Flamengo v Atletico Mineiro
One of the top matches in Brazil this weekend sees the two most recent champions lock horns at the Maracana with Flamengo taking on Atletico Mineiro.
After back-to-back defeats to Fluminense and Fortaleza, Flamengo have regrouped and put together a four-match unbeaten run in all competitions with; Two wins and two draws. On Wednesday, they took on Corinthians in the first leg of the Copa do Brasil final and earned a decent draw away from home, setting them up nicely for next week’s second leg. Flamengo was the better of the two sides in terms of chances created with 19 compared to Corinthians’ 13.
Their last league outing, saw them take on Cuiaba away from home. Despite resting several players, Flamengo racked up an xG of 3.12 compared to Cuiaba’s 1.60, as the Rubro Negro earned a 2-1 victory. It’s likely to be a much-changed line-up for Flamengo again here and they’ll be hoping to put in a similar display.
Bruno Henrique, Erick Pulgar and Rodrigo Caio miss out through injury, whilst, Diego is suspended.
After three wins on the bounce, Atletico Mineiro, dropped points for the first time in October last weekend, as they drew 0-0 at home to Ceara. Atletico put up an xG of 1.65 compared to Ceara’s 1.01, showing both sides should have scored, but failed to take their chances. Galo will be eager to be more clinical in this outing as they look to rise up the table. They currently sit seventh in the league and a victory here would see them move to within two points of Flamengo.
Guilherme Arana, Mariano, Igor Rabello and Pedrinho miss the duel here due to injuries, whilst Jemerson is banned.
The fact that these sides both drew 0-0 in their last matches, is a rarity and something which is unlikely to happen in this clash. Atletico Mineiro have scored 17 and conceded 16 from their 19 away games this season, whilst, Flamengo have scored 31 times and let in just nine from 15 home matches. The Rubro Negro have met Galo four times in 2022 and there have been 12 goals scored. With that in mind, expect goals in this one.
Ceara v Cuiaba
There’s a huge relegation battle taking place in Northeastern Brazil on Sunday, as Ceara host Cuiaba.16th place Ceara sit three points above 17th place Cuiaba and know a defeat will see them leapfrogged by their opponents.
Ceara are desperate for a win and come into this match-up without a victory in their last five games, which has moved them closer and closer to the relegation places. Last weekend, Ceara took on an inform, Atletico Mineiro side and went into the game as massive underdogs. Despite this, they managed to dig deep and earn a point, which could prove to be a vital one come to the end of the season.
In the game, Atletico Mineiro had a slightly higher XG than Ceara with 1.65 compared to 1.01. Ceara will be proud of the result, but they will now be hoping to kick on and end their winless streak. Since joining the club last month Lucho Gonzalez has a record of; one win, three defeats and four draws.
After a small upturn in form. Cuiaba are struggling again and need to start improving or they’ll find themselves in the second tier. After beating America Mineiro at the end of the month, Cuiaba have lost three on the bounce.
Last time out, they took on Flamengo at home and were hoping to try and take advantage of the many changes Flamengo had made to their side. However, Cuiaba suffered a 2-1 defeat and allowed Flamengo to have an XG of 3.12, whilst only creating an XG of 1.60. This was the sixth match in a row that Dourado had been second-best in the expected goal department, something they’ll hope to change in this duel.
Walter, Igor Carius, Uendel and Camilo are out due to injury, whilst centre-back Alan Empereur is out due to a ban.
The match here is likely to be a cagey affair, as neither side can afford to lose with so much at stake. It could take a single goal to win this one and with both teams struggling for wins at the moment… it could go either way.
Palmeiras v Sao Paulo
There’s always excitement building up to a clash between Palmeiras and Sao Paulo, a game dubbed as the Choque-Rei (or the Kings’ Clash in English), and the match here is no different.
The last meeting between the pair was back in July, when Rogerio Ceni’s men had the edge in a penalty shootout win in the Copa do Brasil, after the sides couldn’t be separated after 180 minutes of football. The last league meeting, saw Palmeiras score two stoppage-time goals to earn a 2-1 victory away from home.
Palmeiras are getting closer and closer to a record eleventh Brazilian Serie A title. They lead the way by ten points with only seven more matches to play. On Monday evening, they drew 1-1 with Atletico Goianiense away from home, a result which saw their five-match winning streak come to an end. After taking the lead through Murilo, an equaliser from Shaylon was enough to see Palmeiras drop two points.
Despite having a strong lead at the top of the league, Abel Fereira will demand that Palmeiras return to winning ways in this fixture, to avoid adding any extra pressure to themselves. The XG for Verdao was at 1.56 which was higher than Atletico GO’s 0.98. This is the third straight game Palmeiras have had the better of their opponents on expected goals. They will be without top scorer Rony here as he is banned.
After suffering defeat in the Copa Sudamericana final at the begging of the month, Sao Paulo, returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over America Mineiro, however, in their last home game, they were once again left disappointed in a 1-0 loss to Botafogo.
It looked like the match was heading for a draw, until a 90th-minute penalty from Tiquinho Soares ensured Fogo the three points. They currently sit in 12th place and are seeking a place in continental football for next season. Leo misses after he was shown red against Botafogo. Also out due to a ban is right-back Rafinha.
Sao Paulo’s away record in the league has been mediocre, to say the least, after 15 matches they have; won three, drawn eight and lost four. Palmeiras have the third-best home record in the league with; ten wins, three draws and two defeats. Verdão should have enough about them to see off their rivals and move closer to Brasileirão glory.
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