Palmeiras did their homework and added three more points to their total, resting on Sunday at fourth place with 25 points after beating Atlético Mineiro 3-2 with goals from Assunção, Luan and Patrik. Flamengo also won on Saturday, but both leader Corinthians and São Paulo lost their games on Sunday, meaning that Palmeiras are breathing down everybody’s neck at the moment, only three points from the top (although one should keep in mind that Corinthians have one game less played). Still, the championship is becoming quite exciting; rest assured that every point will count toward the end. Watch the highlights of yesterday’s game below.
Football is no exact science. When Wellington Paulista joined the squad, the expectation was that Palmeiras would repeat Cruzeiro’s very successful formula with Kleber and Paulista up front. It didn’t turn out that way. Not at all. Paulista have had few opportunities to show his football and when he’s been given the chance, not much has come out of it. Although true that he initially wasn’t used in his favourite position as centre-forward, Scolari also used him centred in a couple of games with little improvement. Now, chances are the striker will be leaving Palmeiras for the Porto Alegre club Grêmio, this without scoring a single goal in the Palmeiras jersey in eleven games. The transfer will however depend on a green light from the Brazilian Football Federation; Wellington Paulista has already played for two different clubs this season and FIFA regulations apparently do not allow a player to represent three different clubs during the same season. CBF is expected to comment on the case this coming Monday.
Wellington Paulista leaving Palmeiras also has a strong relationship to Luan staying. Scolari has been very firm when stating that the left-footed striker is absolutely essential for Palmeiras’ composition and tactical setup. Luan has been at times strongly criticised by supporters for making many mistakes (badly executed crosses, passes and shots on goal), but he is normally involved in a high percentage of the forward plays that Palmeiras execute and has an incredible stamina. When looking at the numbers, it is clear that Luan not only plays an important defensive role, but is also directly responsible for many goals (in fact, he’s currently the leading scorer for the Verdão). The formal recognition of all this is director of football Frizzo now signalling that negotiations with French club Toulouse, holder of Luan’s economic and transfer rights, have been successful and that the player will remain permanently at Palmeiras for the sum of approximately US$ 4.4 million.
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On Wednesday, Palmeiras travel to face Coritiba at the Couto Pereira stadium. Coritiba are a strong side and a draw must be considered a good result. With Kleber and Márcio Araújo back in the starting eleven – and if Maikon Leite gets proper football shoes on this time – perhaps we can even dream of the third consecutive win coming our way.