The rollercoaster has, at least temporary, decided to operate like an elevator. Margins are small in football, as in life, and it’s absolutely too early to claim there’s enough stability and quality in the Palmeiras squad to see us through 2013 in a satisfactory manner. Still, recent results point in the right direction: the fundamental victory against Tigre last week and yesterday’s (surprising, yes, but convincing) away win against until now undefeated Ponte Preta elevated Palmeiras’ winning streak to three – a handsom cash-in had you placed your bets accordingly, for example at www.casinoonline.pt.
In both recent games, players showed remarkable determination, especially when compared to the disastrous night against Mirassol. The game that went to the history books as Palmeiras’ worst first half ever happened only a few weeks ago, but the change of posture is clear. There are a number of plausible reasons for this: the large number of younger players in the squad might have needed the extra time to grow comfortable as a collective; the many new arrivals might feel they need to mark position; coach Kleina’s pragmatic approach of experimenting and using whatever he deems best for the day without paying much attention to neither player’s nor supporter’s opinions could also be playing a part in creating healthy competition within the squad. And then, of course, there’s the natural effect of positive results, and the recognition that comes with it. Take Leandro, the young striker recently arrived from Grêmio. He was called up by Scolari for the national team friendly against Bolivia last week, scored in his debut, then flew back to score the winning goal against Ponte Preta. That’s how you make an impression. Leandro is on loan until the end of the year, but with a fixed price tag of allegedly 5 million euros if Palmeiras wish to buy. Should turn into one hell of an investment. Make it happen, Nobre.
Speaking of Nobre: the articulate, balanced, focused and dedicated president is such a relief. Many palmeirense seem already have forgotten the feeling of shame we felt every time Tirone, Frizzo or Piraci de Oliveira opened their mouths. I haven’t. Might never.
There’s more: very little to no news from the backstage of Palmeiras reach us through mainstream media. Internal meetings, internal documents, locker room talk: all remain closed to outsiders. Wherever the leakages – constant in previous administrations – Nobre’s plugged them.
One of few worries is the elevated number of players in the medical department. Bad luck or bad professionals preparing our players physically? A thorough investigation must be carried out and Palmeiras go after the best available on the market: Palmeiras pay players way to much to afford having them not playing all they could.
Thursday, against Libertad, a few men should be back, most notably captain Henrique but possibly also Valdivia, Kleber and Mr Milk. For once, Kleina has more than he needs. Henrique should be in the starting eleven, but doubtfully any of the other three. Depending on how the game progresses, I’d say we might see Valdivia and Leite in the second half.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!