Last week’s signing of Bruno Henrique was met with scepticism. “Palmeiras need no more defensive midfielders”, they said. “Squad already too numerous”, they said.
After losing to Coritiba on 7 June, Palmeiras have played four games and lost three defensive midfielders due to injury: Palmeiras 3-1 Fluminense (Felipe Melo, thigh and hand, 4-6 weeks); Santos 1-0 Palmeiras (wounded pride, as Santos’ goal was an assault and Palmeiras was denied a clear penalty in the dying minutes); Bahia 2-4 Palmeiras (Thiago Santos, thigh, 3-4 weeks) and yesterday’s Palmeiras 1-0 Atlético Goianense (Tchê Tchê, thigh, awaiting confirmation).
Both against Bahia and Atlético, centre-back Luan came on in the second half to populate the midfield. Out of necessity, rest assured Bruno Henrique will make his debut sooner than expected.
Dudu spent three weeks with the medical department, coming back yesterday in the second half. Others Palmeiras players have been serving their national squads. Cuca’s task has not been easy. Nevertheless, the team’s performance has progressed in a consistent manner, as also reflected in the numbers: two thirds of Palmeiras’ points were collected in the last four rounds. Before playing Bahia, Palmeiras had not scored a single away goal, while the baianos had won their three home games.
The Verdão currently rests in seventh place at 13 points, 7 behind leader Corinthians, one game short.
With the international transfer window now open, football director Alexandre Mattos is certainly scanning the market. A forward with characteristics similar to Borja – who scored the winner yesterday – is a priority. The flanks are also a concern, in particular the left: Egídio has been inconsistent and Zé Roberto is increasingly suffering with keeping the pace up.
On a positive note, Guerra has evolved tremendously, and so has Roger Guedes: both are in splendid technical and physical form, being decisive in every game as of late.
On Sunday, Palmeiras travel to face Ponte Preta. Another away victory, and we could certainly say the tide has turned.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!