Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Week 18 Preview

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

Yet another midweek round in Brazil as they catch up from the World Cup break continues. Everyone in action apart from Corinthians and Vasco da Gama who play their game on October 14 alongside the Santos x Internacional game held over after the Libertadores final. Speaking of Inter, they ended Botafogo's winning run at weekend and they are on the road to Vitória hoping to get some momentum in their title charge. With a game in hand they may trail by ten points at the moment but nothing is certain yet. Vitória though, haven't won in two. Their last win was against Santos so Inter can't take this one lightly. Guarani picked up a morale booting victory at the weekend and travel to the totally out of form Grêmio. Guarani are unbeaten in their last three whilst Grêmio haven't won in three but have picked two draws up on the way. Home form in normally the key for Grêmio and they need to get back on track as soon as possible. Prudente are also in the cart at the moment, the lie just above the relegation zone and if they hadn't had those three points deducted there would be clear daylight to the relegation zone. Botafogo suffered their first defeat since the first game since the World Cup break at weekend and will be looking to get back on track if they are to have any chance of Libertadores success at a minimum.

Two teams in deep sh*t meet at the Serra Dourada, Goiás who have slumped to the bottom of the table and without a win since that late show at Flamengo prior to the World Cup entertain a just as bad Atlético-MG side. Atlético-MG's post break form is better and includes back to back wins along the way but they have the worst defence in the league and if they can stop shipping goals and Diego Tardelli is in the mood there is nothing to say they can't pick up all three points. Managerless Flamengo are like a rudderless ship at the moment and a trip to Cruzeiro is about the last thing they need at the moment. Defeat at Guarani wasn't in the plan at weekend when they were only moments away from all three points and with Cruzeiro on the brink of a Libertadores spot at the moment you can't see things getting much better for them at the moment. Atlético-PR are doing quite nicely at the moment and are unbeaten in their last three and the visit of Ceará to the Arena de Baixada give them a good chance to make it four. Although good before the break Ceará are about as inconsistent as inconsistent can be at the moment and if they are to achieve a high finishing position in the league need to start winning more.

Fluminense welcomes Palmeiras to the Maracanã and with Corinthians not in action because of their 100th anniversary celebrations this week can extend their lead at the top of the table to six points. The draw against São Paulo at the weekend wasn't in the script but it was better than the defeat that stared them in the face at one time. Palmeiras finally managed to register another win for Felipão at the weekend but they desperately need to start turning all the draws they have been getting in three points if they are to have any chance of a decent finish in the league. Santos will look for revenge on Avaí knocking them out of the Sudamericana when they meet at the Vila Belmiro. Avaí's 3-1 away win in the first leg eventually just about saw them through but Santos put a much stronger team out in the second leg and if it's like the one in that second leg then they will close their own gap on Corinthians to four points with both having played the same number of games. São Paulo will never get a better chance to get the show on the road when they welcome Atlético-GO to the Morumbi. Strange as things are, Atlético-GO are actually about São Paulo in the form table at the moment but only one win on the road all season you'd be a braver person than me putting your money on Atlético-GO. São Paulo must hit form soon and this is an ideal game for them to start.

We'll be back on Friday with a round up of all the action.

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