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.


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