Flamengo vs Sao Paulo
Competition: Brazil Serie A
Date: 19 July 2018
Kick-off: 02:45 CET
Flamengo were awesome in the first third of the season, losing just one game out of 12. They are leading, on 27 points, four more than second-placed Atlético Mineiro and third-placed Sao Paulo. One thing that changed between now and before the World Cup finals, is that Mauricio Barbieri, the coach who took over as interim, at the very start of the season, has signed a proper contract and is backed to stay in charge at least until December. Other than that, Flamengo are fighting to have Paolo Guerrero available. The Peruvian striker took part in the World Cup finals with his national team, but in Brazil, the local Football Confederation, is making things hard for Flamengo, insisting that he cannot play, and that FIFA’s exemption (he remains banned) was only about the World Cup finals.
Even Sao Paulo’s fans must be surprised seeing their team third in the table after the first third of the season. It’s actually a coin with two sides; they have definitely done well in many of their games, but on the other hand, they have earned 23 points out of possible 36, and are third in the table, which means that they simply… dropped less points than other top-4 candidates. Two days before this game, they finally reached an agreement with a European club for the transfer of Christian Cueva. The Peruvian wouldn’t play for Sao Paulo again, it was rather obvious since the day he left, to join his national team, before the World Cup finals, and his move to Krasnodar was the best thing for all sides involved.
Previous five matches:
Palmeiras vs Flamengo 1-1
Flamengo vs Parana 2-0
Fluminense vs Flamengo 0-2
Flamengo vs Corinthians 1-0
Flamengo vs Bahia 2-0
Sao Paulo vs Vitoria 3-0
Atletico Paranaense vs Sao Paulo 0-1
Sao Paulo vs Internacional 0-0
Palmeiras vs Sao Paulo 3-1
Sao Paulo vs Botafogo 3-2
Flamengo’s next game is on Saturday, against Botafogo, again as hosts. Same day, Sao Paulo will be hosting Corinthians (both Brazil Série A matches).
Flamengo vs Sao Paulo: Head to head Stats
Two wins for Flamengo, two draws, and a victory for Sao Paulo, in the last five games between these two in Rio de Janeiro.
Flamengo vs Sao Paulo: Prediction
I’m backing Flamengo to pick up all three points, in front of what is expected to be an almost full house at Maracanã. They have been averaging over 50,000 people per home game, and the fact that Sao Paulo are a direct rival at the moment, for the top spot in the table, is an extra motive for the Fla fans to buy a ticket.
Flamengo vs Sao Paulo: Betting Tips
Flamengo’s win is at 2.00 (with their double chance down to 1.25). I would stay with that, trusting the hosts to win, but having doubts about how many goals we’ll have at Maracanã, in the first official game of both teams after several weeks.