Thursday’s Brazilian Serie A action sees two title hopefuls doing battle, with Gremio hosting Palmeiras. The home side will be looking to make full use of home advantage.
Gremio arrive in good shape for the clash after a 2-0 win at Bahia over the weekend lifted them up to 3rd place, having now taken 16 points from the opening 9 matches. With hopes of domestic and continental glory this season, Renato Portaluppi’s troops have made a strong start to the year, having also breezed through the group stages of the Copa Libertadores, a competition they won last season.
League-wise, Tricolor have been guilty of dropping some points in games they really should have won, with 3 of their last 5 Serie A outings having ended 0-0, but after finding their shooting boots in the weekend’s difficult away trip, confidence is certainly running high in the camp, none more so than because the side are a remarkable 15 matches unbeaten at home, 10 of which wins.
Meanwhile, Palmeiras put in their best performance in a number of weeks over the weekend, beating local rivals Sao Paulo 3-1, ending the first real rocky spell of Roger Machado’s reign.
Prior to the win, Palmeiras had lost 3 of their previous 4 league matches and that run still leaves Verdao with work to do if they are to mount a title challenge as expected this year. Already 6 points behind leaders Flamengo in 7th place, Palmeiras could really do with putting a run of form together, even if the season still is in its infancy.
Whilst there’s not a great deal between the two sides on paper, Gremio have been performing the better of the two in recent weeks, particularly in defensive areas, having now kept an impressive 5 clean sheets in a row.
All things considered, backing Gremio to win the match looks the way to play and that’s where our money is going. You’ll rarely get a price this high on a Gremio home win and whilst that does reflect Palmeiras’ undoubted quality, the visitors aren’t in the finest of form and have lost both of their last away games 1-0, a scoreline that could well be repeated in this one. Gremio’s dominance on home territory and stronger defence should prove crucial and is enough to suggest they’ll edge the contest.
Gremio possible starting XI: Grohe; Gomes, Bressan, Kannemann, Cortes; Jailson, Maicon, Lima; Luan, Everton; Andre.
Palmeiras possible starting XI: Jailson; Rocha, Martins, Dracena, Luis; Bruno Henrique, Melo, Hyoran, Moises, Dudu; Willian
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Palmeiras won both of he fixtures between the sides last year. However, Gremio have lost just 1 of their last 5 home matches against Palmeiras, winning twice in the process.
Defender Leo Moura and forward Jael are also strugglng with knocks while midfielder Arthur sits out alongside Alisson and Marcelo Oliveira. Centre back Geromel is on international duty.
Centre back Antonio Carlos is suspended. Late calls will be made on Left back Diogo Barbosa and winger Keno. Forward Miguel Borja is on international duty.