Posts Tagged ‘roger guedes’

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!


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Palmeiras’ spot in the quarterfinals of the Paulistão already secured, coach Baptista has been using remaining games in the group stage to test some ideas and give benchwarmers the opportunity. The alternative line-ups have not cooled down attendance: 21,5K against Mirassol at 8:30 pm on a Thursday and today, at 4 pm against Audax, a whopping 28K on the stands.

Against Mirassol, only two or three regular starting eleven players in the line-up. Same thing against Audax. One must tailor expectations accordingly. The team played surprisingly solid against the former, 2-0, goals by Rafael Marques and Felipe Melo (his first for Palmeiras). Today’s 2-2 against Audax was less satisfying (goals signed Róger Guedes and Willian), but again: only Tchê Tchê, Zé Roberto and Vitor Hugo are normally associate with the starting eleven. In addition, it is natural for players to relax a bit, as the objective – to reach the knockout phase – has already been achieved.


Felipe Melo celebrates first goal in the Palmeiras jersey


In any case, from the two games we learnt that Antonio Carlos is a good option in the centre lock and that Guedes is finding his form.

With today´s draw, Palmeiras sustain an undefeated home streak of 19 games, being 15 victories and 4 draws. Eight long months. Eduardo Baptista’s overall percentage is 69: in 15 games for Palmeiras, he computes 9 victories, 4 draws and 2 defeats.

Back to the topic of attendance: already in 2016, Palmeiras were pulling ahead of other teams in Brazil. With a 32.471 average attendance in 2016, Palmeiras rank 56th in the world, Corinthians coming in at 74th with an 28.764 average. Internacional is the third Brazilian club on the top 100, at 96th, with an 25.422 average. Considering that Palmeiras also had the highest average ticket price in Brazil last year – R$ 60 (S$ 19) – one can easily imagine the long-term effects.

The aforementioned study was carried out by Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense and looked at 2.956 teams in 75 countries. In case you are curious, the top five teams are Borussia Dortmund (81.178), Barcelona (79.724), Manchester United (75.286), Bayern München (75.000) and Real Madrid (71.280).

Allianz Parque now family friendly
Against São Paulo FC, a novelty: Palmeiras debuted a new, designated “family area” at the Allianz Parque. Any adult buying a ticket for this area can bring a child, up to the age of six, without additional charge. Something of the sort has been a long-standing demand from supporters. Finally attended!

Players in the MD
In the medical department, unfortunately centre-back Thiago Martins has joined Moisés. The youngster ripped his knee ligaments during training the other week, and just like Moisés will need at least six month’s recovery time. The misfortune did however not stop Palmeiras from renewing the player’s contract, extending it another year, now running until the end of 2019. 

Two more player are in the medical department. Jean injured his foot against Santos, but a full recovery is expected in another week or so. Arouca had a second surgery to his left ankle yesterday and has being taken off the Paulistão list, with Hyoran replacing him. Should be interesting to watch.

Last game before the quarterfinals is Ponte Preta, away, upcoming Wednesday.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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In what possibly was the best game of football played so far this year in Brazil, Santos suffered a 2-1 defeat to Palmeiras in the ninth round of the Paulista Championship. Last time Palmeiras walked away with three points from the Vila Belmiro was in 2011.

Palmeiras came strong, the line-up consisting of Prass; Jean, Mina, Dracena and Zé Roberto; Melo; Tchê Tchê, Guerra, Keno and Dudu; Borja.

In spite of the rain, the game was highly paced and technical, both sides playing offensive football. Many clear opportunities were created on both sides, Santos perhaps producing the most, but we went to halftime goalless thanks to absolutely outstanding keeper performance on both sides. The scenario pretty much repeated during most of the second half, until Ricardo Oliveira opened up the scorecard with 29 minutes on the clock, forcing Palmeiras coach Baptista to go all in. Egídio already on the flank, dislocating Zé Roberto to the centre (Guerra out), Baptista now promoted Willian and Róger Guedes on behalf of Zé and Keno. Palmeiras became extremely offensive, but kept cool, working the ball. Santos succumbed to pressure, allowing the equalizer as Jean took an unlikely shot from a bad angle with five minutes to go. A few minutes later, the virada: Guedes, also on the right flank, went deep and crossed low, where Willian materialized to stuff the net. Glorious.

The result mathematically secures Palmeiras a spot in the quarterfinals. For Palmeiras, the three remaining rounds in the group stage will be used to give bench players more pitch time, while guarding first position in the overall score, as that translates into home advantage in the semi-finals and finals. Next up, Mirassol.

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Coach Cuca and the squad Monday afternoon left for Atibaia, some 70km outside of São Paulo, where the men will remain until Friday afternoon. Cuca explained the transition: “There, it’ll be just me and the players. Morning, afternoon and night, nothing but interaction, knowing each other better. There we’ll work two daily session and is where my ideas will be presented, worked on, and understood by the players”.
Judging by the picture, the squad is not yet using the new training uniform launched a few weeks back. Perhaps they are waiting for the start of the Brasileirão.
The coming and going of players continues, as Cuca tweaks the little universe to his liking. Victor Luis and Régis are not with the squad in Atibaia, having been negotiated with Botafogo and Bahia respectively.

Just a month ago, 19-year-old Róger Guedes signed with Palmeiras and is already a frequent starting eleven player under Cuca. Today, in a test match against Guarani, not only Guedes but also Tchê Tchê – with the club as of this week – went into the starting eleven. Tchê Tchê (yes, seems like his nickname stays) was elected the revelation of this year’s São Paulo championship, his former team Audax losing the final to Santos by the difference of a goal. Róger Guedes was elected the revelation of this year’s edition of the Santa Catarina championship, playing for Criciúma. The Palmeiras squad already contains last year’s Brazilian championship revelation Gabriel Jesus, and the previous year’s as well in Erik. No doubt, Palmeiras are looking at today with an eye on the future.

The test game ended 6-2 with braces by Jean, Matheus Sales, Barrios (2), Rafa Marques and Cristaldo. Three assists by Gabriel Jesus.   

Speaking of Jesus, the forward is closely coaching his friend Vitinho, an 18-year-old midfielder recently given the opportunity to integrate the main squad. The promising player is fast and light, with a technique that is easily noticed, something which rendered him a Bellinzona “player of the tournament” award in the Swiss competition won by Palmeiras’ U20 squad last March. This kid will be interesting to follow in the years to come.

Today, Colombian Yerry Mina signed a five-year contract with Palmeiras. The player also visited the Allianz Parque for the first time, slowly walking barefoot on the grass, apparently taking it all in. Mina is the sixth Colombian to wear our jersey and the first fullback: before him, there has been Rincón (1994, 1996-1997), Lozano (1995), Asprilla (1999-2000), Muñoz (2001-2004, 2006-2007) and Pablo Armero (2009-2010). The 21-year-old joins the squad as soon as the international transfer window opens in mid-June.

A quick mention before we sign off: the TV Palmeiras youtube channel this week reached the impressive number of 400.000 followers, reinforcing its position as Latin America’s biggest. Congratulations to everyone involved! If you haven’t yet subscribed, here’s the link.

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra! 

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Odds were not in Palmeiras’ favour, Santos parading a streak of 25 undefeated games at the Vila Belmiro. In the Paulistão, Santos were undefeated at home since 2011. Add to that a semi-final to be played before home supporters only.

Without Dudu and Allione, Cuca opted for young gun Roger Guedes and Robinho, with Matheus Sales and Gabriel providing cover. Sales did not have the best of afternoons and was directly involved in the two situations that lead up to Santos’ maintaining a seemingly comfortable lead with less than minutes to the final whistle. Rafael Marques, who had come on at 15 minutes of the second half and succeeded with nothing he tried, levelled the scorecard in less than two minutes, taking the decision to penalties. Unfortunately, Prass “only” grabbed one this time, while Rafael and Lucas Barrios missed theirs, seeing Santos through to the finals against Audax.

Heads held high. Palmeiras continue to pay the price for the recent but necessary swapping of coaches, but not light-heartedly, fighting fate to the bitter end. Cuca now has three full weeks to evaluate the squad, trim it (the current 39 athletes should come down to 33-34) and negotiate a few reinforcements. A fullback and a right-back seem like priorities, and perhaps a playmaker: Cleiton Xavier’s recent comeback is promising but not even God knows if his long spell at the medical department has actually ended.

So, who might be leaving us? Likely candidates are fullbacks Nathan and Leandro Almeida, midfielders Fellype Gabriel and Régis, and forward Luan. Also Thiago Santos should be added to the list: oddly enough, one of last season’s most regular defensive midfielders doesn’t seem to please Cuca.

Already gone are right-winger Lucas Taylor and forward Gabriel Leite – both on loan to Criciúma until the end of the year as part of the deal to bring Roger Guedes. A total of five players might be involved in the swap, including abovementioned Nathan and Leandro Almeida. Taylor is a promising player from Palmeiras’ youth division, 21 years old, and should return more experienced to Palmeiras next year. Also Gabriel is 21, played for Paraná in 2016 and is a promising attacking midfielder. Both players have contracts with Palmeiras until 2019.

Roger-Guedes-Folhapress_2bac4d87c8Five players for Roger Guedes? That’s right. The 19-year-old, who arrived earlier this month from Criciúma, is not your average player, which was reinforced as he entered Palmeiras’ starting eleven already within weeks (true, in the absence of Dudu and Allione). The forward normally works the right side of the field, taking advantage of his speed and stature to quickly close in on the target or serve his companions. A very interesting signing, Guedes is.

Before signing off for tonight: youth division goalkeeper Daniel Fuzato has extended his contract with Palmeiras until end of 2018. At Palmeiras since 12 years of age, the athlete is currently living his best moment, integrating the Brazilian U20 National team since February. Fuzato turns 19 in July.

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Yet another solid performance by Palmeiras, finally against one of those smaller but well-trained teams our Verdão – much to the despair of the home crowds – have been suffering with lately. Cuca now computes three straight victories. He better keep it up, as Palmeiras only face knockout games until the Brazilian Championship starts on 14 May. Upcoming Sunday Palmeiras and Santos battle away and, if everything goes as planned, the stage will be set for an epic Palmeiras vs. Corinthians (or, less likely, Audax) for the 2016 São Paulo Championship title at the Itaqueirão stadium.

Against São Bernardo, Cuca again made interesting alterations, both before and during the game. Starting with Barrios and Dudu on the bench, he betted on stronger creativity on the midfield with Arouca, Matheus Sales, Allione and Robinho, Alecsandro and Gabriel Jesus reversing as central target up front. Egídio once again had a great night and served up Alecsandro for the header that opened up the scorecard.

In the second half, a rather null Robinho was swapped for Dudu with 15 on the clock, Palmeiras maintaining superiority without exceling. Things improved a bit as Gabriel came on for Arouca. Then, with 15 minutes to go, we saw the debut of youngster Roger Guedes, recent arrival from Criciúma (more on this in a future post), replacing Alecsandro. The offensive trio was responsible for closing the scorecard, Dudu distributing to Guedes on the right flank, in velocity, where a precise cross from the newcomer found Gabriel Jesus. Alecsandro and Jesus are Palmeiras´top scorers in 2016, with nine braces each.

Cuca, as mentioned, is experimenting with different setups. São Bernardo tired and pressing high in search for the equaliser, Cuca opted for speed, sacrificing his centrally positioned forward, placing Gabriel Jesus and Roger Guedes on each flank, with Dudu and Allione distributing. The formation immediately rendered results. The squad is assimilating Cuca well and will certainly benefit from the week of preparations ahead. Santos, on the other hand, have a Brazil Cup game on Thursday.

Sunday’s semi-final will be a tense affair: the rivalry between players have not died down since the Brazil Cup final last year, with players like Lucas Lima taking every opportunity to fire indirect, sarcastic remarks at Palmeiras on social media. In addition, the single game will be played at Santos’ home grounds Vila Belmiro, where Santos are increadibly strong, and without Palmeiras supporters allowed. Talk about hostile environment. The kind of environment that make the eyes of players like Dudu shine…

Scoppia che la vittoria è nostra!

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