With nine games played so far in the São Paulo state championships, Palmeiras have scored ten goals: a weak 1.11 on average, remembering that three of the ten came yesterday against Ituano – two by Ricardo Goulart and then Borja. Defence has worked better: only four goals conceded, two yesterday.
Luiz Felipe Scolari shapes his attack around the figure of a central forward, a traditional no. 9, reference inside the penalty area and a strong header. Three quality players with these characteristics are found in the squad, but each present particular challenges:
Palmeiras secured young Arthur Cabral from Ceará early in 2018, but the player arrived at the club in January of 2019 sustaining a pubis injury. Although recovery is progressing as planned, there is no telling when he will make his debut, which effectively kept him out of the list of the 26 players Palmeiras assigned to the São Paulo state championship.
Through his goals, Deyverson was an important piece in the victorious 2018 Brazilian League campaign, in spite of his amazing ability to get himself in trouble and subsequently sent off. Felipão took him under his wings and tried to work the man’s head, but apparently to little effect: sent off against Corinthians a couple of weeks ago after spitting in the face of an adversary (he subsequently received a six-game ban) Deyverson then turned down a huge offer from China, shortly after a video was leaked where he bid the Palmeiras supporters farewell (Deyverson claimed he recorded it “as a joke”, only meant for distribution among friends). The man’s a lose cannon, completely unpredictable. Currently not at Scolari’s disposal in the Paulistão, rest assured he will travel with the squad to Colombia next week to face Junior Barranquilla in the first round of the Libertadores Cup.
Then there is Borja. The man of mega expectations who in 2018 was Palmeiras’ top scorer with 20 goals and overall top scorer of the São Paulo state championship (7) and the Libertadores (9) without satisfying a vast majority of palmeirenses. “Can’t play football, misses too many opportunities, seems unhappy, two left feet” and on and on it goes, the complaining. The Colombian scored two goals at the beginning of the season before drying up badly, blowing chance after chance in unimaginable ways. Scoring his and Palmeiras’ third goal yesterday was a tremendous relief for him; let’s hope Borja recovers his confidence and aim, because it’s badly needed.
We dare to say the frequency of director of football Alexandre Mattos’ scouting radar is currently turned up high.
Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!