Against ABC, coach Kleina repeated the formula from previous game, the starting line-up composed of Fernando Prass; Luis Felipe, André Luiz, Henrique and Juninho; Charles, Márcio Araújo, Wesley and Valdivia; Vinicius and Leandro. The result was a resounding 4-1, eliminating any doubts: Palmeiras in the second division should steamroll all over most of the competition. That doesn’t mean Palmeiras will win every game, especially not if underestimating the opponent. And, more importantly: it doesn’t mean Palmeiras have a great squad, although things look considerably better than only a few weeks back. Remember, we haven’t even seen Eguren and Kardec yet, but there’s a reason some 25.000 supporters showed up at the Pacaembu last Friday to push the team forward. Beautiful.
Kleina finally has all pieces available and time to tinker about. The question is: will he? Bluntly put, our commander has two options: reinforce or evolve.
By reinforcing current line-up and tactics, players get more accustomed to each other and the tasks to execute. There should be victories a plenty, propelling Palmeiras to a comfortable position in the tables, allowing Kleina the luxury of sparing important players ahead of decisive Brazil Cup games.
It’s been said before: bouncing back to the first division is priority #1, but actually nothing but an obligation. What’s truly in the crosshairs is repeating the Brazil Cup triumph, allowing Palmeiras to enter the Libertadores Cup in the year of the club’s centenary.
And here lurks danger, imagining that the “arroz com feijão” that suffices in the second division will also be enough in the Brazil Cup, which, for Palmeiras, kicks off second half of August. It certainly won’t unless Kleina starts addressing a few issues: Palmeiras today is attacking power both on the midfield and especially through the flanks, but the flanks are equally vulnerable in terms of defending. What about Valdivia, will Kleina become dependent on the Chilean? Will Mendieta play side-by-side or instead of? Should a centre-forward be moulded to fit into a future scheme?
Serie B is a good place for trying out new tactics and players: time will tell if Kleina feels comfortable enough to risk defeats by not sticking to his working formula, especially after president Nobre’s alert for a need to establish solidity before anything else. And also as more qualified opponents stand in line, starting with Figueirense this coming Saturday. The coming two months we’ll see what Kleina’s made off. And will define his future at Palmeiras.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!