Thursday’s Brazilian Serie A action sees two of Serie A’s early pace-setters doing battle, with Gremio hosting Fluminense. The home aide will be looking to make full use of home advantage to pick up the three points.
Chasing what would be their first Serie A title since 1996, Gremio have made a promising start to the season and look like being there or thereabouts at the end of the year. Renato Portaluppi’s squad is without doubt one of the league’s strongest, evidenced by lifting the Libertadores last season, and is expected to challenge on all fronts this campaign.
Tricolor currently stand 5th in the table after a 1-0 weekend win over Ceara, moving the side onto 12 points from 7 league outings. Having also secured advancement in the Libertadores and Brazilian Cup in recent weeks, the hosts are running along nicely on all fronts and will be looking to maintain a stunning 14 match unbeaten run at the Arena do Grêmio in this one, with collecting what would be the 11th win in the sequence undoubtedly the target.
Meanwhile, somewhat unexpectedly, Fluminense are also part of the pack that have made the fastest start to the new Serie A season. Very little was expected of Flu after several underwhelming years and possessing a paper thin squad, but Abel Braga’s troops have made an excellent start, currently 2nd after claiming 13 points from 7 games.
Confidence is high in visiting ranks following a 3-1 home win over Chapecoense at the weekend, but the squad’s depth is certainly going to be given it’s first real test in the coming weeks, with 2 games a week set to be played up until the World Cup begins. Indeed, it’s worth noting that both of the visitors’ defeats in the league so far have came after they played days before in the Copa Sudamericana and the side don’t look as strong once their schedule becomes busier.
Both Gum and Marcos Junior went off injured for Fluminense at the weekend and injury problems are starting to begin for the side. Unable to call on much strength from the bench, that’s a real problem for the away side and is just as concerning as a poor away record that reads 1 win in 7, 4 of which defeats, with most of the good recent results coming on home soil.
Ultimately, this is a match Gremio should be winning and they look to provide good value at current odds. Man for man, they are a stronger team than Fluminense and having won all 4 games between the two last year, we’re more than happy to back them to pick up the three points, with a 1-0 margin of victory on the cards.
Gremio possible starting XI: Grohe; Moura, Bressan, Kannemann, Cortez; Jailson, Maicon; Ramiro, Luan, Everton; Andre.
Fluminense possible starting XI: Cesar; Chaves, Otavio, Peres Gilberto, Richard, Jadson, Sornoza, Marlon; Robinho, Pedro.
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The sides met 4 times last season across league and cup and Gremio were dominant, running out victorious on each occasion. In the 4 meetings, Gremio scored 8 times with Fluminense managing just a single goal.
Key forward Luan is fit once again and will return here but midfielder Arthur and forward Jael remain sidelined. Centre back Pedro Geromel is on international duty.
Central defender Gum and attacking midfielder Marcos Junior picked up knocks at the weekend and will miss this clash. Marquinhos Calazans remains a long term absentee.