Atlético-MG has an important duel against leader Botafogo, on Saturday (16), at Arena MRV. Galo will not be able to count on their main player, as Hulk is suspended, but they will have second top scorer Paulinho, who returned from the Olympic Team early.
Paulinho was with Brazil’s Under-23 team in Morocco, where he was a starter in the first friendly match against the home team, when Brazil were defeated 1-0. Before the second match, an earthquake occurred in the country, which resulted in the cancellation of the second game between the teams. Because of this, the attacker returned to Atlético early and trained with his teammates this Tuesday morning (12).
Paulinho will not have his dynamic duo, Hulk, who received his third yellow card in the last game, against Athletico-PR, and will not be available. With number 10 back sooner, Felipão will be able to test the best model to adapt the team without Hulk sooner.
Felipão will certainly use Paulinho in the attack. To replace Hulk, he has a few names. The most likely thing is that he will start the game with Alan Kardec, the natural replacement for number 7 in the last few games. The other offensive option is Vargas, who is not going through a good moment and has the fans constantly picking on him, including organized groups going after him in celebration. That’s why he has less chance of being chosen, even if he is the one with characteristics that most resemble Hulk.
Another option for Felipão is to change the formation. The coach can choose to use two attackers, leaving Paulinho and Pavón, for example, and adding a new midfield. This week, the coach had Hyoran and Zaracho return to training, making them available for the game. In this idea, one of them can play alongside Pedrinho in the frame.
Speaking of Atlético’s attacking options, the club confirmed this Tuesday a new loan for striker Fábio Gomes, who was at Juventude. The player will now play for Sydney FC, in Australia, who will pay his entire salary. Fábio arrived at Galo in 2022 with the responsibility of wearing the number 9 shirt, but he was far from pleasing the fans and the committees that passed through the club. He has a contract with the black and white team until the end of 2025.
Galo and Sydney FC, from Australia, agree on the loan transfer of striker Fábio Gomes, who was at Juventude.
The player’s salaries will be fully paid by the Australian club, which has the option to purchase at the end of the contract, on 06/30/2024.
— Atlético (@Atletico) September 12, 2023
Other Atlético absences
In addition to Hulk, defender Jemerson is also suspended. Without him, the defense duo should be formed by Bruno Fuchs and Maurício Lemos. Furthermore, Felipão does not have defender Igor Rabello and midfielders Alan Franco and Igor Gomes available, who are currently in the medical department.
Atlético streak and bad pitch
Atlético will have two consecutive home games in the coming weeks. In addition to Botafogo on Saturday (16), Galo will host Cuiabá on the other Saturday (23). Both games will take place at Arena MRV, at 9pm. The new athletic venue, which already had problems with the pitch when it debuted, hosted two concert events last week, which further damaged the pitch.
Arena MRV needed to replace an area of 2500 m² of the field after the events, precisely to seek a better condition to play football in the next games. The change was already planned by whoever manages the stadium. Speaking of change, the club’s directors have already stated that it will be necessary to implement synthetic grass in the Arena.
Following ArenaMRV’s lawn treatment schedule, an area of 2,500 m² is being replaced for the match against Botafogo. The procedure was already planned a few weeks ago to take place during the FIFA date period. pic.twitter.com/DkwRgP1sI5
— Arena MRV (@ArenaMRV) September 11, 2023