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Dec 6, 2021 at 10pm UK at Arena da Baixada
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Preview: Athletico Paranaense vs. Palmeiras - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Athletico Paranaense vs. Palmeiras - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Brasileiro clash between Athletico Paranaense and Palmeiras, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

On Monday, Athletico Paranaense can secure their spot in the top flight for next season with a point at home to Palmeiras in a champion versus champion showdown from Arena da Baixada.

The Copa Sudamericana winners moved five points clear of the relegation line and into 13th with a 1-0 over Cuiaba, while the now two-time Copa Libertadores champions followed up their cup triumph with a 3-1 win over that same Dourado club on Tuesday.

Match preview

They have been cutting it close, perhaps too close for comfort for most of their fans, but El Paranaense now have themselves a bit of a cushion in the standings.

Since advancing to the Copa Sudamericana final at the end of September, it appears as though Alberto Valentim has put the majority of his efforts and energy into winning that trophy which they did, although it came at a cost domestically as his team won only three of their 14 league matches played before Friday.

Valentim has a difficult dilemma in his final two Serie A fixtures this year as his side will battle Atletico Mineiro for the Copa do Brasil trophy later this month, but they are not entirely out of the woods in terms of relegation, so it will be interesting to see what kind of team he throws out there for this one.

The continuity within this group which has made them so successful in tournament play has not worked very effectively in the league, having scored once in their previous four Serie A fixtures.

Their commitment to team defence played a big part in their Copa Sudamericana triumph, and it was a successful formula against a defensive-minded team such as Cuiaba, who, like Furacao, tend to defend deep and build-up play from the back.

Conceding first has been like a death sentence for them recently, as they have not won a match in the top flight since September when that has happened and have only scored in two of their last 11 games when falling behind first.

The Serie A title is out of reach for Palestra, but they can take solace in knowing that not only were they able to retain their Copa Libertadores crown, but they will finish their league campaign in much better shape than a season ago when Verdao came in seventh.

Abel Ferreira has brought a pragmatic approach to this side, who can be effective in a low-block system and also find the gaps in between the lines to launch a surprise counter.

They have been great in transition against teams who defend well, as they exposed Dourado on Tuesday, scoring three goals and surprised the top defensive team in the league (Atletico Mineiro), finding the back of the net twice in that match which ended in a 2-2 draw.

While Verdao have dropped off a little defensively from 2020, conceding six more goals domestically this season (43), they are a well-structured backline who are quick and can get back to cover a lot of space.

Their victory on Tuesday helped them snap a two-game losing streak away from home, and they have rarely walked away from Arena de Baixada empty-handed, unbeaten since 2017.

A victory in either one of their final two league fixtures would see them reach the 20-win mark in this domestic campaign, which would be five more than a season ago, while coming out on top in both of their remaining games would tie their mark of 21 set in 2019 when they came in third.

Athletico Paranaense Brasileiro form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Athletico Paranaense form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Palmeiras Brasileiro form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Palmeiras form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Pedro Rocha scored the only goal in their victory over Cuiaba earlier this week, as he remains second on the team in that category behind Renato Kayzer and David Terans, who are tied for the lead.

Terans was the only new addition to the starting 11 last weekend, as the Uruguayan played in behind Rocha, replacing Christian.

Richard, Nicolas Hernandez, Erick and Renato Kayzer are in danger of being suspended with another caution, while Matheus Babi will not play for the rest of the year after he underwent cruciate ligament surgery.

Palmeiras will not have Gabriel Veron available after the 19-year-old picked up a red card following his goal versus Cuiaba, which was his first of the year.

The entire starting 11 was different for Palestra in their last domestic affair compared to the side who started in the Copa Libertadores final with Vinicius getting the call in goal, while Renan, Benjamin Kuscevic, Michel, Victor Luis, Matheus Fernandes, Gabriel Menino, Gustavo Garcia, Veron, Gabriel Silva and Giovanni all got some playing time.

Raphael Veiga leads this team with 11 goals, while former El Paranaense forward Rony has contributed five goals for Palestra this year.

Athletico Paranaense possible starting lineup:
Santos; Henrique, Heleno, Azevedo; Marcinho, Erick, Juninho, Abner; Nikao, Terans; Rocha

Palmeiras possible starting lineup:
Vinicius; Vanderlan, Kuscevic, Luan; Luis, Danilo, Menino, Ramon; Rony, Silva, Giovanni

We say: Athletico Paranaense 1-0 Palmeiras

There is no chance for Palmeiras to win another trophy this season, as they are stuck in third place, so expect Ferreira to allow several reserves to gain some experience with the senior side, and while those players are solid prospects, they are not as polished as the first-team for El Paranaense.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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