Home form has always been spoken of as a crucial element in the fight against relegation. It appears the rule applies even for giants like Palmeiras, threatened with the prospect of relegation for the last couple of months. The uneasy dip into the relegation zone a few weeks ago brought back ghosts from the past, but a run of four wins in the last five matches has propelled the Verdão closer to mid-table places. True, Brazilian betting odds from Betfair still places Palmeiras as one of the relegation candidates, but nevertheless, palmeirenses as of late sleep better at night.
Where does the transformation come from? We’ve earlier touched upon the importance of two key players performing: Fernando Prass and Valdivia. With these two in the starting eleven, Palmeiras as a whole change, the team clicks.
That being said, keeper Prass himself has laid a finger on the support from home fans as the reason for the recent turnaround: out of the four victories that the club has achieved in the last five matches, three have come at home. Indeed, anyone who saw 30.000 palmeirenses carrying Palmeiras toward victory against Grêmio last Saturday knows what Prass is talking about.
Brazilian football has been criticised in recent times for being fickle, but Prass has praised Palmeiras’ supporters for sticking with them even during tough times. There was a period when the club went ten matches without a victory, but even then, Palmeiras were capable of pulling in a regular crowd through the gates, even at more often than not abusive tickets prices.
Palmeiras may have put a four point buffer between them and the relegation zone, but the fight is not over just yet: bringing out the best for the upcoming tough games against Santos and top dog (or rather, fox) Cruzeiro is crucial. Focus and dedication is key, in addition to the continuation of striker Henrique’s good form. With ten rounds to go, an additional four victories should see Palmeiras clear of relegation. A little bit more, and we could even picture grabbing a spot in next year’s South America Cup. Who knows we might even celebrate a golden boot for Henrique at the end of it all?