Palmeiras – São Paulo FC – Palmeiras’ Counterattack Lethal Against Scattered São Paulo Defense (3-0)
Palmeiras made quick tactical adjustments early on, inviting the São Paulo pressure and hitting them expertly on the break. Excellent matches from Felipe Melo, Dudu, and Deyverson buoyed the hosts, as the triumvirate stymied the visitor’s possession offense and exposed a disjointed backline.
Tactical analysis and match report by K.T. Stockwell.
Only three losses all year and yet Palmeiras continue to chase down a stubborn Flamengo side at the top of the table. Four straight matches without a loss has helped to vault manager Mano Menezes’ side back to within eight points of their rivals, but they will have to continue winning as they prepare for a potentially title-deciding fixture against Flamengo at the start of December.
Matches now coming thick-and-fast, Menezes maintained his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation against São Paulo, but was forced to rotate the squad that collected a win against Avaí three nights earlier. Wéverton made his twenty-third start in goal with Gustavo Gómez and Vitor Hugo screening him in central defense. At fullback Menezes selected Marcos Rocha and Diogo Barbosa, while Felipe Melo and captain, Bruno Henrique patrolled the base of midfield. Dudu, Gustavo Scarpa and Zé Rafael, sat in front of the holding tandem, while Deyverson was preferred at striker.
For their part, São Paulo continue to scrap with Grêmio for fourth place and the final automatic berth into the Copa Libertadores. A recent dip in form that has seen the side go 5-3-3 since the start of September and has the pressure mounting on manager Fernando Diniz, who is still contended with the high expectations brought on by the arrival of . . .