Monday, 12 July 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 8 Preview

Grêmio x Vitória
Atlético Paranaense x Cruzeiro
São Paulo x Avaí
Flamengo x Botafogo
Guarani x Internacional
Goiás x Vasco da Gama
Ceará x Conrinthians
Palmeiras x Santos
Atlético Mineiro x Atlético Goianiense
Fluminense x Prudente

After a 38 day break due to the FIFA World Cup it's back to business on Wednesday night as the Campeonato Brasileiro resumes after the festival in South Africa which saw the total failure of the Seleção and the trophy remain in Europe. The first game after the break sees 13th placed Grêmio entertain Vitória in Porto Alegre. Vitória, after a poor start to the season, improved before the enforced break but Grêmio were defeated last time out but the home side are pretty unbeatable at home and for Vitória it's not the best of places to start. Despite winning 2 of their last 4 games before the break Atlético-PR are still in the relegation zone as we get back underway and they entertain a Cruzeiro side who also lost last time out. It's been a mixed start to the year for Cruzeiro, humbled in the Libertadores despite by São Paulo and in mid-table only being back in the competition next year will be enough for the Belo Horizonte public. São Paulo start again in 6th and entertain and Avaí side who were the early leaders of the competition. Avaí went into the break on the back of two defeats and will look to get their season back on track but the Morumbi isn't the place to look to start.

Huge game at the Maracanã as the "Rubro-Negro" and "O Glorioso" clash after a break that has seen contrasting fortunes for the club. Flamengo have lost Adriano, to Roma and admitted defeat in their attempts to sign Vágner Love back from CSKA Moskva. If losing your front line strikes wasn't enough, the back up strikers are also not available. Val Baiano, impressive with Barueri last season, has been signed from Monterrey in Mexico and other signings, defender Jean, midfielder Corrêa and Renato Abreu aren't available until August. Then we have the Bruno situation which has seen the goalkeeper arrested by the police over the death of his ex-girlfriend*. Botafogo have had a quiet break, they are likely to be without Sebastian Abreu who only arrived back in Montevideo with the fourth placed Uruguayans on Monday but it's been a quiet month at the Engenhão. With the lack of firepower in the Flamengo squad it's going to be a long year for them and we have a sneaky suspicion this could be Botafogo's night. Guarani, who have made a decent start to life in the top flight take on an Internacional side that have been impressive in the Libertadores but shocking in the league with only 2 wins from the seven games so far. Guarani have been impressive at home so far and Inter will need to be at their best to get anything from this game. Goiás were probably the one side not happy at seeing the break after three straight wins but they entertain a Vasco da Gama side that has struggled to adapt to life back in the top flight, having one only one game so far. Vasco have re-signed Carlos Alberto from Werder Bremen in Germany but he won't be available until August.

Second entertain First in Fortaleza as the surprise package Ceará welcome Conrinthians to the Castelão. Ceará and Corinthians are the only two side left in the league who have yet to taste defeat in the league and something may give in this time. Ceará certainly aren't short of match practice, playing 10 games during the break in the Liga do Nordeste. This though is their biggest challenge of the season so far and a Corinthians win would give them some daylight at the top of the table. Huge game at Pacaembu as Palmeiras meet Santos for the second time this year. Palmeiras won their clash in the Paulista 4-3 in an absolute classic at the Vila Belmiro back in March and it was only one of two defeats suffered by Santos in the regular season and gives added spice to this fixture. Santos will have Robinho back for the last month of his loan spell before he either returns to Manchester or is sold on. Two teams in deep relegation trouble meet at the Mineirão as an under achieving Atlético-MG entertain Atlético-GO. Atlético-GO broke their duck against Cruzeiro last time out but the month's break might not have come at the right time. For Vanderlei Luxemburgo it gave him the chance to knock his team into shape after seeing them win only two games despite scoring 10 goals in the process, it will be interesting to see how they get back on the horse. Fluminense are top dogs in Rio at the moment, they lie in third as we get back underway and it's been a good start for Muricy Ramalho. Prudente has a shocking start to the season, conceding 6 goals at Avaí before thumping Atlético-MG 4-0 the week after. Since then only one victory over Atlético-GO for Prudente and they will look to avoid a repeat of their 3-1 defeat to Flamengo at the Maracanã in week 3. Fluminense are looking to secure the signature of Deco from Chelsea but they would still be a month away from playing him due to the transfer window being closed but they look to keep up the pressure on the teams at the top of the league as they currently trail the top 2 by two points.

It's good to be back.

We'll have a round up of all the action on Friday.

* Bruno video may only be available to UK viewers only.

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