fancy their chances.

Inter have had a very indifferent start so far, their fans being frustrated at the points they have dropped and the several chances that their forwards have passed up. There should be only one change to their side from last week’s draw with Coritiba, with midfielder Oscar returning to the starting line-up. Defensive midfielder Glaydson should make way for his return, with Tinga dropping back to replace the gap left in his absence.

Figueira have some niggling selection problems in their squad, strikers Reinaldo and Lenny are still out injured, while Rhayner joins them after earning a suspension last week. Midfielder Wilson Pittoni suffered an injury last week and will miss out, it will be between Coutinho and Túlio to take his place in the middle of the park.

Figueirense have every right to believe that they can get something out of this match, but Internacional are a team of great quality that appear to just need one result to kick in to a good phase, and this match – at home to a newly promoted side – could be just the fixture they need.

Expected Formations

Finally, the weekend is rounded off at the Serra Dourada in Goiânia, as Atlético Goianiense host Copa do Brasil winners Vasco. Atlético, o Dragão, have had an excellent start to the season by their standards. Before the season began, they were tipped by just about everyone to be one of the four relegated teams, but they have started fantastically, sitting in 8th position. Vasco are only one point ahead in 7th place, and their supporters are still in ecstasy after their Copa win and subsequent Copa Libertadores qualification.

Atlético are completely unchanged from the team that drew 2x2 with Atlético Mineiro last week, while Vasco will make a couple of changes. Left back Ramon and defensive midfielder Allan will miss out, with Márcio Careca and Eduardo Costa taking their places. A victory for either side would put them in a fantastic position after six rounds, and with both sides scoring and conceding their fair share of goals, this one should be exciting.

Expected Formations


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