Atletico Mineiro are one of six teams who are still in the hunt for the Brasileirao league title, and first up they have a tough and potentially vital match against Flamengo on Wednesday night, at the famous Maracana Stadium. Win that, and their remaining two fixtures, first against Sao Paulo and then at Bahia become real pressure-cooker matches.
Four Key Matches – Decisive Encounters
Atletico Mineiro are currently fourth in the league, three points off the top. They have 60 points now and can ill afford any mistakes, with all teams as low as sixth able to still lift the title.
First up: Flamengo. They are tied on 63 points with league leaders Palmeiras, and with Everton Ribeiro, Pedro and Giorgian de Arrascaeta leading the line, they are lethal in attack. If the visiting side can keep things tight and edge a goal, then they will be just a single point behind Flamengo and optimistic they can put the pressure on.
Then, on Sunday, December 3, they host Sao Paulo. While Sao Paulo are only 10th in the league, they boast some of the most decorated names in Brazilian football, including Lucas Moura – a title winner with Paris Saint-Germain, Alexandre Pato (an AC Milan legend), and James Rodriguez, who made his name at Monaco and then Real Madrid, as well as his outstanding World Championship exploits.
If they manage to win those two games, there is every chance that the third and final one, at Bahia on Thursday, December 7, is a dealbreaker. Currently sitting in 17th and in the relegation drop zone, it could be a heated and passionate affair, with Bahia having Manchester City’s exciting youngster Kayky at their disposal.
Team Performance – Key to Success
Last Sunday, Atletico Mineiro kept the pressure up on the teams above them with a 3-0 victory at home to Gremio. On the scoresheet was Hulk, who remains in exceptional goalscoring form despite his 37 years. He already has 29 goals to his name this season.
While they are the joint-least successful in front of goal out of the top eight, with just 47 goals scored so far, they are the strongest at the back: they have conceded only 27 times so far.
Last month against Fluminense, one of the better teams in the league this season, they could point to Paulinho for their victory, as the 23-year-old wideman grabbed a brace as he also approached 30 goals for the season. Paulinho has been so impressive that this year he broke into the national team and could be snapped up by a European side if he maintains his form.
In the match before that win, they secured a 2-1 win at title challengers Bragantino, with a nerveless Hulk spot-kick followed up with a winner from Igor Gomes. All these players need to come together to maintain their winning ways.
Strategies for Victory – Focus on Gameplay
For Atletico, the focus must be on maintaining their tight defence against a team as dangerous as Flamengo. Goalkeeper Everson, plus defenders Jemerson, Mauricio Lemos and Renzo Saravia have to keep things tight so that Hulk and others can hope to snatch victory with any chances that come their way.
The same is true against the potential banana skin of Sao Paulo, who have the talent to cause plenty of damage. With the pressure rising, there might be cause to have club captain Rever close to the team. If not on the pitch, given his 38 years, but on the bench and in the dressing room. This is not a time when mistakes can be allowed, and any obstacles and setbacks need to be tackled with a clear head.
Against Bahia, the pressure will really be on if there is even a slight chance of a problem, and with five matches in 2023 where the club have had a man sent off, they can’t afford any ill-discipline.
Title Possibilities – Calculating Success
If Atletico Mineiro win their remaining games, they will hit 69 points. That would require Palmeiras to drop at least four points.
If they win their remaining games, then Flamengo will have logically lost one of their remaining three, so it would come down to who performs best over the remaining two ties.
They would also need Botafogo to drop at least three points.
If they lose against Flamengo, then they would fall six points behind them, and Palmeiras, if they win their next match, and five behind Botafogo if they win their next match.
Gremio and Bragantino can both also win the title if they make up the four-point gap they are behind both Flamengo and Palmeiras.
These permutations will change over the next three rounds of games.
If there is a tie for the championship, then Fair Play scoring will not be considered; instead, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides the position.
Fan Support – Boost for the Final Stretch
The Flamengo-Atletico Mineiro rivalry is one that stretches back to the 1950s, and the intensity has not let up.
With so much at stake for both clubs as the importance of the remaining games only increases, this could be the chance for one set of fans to step up and get their team over the line.
The club can claim over five million fans, and have the best average attendance in nine seasons of the Brasileirao, as well as the second-highest all-time average attendance, with more than 13 million tickets to national league games sold. The fans’ motto of “Eu acredito”, which translates as “I believe,” could come to the fore as they look for a title win against the odds.
If Atletico Mineiro find themselves looking for a reason to go the extra mile or run harder in search of a goal, they can look to their passionate fans.
Socios.com and Atletico Mineiro Fan Tokens – Engaging Fans
Socios.com helps fans feel even closer to Atletico Mineiro, building on an already passionate relationship between the club and their fans. As the league title chase builds, the reasons to get involved will multiply, and players will feel the intensity even more keenly.
Atletico Mineiro Fan Tokens are a digital asset which will help supporters transform their passion for the club into rewards. As a Fan Token Holder, fans will have the opportunity to win unique experiences, once-in-a-lifetime rewards, and plenty of other prizes to win. Fan tokens allow supporters to have their say in official team polls, predict the results of matches, check-in to games, play in-app games, and choose their game changers. All this happens while you can earn reward points to earn Fan Rewards.