Ceara v Atlético Mineiro
Ceara host champions Atlético Mineiro at the Estadio Castelão, where both sides come into the game looking to return to winning ways following draws at the weekend.
It’s been a crazy week for Ceara… last Wednesday, they enjoyed a 2-0 victory over America Mineiro away from home, and then on Thursday evening, manager Dorival Júnior said his goodbyes to the players having agreed to replace Paulo Sousa at Flamengo. Whilst searching for a manager, Pedro Sotero took charge of the game against Goias on the road, where Vozão were denied all three points, following a late goal from Pedro Raul. Then on Sunday evening, Ceara announced that Marquinhos Santos would be the club’s new manager.
Santos’ last job was with America Mineiro where he helped steer the club to Copa Libertadores qualification, as well as, leading them into the group stage. On April 11th he was sacked as manager of America after a tough start in the league and Libertadores.
Despite all the changes, the hosts are unbeaten in their last nine matches in all competitions and come into this game full of confidence. The fans greeted their new manager in an open training session ahead of the game on Tuesday.
Ceara will be without first-choice keeper João Ricardo who is suspended and second-choice Richard is currently injured. Vinícius Machado will likely be the man in between the sticks.
Atletico Mineiro come into this game under a little bit of pressure after failing to win any of their last three matches. The run without victory had led to questions about Antonio Mohamed’s future, but club director, Rodrigo Caetano, stated in a recent press conference that “We don’t think about change at this moment”.
Galo have created more chances than anyone in the league, with an average of 17.5 shots per game. Their problem has been creating scoring chances. In the last three matches, they have been outperformed in the expected goals department, they will be desperate to start creating and taking better chances here. Their last outing was a 1-1 draw with Santos and despite Santos playing the majority of the second half with ten men, Atletico failed to capitalize. Santos had six shots on target compared to Atletico’s three.
A blow for Atletico in this game is that they will be without midfield duo, Jair and Allan due to suspension.
Picking a winner in this game is difficult, but the possibility of them both scoring is a likely outcome. Ceara have a young backup keeper who is relatively inexperienced. Atletico have struggled against the counter-attack this season, which will please the in-form pacey Colombian attacker, John Stiven Mendoza.
Flamengo v Cuiaba
Flamengo’s start to their 2022 Brazilian Serie A campaign has been poor, to say the least. After 11 matches, they sit in 16th place, only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Paulo Sousa was sacked last week and Dorival Júnior joined to have a third crack at managing the Rubro Negro.
Despite not taking any training sessions prior to their game at the weekend, Junior was immediately in action as he led the team out against Internacional away from home. Things didn’t go according to plan for Flamengo who found themselves 1-0 down in the game’s opening minute. The side from Rio dominated the ball but failed to deal with Inter’s counterattacks, which led to them suffering a 3-1 loss, their third defeat in a row.
Flamengo’s expected goals for the season is at 16.02, but they have only found the net 11 times. They need to start taking their scoring opportunities sooner rather than later, which with the quality they have up top, they are bound to start doing.
A positive at the moment for Flamengo is that Fabricio Bruno and Mathehus Franca are close to returning to action, which would give Junior a full squad to choose from.
Their opponents Cuiaba, have been in poor form themselves, after 11 games, they currently sit in 18th place, but are level on points with Flamengo. Their last outing saw them earn a decent point at home to Bragantino in a 1-1 draw, thanks to a penalty from Andre. Cuiaba put in a decent performance with an XG of 2.18 compared to their opponents’ 1.43.
Their game plan here will be to frustrate Flamengo for as long as possible and try to hit them on the break. Cuiaba’s average possession this season is 45.06% compared to Flamengo’s 53.04%. Dourado will believe they can stun Flamengo, just as they did last year in this fixture, by earning a point in a 0-0 draw.
Despite recent results not going their way, Flamengo still have quality players who can dig them out of this current mess. They come into this game as heavy favourites, with a predicted 75% chance of winning, compared to their opponent’s 17%. With Flamengo hoping to turn the screw, a match at home against Cuiaba is the perfect opportunity for them to end their current losing streak.
Athletico Paranaense v Corinthians
Athletico Paranaense host Corintihans at the Arena da Baixada, in what is one of the biggest matches of the game week in the Brasileirão.
Since the hiring of legendary Brazilian football manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari in May 2022, Athletico Paranaense have been in great form. Since joining, Big Phil has taken charge of nine games; winning six, drawing two and only losing one. In this period, Athletico have scored 20 times and only conceded seven. Their last outing was probably their most disappointing display for a while, but they still managed to pick up a point away from home against Fortaleza, despite not having any efforts on target.
Their XG for the last three games has been worse than their opponents, meaning they will be hoping to create better chances in the coming weeks. Athletico will be hoping their counter-attacking style can pay off here.
They have been given a boost with the returns of Pedro Henrique, Pablo and Canobbio. Both Pedro and Henrique are expected to return to the starting line-up for the game here.
After defeat to Cuiaba, Corinthians bounced back in front of their own fans, with a 2-0 victory at home to Juventude. Their XG was also at its highest for five games at 1.30 compared to their opponents’ 0.24.
Going into the game as favourites, an early goal from Adson helped ease the nerves in what turned out to be a comfortable afternoon for Vitor Pereira’s men. The test here is expected to be far more difficult and Corinthians will have to be at their best if they want anything out of the game.
Timão have three players missing; Paulinho, Joao Victor and Junior Moraes who all have injuries.
With second place taking on fifth place, it always tends to be a cagey affair with a piece of magic or defensive mistake winning the game. Corinthians like to keep the ball, but don’t like to take many risks going forward. Athletico on the other hand, are happy to sit back and counter-attack when given the chance. The win predictor gives Athletico a 39% chance of victory compared to Corinthians 29%. With them being at home and Corinthians’ last away performance being a poor display, Athletico will be confident of picking up a decent result here, but it will not be a goal-fest.
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