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Preview: Sao Paulo vs. Palmeiras - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Seeking to extend their unbeaten run to a tenth game on Saturday, Campeonato Brasileiro leaders Palmeiras visit local rivals Sao Paulo at Estadio do Morumbi.

Having collapsed to a 5-1 defeat last time out in the league, their struggling hosts languish in the Serie A drop zone, as the pressure grows on head coach Hernan Crespo.

Match preview

Just days after sealing their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores for a fourth successive year, Palmeiras then posted their seventh straight Serie A win, at home to Fluminense last weekend.

The Alviverde's latest success sees them sitting three points clear of closest challengers Atletico Mineiro in the standings, following a spectacular surge during the past month.

Following a 3-2 setback versus Bragantino in late June, the Perdizes-based club have gone on to pick up maximum points in the league and win both legs of their continental engagement with Chile's Universidad Catolica.

Coach Abel Ferreira's team are, therefore, in contention for a memorable double, as they aim to successfully defend their South American title - something no club has done since Boca Juniors in 2001 - and lift Brazil's biggest prize for the first time since 2018.

Though three of their last four wins have come by way of 1-0 margins, Ferreira's side have tallied a league-high 25 goals in their 13 domestic matches this term.

At the other end, they have proved equally impressive - a watertight defence only conceding in one of their last seven outings in all - so will be confident of prolonging their undefeated spell in a fixture known as "O Choque-Rei" - the clash of kings.

While Sao Paulo's underwhelming start to the 2021 season left them lingering in the Serie A relegation zone and still looking to record a first victory after nine matches, two successive wins earlier this month seemed to reveal green shoots of growth for Hernan Crespo's troubled side.

However, despite joining Palmeiras in the last eight of the Copa Libertadores last week - beating Racing Club in the second leg of their last-16 tie to win 4-2 on aggregate - the Tricolor were then brought swiftly down to earth on Sunday, as they were humbled 5-1 at Flamengo.

After taking a 48th-minute lead through centre-back Robert Arboleda, heading into the final 20 minutes, Sao Paulo remained in front. Remarkably, though, a collapse of epic proportions in the final quarter of the game saw Crespo's men concede five times to the Rio giants - including a seven-minute Bruno Henrique hat-trick.

Though the six-time Brasileiro winners were able to steady the ship before their midweek Copa do Brasil tie with Vasco da Gama - a 2-0 win seeing them take a healthy lead into next week's second leg - a meeting with their table-topping neighbours is now the last thing Crespo and company would have wanted, given recent events.

Though the former Lazio and Milan striker led Sao Paulo to the regional Campeonato Paulista title in May - their first such triumph in eight years - they now sit 17th in the table with a meagre total of nine goals in 13 league matches. Certainly, such a record does not bode well when contrasted with their visitors' rock-steady rearguard and potent attack.

Sao Paulo Brasileiro form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L

Sao Paulo form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Palmeiras Brasileiro form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

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

Team News

Palmeiras have lost left-back Matias Vina to Roma this week, and the Uruguay international has flown straight to the Italian club's training camp in Portugal.

Since it became clear Vina would leave, Renan has covered on the left of Abel Ferreira's back four and should do so again on Saturday, but the Alviverde also announced the signing of 25-year-old full-back Jorge from Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco, and he may feature in the coming weeks.

Out with a thigh injury of late, Rony is expected to remain sidelined, while both Luan (calf) and Luiz Adriano (knee) are also unavailable once again. Right-back Gabriel Menino is away with the Selecao at the Tokyo Olympics, so Marcos Rocha - scorer of the winning goal against Catolica last week - will cover.

Goalkeeper Jailson has started five of the last seven league games, but Weverton is the man in possession - and has started most of the Copa Libertadores matches - so will hope to get the nod again this weekend.

The hosts, meanwhile, could again be without experienced forward Eder due to a thigh injury, while Luciano and Walce are also unavailable to Hernan Crespo. Veteran all-rounder Dani Alves is still with the national team in Japan.

Up front, Pablo and Emiliano Rigoni are set to keep their places in the team after scoring in the cup, with Crespo expected to field a 3-1-4-2 formation.

Sao Paulo possible starting lineup:
Volpi; Arboleda, Miranda, Leo; Liziero; Vinicius, Welington, Sara, Benitez; Pablo, Rigoni

Palmeiras possible starting lineup:
Jailson; Rocha, Melo, Gomez, Renan; Danilo, Ze Rafael; Veiga, Scarpa, Lopes; Deyverson

We say: Sao Paulo 0-2 Palmeiras

While they may have improved in recent weeks - things could hardly get worse, after all - Sao Paulo are mired in a terrible spell of form domestically and their confidence is paper-thin.

Palmeiras, meanwhile, are progressing serenely in all competitions, and they should have few problems in securing maximum points on Saturday to extend their rivals' woes.

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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Brasileiro Table
1Atletico Mineiro20143332131945
10Athletico ParanaenseAthletico PR208392524127
11Atletico GoianienseAtletico GO206861720-326
12Sao Paulo216871823-526
16America MineiroAmerica Mineiro215881823-523
19Sport RecifeSport213810818-1017
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