Saturday’s Brazilian Serie A action features Palmeiras playing host to Sport Recife. The home side arrive as big favourites and will be looking to pick up the three points in front of the home crowd.
Possessing one of the strongest squads in the country, Palmeiras underwhelmed on all fronts last season but look much improved under Roger Machado. Verdao are targeting league and continental glory this season and have made strong starts to both conquests, as well as advancing to the quarter finals of the Brazilian Cup in midweek.
Palmeiras have already shown their strength by advancing to the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores as the highest ranked team and having also picked up 11 points from their opening 6 Serie A matches, confidence is certainly high in the camp. The hosts have thus far taken 7 points from 3 matches at the Allianz Parque and are yet to concede a league goal on their own patch, a streak they’ll be looking to continue against the visiting Sport.
Sport avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth last season and having lost both Diego Souza and Andre, don’t look like pulling up any trees this season. Claudinei Oliveira’s troops have made a solid, if unspectacular start to the new campaign, taking 8 points from 6 matches, seeing themselves lodged in mid-table; where they are expected to finish come the end of the year.
Most of Leão’s points are expected to come back in Recife this campaign and thus their prospects don’t look bright coming into this game. The visitors did manage to win at newly promoted Parana a couple of weeks ago, but sandwiched in between 3-0 and 2-0 defeats at America Mineiro and Cruzeiro, the side are hardly showing the type of resolve needed away from home ahead of this trip to one of the league’s strongest sides.
Overall, it’d be a huge surprise if Palmeiras failed to pick up the 3 points and taking into account the type of game we’re likely to see, backing them to win to nil looks the best way to play.
Sport will look to put men behind the ball throughout and no longer have the same threats they did last season on the break. The visitors have lost 3 of their last 4 away games without finding the net and with Palmeiras looking so strong defensively in league action, it’d be a big surprise if the hosts conceded. All things considered, it should be a routine win for Palmeiras, with a 2-0 margin of victory on the cards, a scoreline that would make it 5 consecutive wins for Palmeiras against their opponents.
Palmeiras possible starting XI: Jailson; Rocha. Carlos, Dracena, Barbosa; Henrique, Melo, Lema; Keno, Dudu, Willian.
Sport Recife possible starting XI: Magrao; Winck, Alves, Ernando, Sander; Moura, Anselmo, Gabriel; Rogerio, Marques, Felipe.
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Palmeiras have dominated this fixture in recent years, win both meetings over the last two seasons, whilst scoring an average of 3 goals a game in the process.
Midfielder Moises remains sidelined whilst forward Miguel Borja is on international duty.
Attacking midfielder Andrigo is the only absentee.