Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão

Sambafoot Sunday by James Nalton. The beat goes on...

Cruzeiro have gone eleven games unbeaten as they go into this weekend’s game against Náutico, with their only dropped points coming in their 0-0 draw away at Corinthians.

Unlike Botafogo, Cruzeiro have gained momentum from being in the number one spot, going on an impressive run and opening up a lead of eight points on their nearest rivals. And speaking of their nearest rivals, Botafogo and Grêmio played last night with the points going to a ten man Grêmio, as Botafogo’s slump continues.

Team Effort

There haven’t really been any stand-out individuals for Cruzeiro during this run, as it’s been more of a team effort. The spine of the team has performed consistently during the past month or so, and the goals are spread around the team with defenders and midfielders chipping in to help out the strikers.

This isn’t to say there haven’t been moments where individuals have shined, but they’ve all done it at different points in the season, which could be the key to the recent Cruzeiro dominance of a league which is running on packed fixture schedule.

Where other teams have dropped off once individual players left or dipped in form, Cruzeiro have always had someone who will step up to give their team a boost.

Probably the most extreme example of this would be Júlio Baptista and his two goal match winning cameo against the then title hopefuls, Botafogo.

The former Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Arsenal player has only played five games for Cruzeiro, and came on for just over 25 minutes in this fixture.

During his short time on the pitch he managed to score the two goals which cemented Cruzeiro’s 3-0 victory and left Botafogo in the dust. Botafogo’s talisman, Clarence Seedorf, missed a penalty when his side was just 1-0 down.

This set the tone for both club’s subsequent form. Botafogo haven’t won a game since, Seedorf has faded, and Cruzeiro have gone from strength to strength.

Another goal-scorer in this game was midfielder Nílton, who opened the scoring with an impressive volley which he blasted acrobatically into the goal directly from a corner kick.

This will go down as one of the goals of the season and the fact that Nílton, a deep lying midfielder, leads their scoring charts with seven goals is a good indication of how this team operates.

Nílton has managed to climb to the top of his club’s goal-scoring charts with just 7 goals, but there are 8 players in the squad who have 4 goals or more for the season.

Cruzeiro Youth

20-year-old striker Vinícius Araújo, is the obligatory outstanding home grown youth player which many successful teams seem to posses.

But the young forward who has five goals in nine appearances this season isn’t the only Cruzeiro developed player making an impression.

Young right back Mayke has also been impressive, grabbing himself a goal as well as chipping in with a few assists in his 16 impressive appearances this season.

Volante Lucas Silva has also contributed to the cause with two goals, and in his twelve appearances this season he’s also shown that he could be a big part of the club’s future.

Attacking midfield duo Alisson and Élber have contributed a handful of minutes here and there, but still wait in the wings for their chance to have a serious impact on the side.

Dedé Finding Form

As with any run of form consistency is the key, and a player previously criticised for his lack of it has begun to find some form.

Cruzeiro’s highly rated centre back Dedé looked to have made the wrong decision when he made his big money move within Brazil, rather than jetting across the continents to Europe.

He seemed to drop further back in the pecking order for international selection, and his performances became unpredictable to the point that he could be as much an hindrance as he was a help to his team.

However, as his side have stormed to the top of the Brasileirão, Dedé has been going about his business in a more consistent manner, and has steadily become one of the more reliable players in the side.

As a reward for this form, Dedé has finally been called up for the national side again for the October friendlies against South Korea and Zambia.

This is the first time he’s been called up since April 2013 when he played in a side made up of Brazilian domestic based players against Chile, and is the first time he’s been called up since moving to Cruzeiro.

Best of the best

As previously mentioned the Cruzeiro rise has been down to a team effort, so it’s tempting to go through every player in the side and note down what they bring to the team... Instead, here’s a selection of the more regular contributors, and their statistics for the season so far: 

 AppGoalsAssistsPass %
Nílton227082.8
Everton Ribeiro244678.5
Bruno Rodrigo24279.9
Dedé25276.5
Borges11(3)6175.8
Willian11(4)5487.5
Ricardo Goulart17(5)6277.3
Julio Baptista2(3)479.2
Luan8(4)5171.2
Vinícius Araújo9(3)5278.5

Cruzeiro continue their title quest with a game tonight away to Náutico, who lie at the bottom of the league table.

 

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January 28, 2015
20:41New Arsenal signing Gabriel Paulista has "huge desire to play in the Premier League"
18:11Pereira could be on way out at Manchester United
18:02Chelsea: Mourinho backs Diego Costa
17:02Milan and Valencia consider Paulinho bids
16:00Fluminense midfielder Darío Conca denies he is joining Shanghai SIPG for the money
15:51Report: Juventus close in on €11 million deal for Fluminense midfielder Gerson
15:43Grêmio officials deny defender Rhodolfo is set to join Internazionale on loan
14:43Atlético-PR's Marcos Guilherme wanted by Bayern Munich and Shakhtar
14:09Manchester City's Fernandinho chosen by Shakhtar fans as the best Brazilian in their history
14:06Roma's offer for Luiz Adriano considered low by Shakhtar
13:20Manchester United watch Benfica duo
13:06Phillippe Coutinho continues to impress
12:57Diego Costa accused of stamping
12:50Mourinho: 'My Ramires is back'
12:40Filipe Luís a doubt for Chelsea
12:22Cruzeiro want Felipe Gedoz from Brugge but a transfer is difficult
12:17Alexandre Pato interests Everton
January 27, 2015
23:37Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Douglas Costa praises Chelsea manager José Mourinho
21:52Report: Fenerbahçe target Grêmio forward Marcelo Moreno
21:39Cruzeiro agree deal to sign defender Eugenio Mena on a free transfer from Santos
21:29São Paulo loan defender Luis Ricardo to Brasileirão Série B side Botafogo
16:39Real Madrid target David Luiz
16:05Lucas Leiva reveals Gerrard's Wembley promise
15:41McDermott praises ‘outstanding’ Liverpool midfielder Coutinho
14:50São Paulo to sign Adrián Centurión from Racing
14:41Brazil U20's Marcos Guilherme says Uruguay's Facundo Castro called him a 'monkey' several times
12:05Luiz Adriano will only leave if the offer satisfies Shakhtar
12:00Éverton Ribeiro is in London to have his Al-Ahli medical
11:56Neymar thinks Cristiano Ronaldo should be punished
11:54Manchester United eye up Marquinhos
11:39Coutinho: 'We must dominate Chelsea'
11:30Chelsea's Diego Costa eyes European golden boot
11:02PSG target Manchester United's Pereira
January 26, 2015
22:32Midfielder Lucas Silva "felt emotional" during Real Madrid unveiling
22:03Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista given work permit to secure Arsenal move
21:55Report: Milan ready to rival Al Ahli Club bid for Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro
21:45Report: Roma to pursue Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano as alternative to Chelsea's Mohamed Salah
16:41Douglas Costa will be happy to continue at Shakhtar if they reject Chelsea's offer
15:40Lucas Silva: 'Signing for Real Madrid is a dream'
15:12Brazilians in Europe: Neymar on song
12:04Darío Conca will earn more than Neymar at Shanghai Dongya
11:53Luiz Adriano sees advantage in playing in Italy and admits AS Roma interest
11:47Paulinho wants clarification over his Tottenham future
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11:05Anderson: 'Manchester United fans love me'
January 25, 2015
20:45Report: Queens Park Rangers offered Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
20:40Manager Arsene Wenger confirms Arsenal are set to sign Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista
January 24, 2015
22:39Report: Everton latest club linked with Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
22:30Report: Arsenal set to seal €14.7 million deal for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista
17:59Manchester United Target Marquinhos needs more playing time according to agent
January 28, 2015
14:43Atlético-PR's Marcos Guilherme wanted by Bayern Munich and Shakhtar
14:09Manchester City's Fernandinho chosen by Shakhtar fans as the best Brazilian in their history
14:06Roma's offer for Luiz Adriano considered low by Shakhtar
12:22Cruzeiro want Felipe Gedoz from Brugge but a transfer is difficult
12:17Alexandre Pato interests Everton
January 27, 2015
14:50São Paulo to sign Adrián Centurión from Racing
14:41Brazil U20's Marcos Guilherme says Uruguay's Facundo Castro called him a 'monkey' several times
12:05Luiz Adriano will only leave if the offer satisfies Shakhtar
12:00Éverton Ribeiro is in London to have his Al-Ahli medical
11:56Neymar thinks Cristiano Ronaldo should be punished
January 26, 2015
16:41Douglas Costa will be happy to continue at Shakhtar if they reject Chelsea's offer
12:04Darío Conca will earn more than Neymar at Shanghai Dongya
11:53Luiz Adriano sees advantage in playing in Italy and admits AS Roma interest
11:47Paulinho wants clarification over his Tottenham future
January 24, 2015
13:45Santos trying to sell Patito Rodríguez
13:40Tite says he wants Jádson to stay at Corinthians
13:35Fluminense coach Cristóvão says Fred is close to renewing his contract
13:30Cruzeiro reveals other offers for Éverton Ribeiro
13:26Cruzeiro president says Real Madrid paid what they asked for Lucas Silva
January 23, 2015
12:46Internacional might find it difficult to hold onto Aránguiz
12:42Álvaro Pereira to leave São Paulo and join Estudiantes
12:40Santos sign Marquinhos Gabriel on loan
12:37Cruzeiro will unveil De Arrascaeta today
12:33Douglas Costa confirms Shakhtar rejected Chelsea's initial offer
January 22, 2015
13:47Douglas Coutinho will go to Holland, says Doyen Group's representative
13:43Fluminense striker Fred has an offer from China and can leave soon
13:25Bernard again says he's unhappy at Shakhtar
13:17Lucas Silva's father confirms the rapprochement of Real Madrid
13:11Real Madrid willing to meet Cruzeiro's demands for Lucas Silva
January 20, 2015
15:12Jádson wants to continue at Corinthians
15:07Flamengo wants Cícero and Walter from Fluminense
14:46Fluminense coach Cristóvão also admits Conca is on his way out of the club
14:12Agent says De Arrascaeta went to Cruzeiro because of Internacional's delay
14:05Brazil U20 recover from the loss against Uruguay and overcomes Venezuela
January 19, 2015
13:35Montillo intends to return to Brazil and has an offer from Flamengo
13:28Werley released by Grêmio to negotiate with Santos
13:25Grêmio confirms the deal to sign defender Erazo
13:20Conca travels to Brazil in a separate flight and is close to returning to China
13:15Cruzeiro confirm the deal to sign De Arrascaeta
January 18, 2015
14:34Atlético Mineiro president says transfer fee of Diego Tardelli was higher than what was announced
14:30Fluminense confirm that Conca can leave but the club needs compensation
14:24Conca has an offer from a Chinese team which is believed to be Shanghai Dongya
14:19Corinthians on the verge of completing Edu Dracena's signing
14:11Cruzeiro to complete the transfer of De Arrascaeta
January 17, 2015
20:12Cruzeiro's Dedé requires surgery and will be out for around 8 months
19:25Cruzeiro make last minute offer for De Arrascaeta and competes with Internacional
17:15Cruzeiro have signed Riascos
16:30Botafogo reaches agreement to sign Tomás
15:54Palmeiras to sign Ryder Matos from Fiorentina
January 07, 2015
18:41Brazil squad announced for 2015 South American Youth Football Championship
January 19, 2015
20:37Willian: 'Chelsea controlled the game'
January 11, 2015
19:49Coritiba confirm the signings of Negueba and Pedro Ken
17:17De Arrascaeta to Internacional can be announced any time now, says Defensor president
January 04, 2015
16:03Mircea Lucescu: Tour of Brazil will become part of Shakhtar history
15:08Lucescu: Shakhtar’s Brazil tour will be part of the history
January 03, 2015
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January 02, 2015
16:49Cruzeiro confirm survey from Mexico regarding Anselmo Ramon
15:28Internacional have competition from Europe for De Arrascaeta
14:16No contacts with Internacional, says Sandro's agent
14:13Shakhtar goes on tour across Brazil
December 30, 2014
17:18Fluminense director says no offer for Darío Conca
December 25, 2014
14:37Leandro Damião to Cruzeiro is back on
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
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April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
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November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
January 28, 2015
20:41New Arsenal signing Gabriel Paulista has "huge desire to play in the Premier League"
18:11Pereira could be on way out at Manchester United
17:02Milan and Valencia consider Paulinho bids
16:00Fluminense midfielder Darío Conca denies he is joining Shanghai SIPG for the money
15:51Report: Juventus close in on €11 million deal for Fluminense midfielder Gerson
15:43Grêmio officials deny defender Rhodolfo is set to join Internazionale on loan
January 27, 2015
23:37Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Douglas Costa praises Chelsea manager José Mourinho
21:52Report: Fenerbahçe target Grêmio forward Marcelo Moreno
21:39Cruzeiro agree deal to sign defender Eugenio Mena on a free transfer from Santos
21:29São Paulo loan defender Luis Ricardo to Brasileirão Série B side Botafogo
January 26, 2015
22:32Midfielder Lucas Silva "felt emotional" during Real Madrid unveiling
22:03Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista given work permit to secure Arsenal move
21:55Report: Milan ready to rival Al Ahli Club bid for Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro
21:45Report: Roma to pursue Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano as alternative to Chelsea's Mohamed Salah
January 25, 2015
20:45Report: Queens Park Rangers offered Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
20:40Manager Arsene Wenger confirms Arsenal are set to sign Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista
January 24, 2015
22:39Report: Everton latest club linked with Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato
22:30Report: Arsenal set to seal €14.7 million deal for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista
January 23, 2015
22:13Report: Manchester United to rival Arsenal bid for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista
22:02Sporting CP announce deal for Anzhi defender Ewerton
21:57Real Madrid sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
January 22, 2015
16:22Arsenal are close to finally signing Gabriel Paulista - Wenger confirmed
January 21, 2015
23:25Report: Manchester United quoted €86 million for Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos
15:46Forward Ryder Matos eager to earn a starting berth at Palmeiras after joining on loan from Fiorentina
15:37Report: Milan tracking Fluminense forward Kenedy
15:34Lazio confirm they have agreed a deal with Sporting CP for defender Maurício
January 20, 2015
15:10Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho hopeful of Wembley appearance
15:00Fluminense Head Coach Cristóvão Borges confirms offer from China for midfielder Darío Conca
January 19, 2015
15:56Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu explains why his team are touring Brazil
15:20Barcelona confirm thigh injury will keep defender Douglas out for "three to four weeks"
15:10Report: Juventus to rival Roma bid for Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano
15:00Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista refusing to be distracted by reported Arsenal interest
15:00Report: Midfielder Lucas Leiva open to Liverpool exit amid Atlético de Madrid and Internazionale interest
January 18, 2015
22:59Galatasaray defender Alex Telles denies he has received offers to move elsewhere
January 17, 2015
22:46Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho prefers to praise team despite individual contribution of Diego Costa and Oscar to win over Swansea City
January 16, 2015
22:40Juan Jesus unhappy that with Giorgio Chiellini's handling of 'elbow' altercation
22:31Internazionale defender Juan Jesus explains 'elbow' on Giorgio Chiellini
17:19Report: São Paulo are back in for Darío Conca
January 15, 2015
16:37Report: Sampdoria consider Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato as alternative to Everton's Samuel Eto'o
15:46Ronaldo open to making return to playing with North American Soccer League side Fort Lauderdale Strikers
15:07Veteran defender Betão rejoins Dynamo Kyiv on a free transfer
January 13, 2015
15:12São Paulo have received an offer for Osvaldo from Al-Ahli
13:15Lucas Lima to stay at Santos
12:13Report: Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva once again linked with a move to Napoli
09:38Report: Milan in talks with Atlético de Madrid over possible deal for full-back Guilherme Siqueira
09:29Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson disappointed injury forced him off in the Derby della Capitale
09:28Guangzhou Evergrande confirm deal for Cruzeiro midfielder Ricardo Goulart
09:19Palmeiras secure loan agreement for Henan Jianye forward Rafael Marques
January 12, 2015
23:34Agent Mino Raiola fears Lazio will struggle to retain midfielder Felipe Anderson
16:50Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure names Thiago Silva in his dream XI
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