Sao Paulo vs Avai
Competition: Brazilian Serie A
Date: 23 May 2017
Kick-off: 01:00 CET
Sao Paulo look… cornered, and it’s exactly the time to show that they are indeed a big club. On April 19 they got eliminated from the Copa do Brasil, despite beating Cruzeiro 2-1 in Belo Horizonte (they had lost 2-0 at home). Three days later, they lost hope of winning the Paulista championship title, drawing 1-1 at Corinthians (again, they had lost 2-0 at home). After not playing for almost three weeks, they returned to action on May 11, only to get eliminated from one more competition, drawing 1-1 at home to Defensa y Justicia. They were left out of the Copa Sudamericana, having drawn 0-0 in Argentina. Rumours surfaced that things in the dressing room are not well, and coach Rogerio Ceni, one of Sao Paulo’s biggest figures ever, admitted a couple of days ago that there was indeed an ‘incident’ at halftime, when they faced Corinthians in the semifinal of the Paulista championship. Last weekend, another defeat, on the first day of the Serie A, at Cruzeiro. Things look really-really bad at Sao Paulo, but Ceni hopes that starting from this weekend, the team will show what they are really capable of. Should be noted that during the three-week break (before the return leg against Defensa y Justicia), Ceni gave the captain’s armband to Argentine Lucas Pratto, taking it away from Maicon, who is under fire at Sao Paulo, more recently for his mistake in Cruzeiro’s goal last weekend.
Avai’s attacking midfielder and captain, Marquinhos, said something very interesting in the Press conference ahead of this game at Sao Paulo. Taking the liberty to read between his lines, he pretty much said that Avai need to stay patient in the game at Morumbi, and let the… fans, the local fans, work on Avai’s behalf, putting more and more pressure on their own players, as the game progresses. Sao Paulo are under a lot of pressure after their back-to-back failures this last month, and if things are not going their way after the first half, Marquinhos expects the pressure to lead Sao Paulo players to mistakes in the second part. Avai drew 0-0 at home to Vitoria last weekend. They are considered ‘favorites’ to be relegated at the end of the season, but according to their captain, this only serves as an extra motivation for him and his teammates.
Sao Paulo vs Avai: Head-to-head Stats
Sao Paulo have won three of the last five games they have hosted Avai in, one game ended in a draw, and the visitors won once, back in 2010.
Sao Paulo vs Avai: Prediction
Looking at Sao Paulo’s roster you are left wondering… how the heck have they managed to fail so big for a whole month now, in four competitions. Will they fail again, cracking under pressure? I expect them not to, I expect them to rise to the occasion/challenge, and finally give their fans a reason to smile about, releasing some tension. Actually, I won’t be surprised if Sao Paulo smash Avai, making them pay for… all their tortures the last month.
Sao Paulo vs Avai: Tips
Sao Paulo’s win pays a pitiful 1.33, which kind of makes sense, taking into consideration whom they are hosting. To make a Sao Paulo win worth it, I’m backing them to pick up all three points in a game that will have at least three goals. This pays a more than acceptable 2.20.