The same coach Abel Ferreira considered by most of the fans after winning the Copa Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil in 2020 has been execrated by some people from Palmeiras for the 2021 results. The club is second in the Brazilian Nationals and a semifinalist in the Libertadores. Even so, the criticisms are many. What changed so that the perception became so negative?
O UOL researched numbers and compared the performance of the three sectors —defence, midfield and attack— to conclude that the Portuguese has a large part of his squad at the Brazilian Nationals yielding below what he delivered in 2020. And that the absence of some key players, whether due to injury, negotiation or choice of the coach, they have been preponderant for the performance of Palmeiras to be below expectations.
Pillars of last season’s achievements, such as Gustavo Gómez, Rony and Luiz Adriano, have contributed very little to Palmeiras in numbers. And players with good scores in 2020, like Gabriel Menino, and even this year, like Gustavo Scarpa, have been losing ground and also leave the team with worse numbers.
Some numbers by Gustavo Gómez draw negative attention
With 23 goals conceded, the same number as Athletico-PR, Palmeiras is only ahead of Chapecoense, Bahia and Santos in the competition. The average of 1.2 goals per game is high by team standards. At the 2020 Brazilian Nationals, for example, the club conceded 37 goals in 38 rounds, despite having played with a mixed team many times, due to the greater focus on the Libertadores.
Marcos Rocha, who did poorly against Flamengo, is the one who most disarms on average in the team in Brasileirão, with 2.8 per game, according to the statistics portal Footstats, which is the database on the official website of Palmeiras. The leader of the foundation is Fernando Sobral, from Ceará, with 3.5 per game.
Gustavo Gómez’s low performance in this regard is noteworthy. With 13 tackles in 11 games, an average of 1.18, he is only 11th in the squad. Almost all the other players who have a more intense marking role are in front of them: Zé Rafael (1.9), Felipe Melo (1.73), Renan (2.08), Luan (1.6), Danilo (1 .3).
Gómez also has low numbers in interceptions, with just two in 11 games, averaging 0.18. Once again, he sees most of the teammates overcome him. with emphasis on Zé Rafael, with ten in 16 games; Felipe Melo, ten in 15 games; and Luan, with nine out of 13.
There is no doubt that Gómez is one of the best technically in the squad, and important enough to be captain unchallenged. But at the Brazilian, in these terms, their numbers are not good.
Half without Scarpa, Melo and Gabriel Menino loses in production
Gustavo Scarpa only left the team because Dudu returned. In spite of the preference of the squad’s characteristics by the coach, without the shirt 14, Palmeiras drops a lot in numbers. There were seven assists for goals in the competition and another 34 for his teammates to kick, which put him at the top of the alviverde and competition rankings. Second place at the club, from Veiga, shows three passes for goal and 16 for submissions — less than half.
Gabriel Menino, compared to last year, is also missing. Between injuries and selections for the national team, the player’s contribution to the club plummeted. In 2020, he had 62 submission passes and ten assists, leading the way. This year, he has zero assistance at the Brazilian Nationals and only nine passes for kicking.
Although the performance of Zé Rafael and Danilo is good, the absence of Felipe Melo also takes away Palmeiras’ option. The shirt 30 has an average of 1.6 shot per game, only behind Rocha (2) and Luan (1.8) among the line players.
Dudu’s arrival could be an encouragement. He has ten finishes in seven games, but only three sures. On the other hand, he has already put his teammates in a position to hit the goal 14 times, with an assist.
Attack had many casualties and Luiz Adriano and Rony disappeared
Nothing impacts Palmeiras more this season, however, than Luiz Adriano — or his absence, in this case. The team’s top scorer in 2020, with 20 goals, struggling with an edema in his left knee and accusations from his ex-wife, has a measly goal in eight games at the 2021 Brazilian Nationals.
There have been 12 submissions by the shirt 10 in the tournament so far, five of them correct — an average of 0.63 shots with the correct direction in each match. With 18 right shots in 18 games, Veiga leads, followed by Scarpa, with one shot less right.
At Flamengo, Bruno Henrique has an average of 1.92 shots per game. Hulk, at Atlético-MG, kicked right 24 of the 58 times he looked for the goal: 1.3 per game.
The much criticized Deyverson has reasonable numbers that, in their coldness, do not remember the many lost chances against Cuiabá, for example. But in 15 games, he hit the goal 13 times, with an average of 0.84, and has already given three assists in the championship.
Rony, who has been “9” in Abel Ferreira’s current schedule, also still have low numbers at the Brazilian Nationals on his return from injury. In 11 matches, they kicked only 14 times, and only four had the goal direction (0.36/game).
Thus, the team’s top scorer in the competition, Breno Lopes —five goals—, shines more by exclusion than by merit. There were 16 submissions in 13 games, nine of them right, which give an average of 0.69 hit/match.
Willian, who has four goals at Nacional, is already close to the numbers he had at last year’s Brazilian Nationals, when he scored seven. But it is one more player who has received fewer chances from the coach. Verón also had good numbers in 2020, but he is having a fluctuating 2021, returning from treatment for injuries. Still scoreless at the Brazilian Nationals, in four games, he has nine and five assists in total in 2020.
Despite some of Abel’s questionable choices, the fact is that the technician, who has had few of the reinforcements he requested at the end of the 2020 season, is dealing with a serious problem of falling yields for key parts. Placing too much responsibility on your shoulders is turning a blind eye to reality and numbers—which don’t lie.