We left you with the 0-2 victory against Oeste on 1 October. Since then, two home victories (4-0 against Figueirense and 1-0 against Guaratinguetá) and two away defeats (3-2 against ABC and 1-0 against Icasa). The comparatively weak results mirror not only that lack of motivation, but also the limitations in the squad: with key players injured (most notably Mendieta) and others serving their national squads (Valdivia, Henrique, Eguren), the Verdão are a bit of a mess. And here’s yet another revelation: coach Kleina seems lost at times, both in terms of picking the starting eleven, deployment of tactics and mental presence during the games. He’s just not quite there, if you understand me.
Back to Mendieta: the midfielder suffered a knee injury last week and underwent surgery. Nothing too serious, we’re looking at 6-8 weeks recovery, but long enough to keep him out for the rest of the season. Thank God. Not that he’s out, but that the season is coming to its end.
Valdivia is feeling discomfort after suffering a blow to the left knee during the Chile vs. Ecuador game and rests against Bragantino tomorrow Saturday. Henrique and Eguren are back from duty, while Márcio Araújo returns from his brief stay at the medical department and Charles returns from suspension.
In addition, rightwing defender Luis Felipe is back (in fact he played already against Icasa) after a couple of weeks of injury recovery followed by transfer speculations: can you believe a typo was found in his new contract, stipulating the contract time to end in December 2013 instead of 2014? This would in theory allow him to already now sign a pre contract with any other club without the involvement of transfer fees. The player’s agent – and possibly Luis Felipe himself – seemed keen to take advantage of the situation: there were rumours of Brazilian clubs interested, and even Benfica of Portugal. However, a nice, long chat with Nobre seems to have taken the edge of things. After all, the kid was raised at the academy and it wouldn’t look too good on his resume having being involved in foul play at such an early age.
Speaking of foul play: there’s currently a glitch in the relationship between Palmeiras and Allianz Parque constructor WTorre caused by a dispute regarding how to interpret the signed agreement in regard to number of seats destined for the club and the constructor. While consistent and reliable information is scarce, the media is having a blast, envisioning the halting of activities on the construction site and a long-lasting dispute in the courts. Not very likely, as it’s in all stakeholders’ interest to inaugurate the arena as soon as possible. It’s actually a good sign that not much information is out there: means the parties are discussing behind closed doors, trying to find a solution instead of attacking each other publicly. Stay tuned for updates.
While we trot along… After tomorrow’s game we have another tedious seven to go. Palmeiras are currently 18 points ahead of fifth positioned Icasa, first team out of the group of four holding the spots to first division play – the four being Palmeiras (65), Chapecoense (57, with one game less played), Sport (49) and Paraná (49). Depending on tomorrow’s result, Palmeiras might mathematically secure ascension. Yawn.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!