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The Key Contenders for this Year’s Brasileirão

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A highly anticipated Série A season is about to get underway this weekend with the whole of Brazil waiting with baited breath to see if this year could be their year.

There’s been a lot of movement in the break since December with the big hitters looking to consolidate their spot at the top and spending the cash to match.

A wealth of talent is waiting to be showcased from the up and comers of São Paulo’s Igor Gomes to the tried and tested like Cruzeiro’s Fred.

As South America’s biggest domestic league Brazil’s Série A is both unpredictable and a breeding ground for some of the country’s emerging talent. To get the best comparison for free bets ahead of a bet on the Brasileirão consult a betting expert like BookiesBonuses.com.

State championships show emerging favourites

The dust has barely settled on a gruelling preseason of state championships. Some are more than happy to have the regional dogfights over with, but the Paulista, Carioca and Mineiro championships have already given us a taste of who we can come to expect at the top.

Corinthians stormed to the Paulista state championship last Sunday in a hard fought battle against cross town rivals São Paulo. Corinthians will be doing their best to put behind them a Série A season that almost spelt disaster.

Last season saw the São Paulo giants finish a miserable 16th place, hovering only three points above the drop zone. It was one of recent memory’s worst campaigns from a reigning champion.

Cruzeiro saw off bitter Belo Horizonte rivals Atlético Mineiro to win their state championship. O Celeste have an impressive attacking line up and will be looking to improve on a mediocre eighth place finish last year. The question is whether their thin squad can handle league duties alongside the domestic cup and the Libertadores.

 

O Nação 

The Carioca might not have the quality of its southern counterpart the Paulista, but this year’s champions Flamengo certainly celebrated in style after seeing off rivals Vasco da Gama 4-0 over two legs.

Flamengo have made a significant investment in their squad since last July and have arguably amassed the most impressive attacking line in entire league.

They broke their record fee to bring back Vitinho to Brazilian shores from his exile in Moscow. On top of that they’ve brought in Bruno Henrique from Santos and Gabigol on loan from Inter until next January, all adding to a well oiled attack already containing Everton Ribeiro and Diego Ribas.

Flamengo have been pushing for success for some time now and coming up short. They started off a strong campaign last year only to capitulate midway through the season, while simultaneously crashing out of the Libertadores in the round of 16. That difficult run eventually led to the dismissal of coach Mauricio Barbieri.

Abel Braga’s Mengão will be hoping to live up to the expectations that such a huge fan base brings with it, while having the added pressure of the financial factor weighing heavy on their shoulders.

Flamenguistas have been waiting a decade for another Brasileirão title and it’s looking likely that their patience may pay dividends this time round.

Big Phil’s Big Chance

You’d be crazy not to consider that reigning champions Palmeiras will be in the mix to take back their title. The Brazilian league is notoriously unpredictable and only one team - Cruzeiro - have managed to win back to back titles in the last decade.

Palmeiras will take pride in the fact that they’ve managed to beat off potentially poachers and have kept their championship side in tact. Big Phil has been around the block for sure but his brutalesque brand of football might just suffer at hands of impressive and offensive footballing talents in other top teams.

Palmeiras will have to dig deeper this season if they’re to keep their crown.

Southern Chancers

Porto Alegre rivals Grêmio and Internacional both had impressive seasons last time round. Newly promoted Inter exceeded all expectations by finishing third, only three points behind Flamengo which earned themselves a place in the top pot for the Libertadores.

Grêmio never made it past third place last season, but considering they nearly went all the way in the Libertadores, only succumbing to eventual champions River Plate, it’s no mean feat that they finished fourth.

Both gaúcho sides have the ability to bag a few goals this campaign. Paolo Guerrero is back in Brazilian football after his ban, and is a proven danger to Brasileirão defences.

Gremio’s Everton who can operate across all areas in the final third, and was impressive enough to earn himself a call up to the international side by Tite. He’s already bagged 3 goals and 1 assist in the Libertadores, perhaps foreshadowing an impressive season ahead.

All up for grabs

It’s treacherous at the top of the Brazilian league at the best of times, with a handful of teams able to mount a serious title challenge in any given season. Having said that, the state champions have already begun to demonstrate the guile and class needed to have a successful Série A season.

Big spenders Flamengo and Palmeiras have the money and experience necessary to challenge once again this season but don’t be surprised if you get an upset. The trophy could be going home to Rio, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte or even Porto Alegre come December.

 

Adam Grimshaw

@adamgeorgie

 
 

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