Palmeiras’ plan not to put maximum power in the Paulista Championship in most of the first-round matches almost caused the club to be knocked out – they qualified in the last round thanks to a Corinthians win. Now, however, the strategy appears to make more sense.
Even with more matches played in the 2021 season (23 to 20 in Sao Paulo), Palmeiras arrived with a more comfortable squad and without missing out on the Grand Final. On the other hand, Hernán Crespo’s side, who lost in the first half to Daniel Alves and Benitez due to injury, will go to the final with the possibility of both Luciano and Eder absent.
Among the Palmeiras and Sao Paulo holders in the first match of the Final, the average number of matches played by 11 players in Alfredde was 12.4 in the 2021 season (out of the 23 matches the club played). The average number of matches played by São Paulo holders was 13.1 (out of 20).
In terms of minutes on the field, the Palmeiras owners averaged 71.9 compared to 74.5 for São Paulo. In addition to playing fewer games in the season, Palmeiras players had fewer minutes left on the field, and thus came to more “fullness” of decision making.
If we consider 2021 without a seasonal division (2020), Palmeiras has already played 42 games in 140 days – an average of one game every 3.3 days. Also in 2021, Sao Paulo played 31 matches (an average of one game every 4.5 days).
The “maintenance” of Palmeiras players and the rotation of athletes (due to the strong cast) allowed the club to reach the finals of all competitions it contested. On the other hand, Sao Paulo, who started this season with a new technical committee and pressed to leave the title streak, needed to put their main players in more matches. And in this crazy marathon of the games, it comes down to Paulista’s decision riddled with absences.
It remains to be seen now who will win. Before the first match I already thought Palmeiras had an advantage technically. Now, with the possible absence of Sao Paulo, he realizes that the chance for Abel’s team to win the title is greater.
Matches and minutes on the pitch by Palmeiras players in the 2021 season
Matches and minutes on the pitch played by Sao Paulo holders in the 2021 season
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