Brasileirão - July 14 - Previews
Corinthians v Nautico
Copa Libertadores champions Corinthians lie second bottom of the Série A table, but with their continental endeavours now behind them, should be much improved. Nautico lie 11th, but tellingly have won just one away game this season, at bottom placed Atlético-GO, whilst visits to Atlético-MG and Vasco saw a combined nine goals conceded.
Romarinho, the latest golden boy of Brazilian football, takes his place behind Emerson Sheik in a pacy Corinthians attack, with probably Brazil's outstanding midfield quartet providing support from deeper. Leandro Castán has left for Roma, so Paulo André partners Chicão in defence.
For Naútico, the big news is that last season's top-scorer Kieza makes his return after a (very) brief sejourn to the Middle East. He partners the in form veteran Araújo in attack. Alexandre Gallo continues with his highly experienced back-three, whilst the midfield is reinforced with converted defenders Elicarlos, Lúcio and Alessandro. Should be hard to break down.
CORINTHIANS: Cássio, Welder, Chicão, Paulo André, Fábio Santos; Ralf, Paulinho, Danilo, Alex; Romarinho, Emerson. Coach: Tite.
NÁUTICO: Felipe, Jean Rolt, Ronaldo Alves, Márcio Rozário; Alessandro, Elicarlos, Martinez, Souza, Lúcio; Araújo, Kieza. Coach: Alexandre Gallo.
Prediction: Corinthians win 2-0. At full-strength, the South American champions should be too powerful for their opponents. Don't expect too many goals though.
Figueirense v Atlético Mineiro
An intriguiging match, as unbeaten at home Figueirense take on table topping Atlético in Florianópolis. The match is making headlines in Brazil for the debut of Loco Abreu in a Figueirense shirt, up against a back in-form Ronaldinho for Galo.
For Figueirense, Abreu makes his first-appearance, whilst there are changes in defence as midfielder Coutinho fills in at right-back, with Helder making his first-appearance since suffering injury April on the other flank. In midfielder new signing Fabiano Silva could take his place alongside returning playmaker Almir and Doriva, behind a three-pronged strikeforce of Abreu, Julio Cesar and Caio.
No Réver still for Atlético sees Leonardo Silva and Rafael Marques continue their partnership at centre-back, in what is an unchanged side from last weekend's victory over Portuguesa. The question is, can they continue their good form?
FIGUEIRENSE: Wilson, Coutinho, Anderson Conceição, Fred, Helder; Fabiano Silva, Doriva, Almir; Julio Cesar, Caio, Loco Abreu. Coach: Argel Fucks
ATLÉTICO-MG: Victor, Marcos Rocha, Leonardo Silva, Rafael Marques, Junior Cesar; Pierre, Leandro Donizete; Danilinho, Ronaldinho, Bernard; Jô. Coach: Cuca.
Prediction: Atlético win 2-1. Both teams should score, but Figueirense's changes could leave them disjointed.
Ponte Preta v Coritiba
Tenth placed Ponte Preta host 16th placed Coritiba in Saturday's late kick-off, with the visitors looking to get their season back on-track after Copa do Brasil disappointment. Ponte Preta are unbeaten in three home games, while Coritiba yet to win away, but this is the first occasion in which they will be fully focussed on the league.
Ponte Preta make two changes from last week, with goalkeeper Edson Bastos forced to sit out due to the terms of his loan-move from Coritiba and top-scorer Roger returning from suspension up-front. Roberto fills in between the sticks, whilst Marcinho is the man to miss out in midfield.
It would appear like there will be two changes for Coritiba from the side that were defeated in the cup-final midweek. Suspended Emerson replaces Demerson, whilst Ayrton replaces Jonas for 'tactical reasons'. Otherwise, they remain unchanged and ready to turn their attentions to the league.
PONTE PRETA: Roberto, Gerônimo, Tiago Alves, Ferrón, João Paulo; Baraka, Ricardinho, Renê Júnior, Nikão; André Luis, Roger. Coach: Gilson Kleina.
CORITIBA: Vanderlei, Ayrton, Emerson, Pereira, Lucas Mendes; Willian, Sergio Manoel, Rafinha, Everton Ribeiro, Roberto; Everton Costa. Coach: Marcelo Oliveira.
Prediction: Score draw 1-1. Coritiba back to near full-strength in the league, but Ponte Preta have firepower in attack. Watch for the highly talented, but unpredictable Nikão.