Thursday’s Brazilian Serie A action sees in-form Cruzeiro playing host to Palmeiras. The home side will be looking to leapfrog their visitors by picking up the three points.
After a relatively slow start to the campaign, Cruzeiro are now flying on all fronts. La Bestia Negra have now won 6 of their last 7 game in all competitions after an impressive 1-0 win over Santos at the weekend and will be desperate to continue their climb up the table in this one.
Mano Menezes’ troops came into the season with aspirations of challenging for the title, but defeats to both Gremio and Fluminense left question marks hanging over the side. However, the hosts have since taken 10 points from 5 matches and are also in truly fantastic shape as hosts, claiming victory in 13 of their 15 outings in front of the home crowd in 2018, meaning adding to that total looks a realistic aim in this fixture.
None more so than because they face a Palmeiras outfit with performance levels heading in the opposite direction. Verdao had been looking extremely strong under Roger Machado but have hit their first bump in the road, with recent showings below par.
The visitors lost away to arch rivals Corinthians a couple of weeks ago and though they bounced back from that disappointment with back to back wins, they’ve been far from impressive over the last week, limping through their Brazilian Cup clash with newly promoted America Mineiro via a 1-1 home draw before falling to a shock defeat on their own patch over the weekend, with Sport Recife beating them by a 3-2 margin.
Palmeiras have now slipped down to 7th and a trip to Belo Horizonte is the last thing they need right now, particularly with Cruzeiro in such excellent shape. The hosts are really starting to build some momentum now and have been dominant at home all year.
Cruzeiro have won this fixture in each of the last two seasons and are unbeaten in 7 matches overall against Palmeiras. The visitors haven’t won in league action away at Cruzeiro since 2009 and all things considered, that’s not a streak that looks like ending on Thursday. Backing a home win looks the way to play, with a 1-0 margin of victory on the cards.
Cruzeiro possible starting XI: Fabio; Romero, Leo, Dede, Egidio; Silva, Henrique, Sobis, Neves, Robinho; Sassa.
Palmeiras possible starting XI: Jailson; Rocha. Carlos, Dracena, Luis; Henrique, Melo, Lema; Keno, Dudu, Willian.
Cruzeiro are unbeaten in 7 matches against Palmeiras but 5 of those outings have ended all square. Nontheless, each of Cruzeiro’s 2 wins have came from their last 2 home league meetings with the visitors. Palmeiras have not won away at Cruzeiro in the league since 2009.
Veteran forward Fred remains a long term absentee whilst attacking midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta is on international duty.
Left back Diogo Barbosa is suspended. Forward Miguel Borja is on international duty.