It’s with something resembling disbelief that I scroll down the Palmeiras section of the G1 news portal, eyeing the featured articles that include a “cosy” interview with midfielder Daniel Carvalho – at home, at ease, relaxed – and another one with striker Barcos, highlighting how his rapid adaption to the city of São Paulo, to Brazilian-style football and to his teammates have led to excellent results on the pitch (four goals in five games).
With Palmeiras as of late suffering less from internal turmoil – and in spite of the ongoing Wesley affair – media has taken to convey a more positive image of the club. The recognition of Scolari’s work, Cesar Sampaio’s crucial role as mediator and the so far excellent contributions of recently contracted players generate positive headlines; the exciting derby against São Paulo last Sunday served to reinforce the trend further. If we dare call it a trend, that is.
In a worst case scenario what we’re seeing is nothing but a ripple of positivism in the dark, stormy waters Palmeiras supporters normally are left to navigate in. There’s no hiding from bad press and both supporters and team suffer from it. Good press on the other hand tends to boost morale and confidence. Peace of mind is fundamental in order to excel. And the squad is currently in harmony, with healthy contest between players for a spot in the starting eleven and comradeship on and off the pitch. Especially two players seem to contribute to the good vibrations: Marcos Assunção for his experience and leadership, and Maikon Leite for being Maikon Leite: a likeable and optimistic fellow bubbling with enthusiasm.
In my humble opinion, there’s room for optimism. The pieces of the puzzle are all there, even if there of course always are improvements to be made, things to correct (and Wesley to accommodate). However, in general terms, “o time está redondo”, as one would say in Portuguese: “the team is round”, meaning that the pieces have come together nicely and formed a unit. Even the mainstream media seem to have noticed.
— ooo —
Tonight Palmeiras face Linense at the Gilberto Siqueira Lopes stadium. Our opponent are on a positive curve and currently rest at eighth position in the tables with 15 points (Palmeiras have 22). With Marcos Assunção suspended and Luan, Fernandão and Valdivia still recovering from injury, Palmeiras’ offensive might come slightly weaker than usual. On the other hand, with Carvalho, Leite and Barcos smoking hot, who needs them? The answer will be given tonight. In a slightly difficult game I expect a draw.