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League Focus: Brasileirão 2013 Season Review

Football Betting Tips | Article posted on December 14th, 2013

League Focus: Brasileirão 2013 Season Review

As any player or fan will tell you, the Campeonato Brasileiro is both a marathon and a sprint. After 38 rounds of action, crammed into five-and-a-half months, we reached the end of the road at the weekend.

Things didn’t exactly go smoothly. The match between Atlético Paranaense and relegation-threatened Vasco was delayed due to horrific fighting in Joinville, attracting the world’s media spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Vasco were eventually condemned to Série B but could appeal, claiming the game never should have been resumed.

Fellow giants Fluminense were also relegated, leaving Brazil striker Fred in tears in the stands. But they too could earn a reprieve, with Portuguesa having fielded an ineligible player in the final round of games. Confusion, as ever, reigned supreme.

When the dust settles, however, this will go down as a fairly momentous season: one in which the Rio-São Paulo axis was thwarted for the first time in a decade. Here, then, are the stars of the season:

Team of the Year: Cruzeiro

No prizes for guessing this one. The Foxes were head and shoulders above all comers in 2013, galloping into the lead early in the season and never relinquishing their steely grip on the title. With Marcelo Oliveira favouring a daring, positive approach, Cruzeiro’s forwards – Éverton Ribeiro, Borges, Willian, Dagoberto, Ricardo Goulart – ran wild.

Their attacking stats speak for themselves: no side managed more than their 16.3 shots per game, while only the comparatively toothless São Paulo and Internacional managed more possession (54.5%).

Surprise Package: Atlético-PR

Goiás deserve an honourable mention, but the Hurricanes have this one wrapped up. Few expected Atlético to pull up trees on their return to the top flight, but Vágner Mancini coaxed some majestic performances from his players as they sealed qualification for the Libertadores.

Éderson (the division’s top scorer by some margin with 21 goals) and powerful defender Manoel both caught the eye, but the true star was Paulo Baier, who racked up ten goals, eight assists, and more than double the number of key passes than any of his team-mates (60). Not bad for a 39-year-old.

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Flop of the Year: Fluminense

Série A champions last season, Flu have been almost indescribably poor this time out. An injury to Fred early in the campaign proved a setback from which the Tricolor never recovered, with the side’s other strikers – the dogged Rafael Sóbis aside – simply unable to pick up the slack in front of goal.  Indeed, no other player netted more than 4 goals over the campaign.

Flu’s defence, meanwhile, turned to mush under pressure. They ended the season among the bottom five for both tackles per game (19.2) and interceptions per game (11.8). Even if they do avoid relegation on a technicality, this will go down as a year to forget.

League Focus: Brasileirão 2013 Season Review

The WhoScored 2013 Brasileirão Best XI

Cruzeiro are predictably well represented in the WhoScored team of the season. Midfielder Nílton impressed both going forward (seven goals) and as a destroyer, making 2.8 interceptions per game. Goalkeeper Fábio also had a fine season, as did reborn left-back Egídio. No defender in the league made more key passes than the latter’s 55.

Éverton Ribeiro, the tricky attacking midfielder who won the Player of the Year award in Brazil is also included. With 11 assists and 66 successful dribbles (both league highs) this season, it is no surprise that he is attracting interest from Europe.

Elsewhere there is recognition for Santos pair Cícero and Cicinho, who caught the eye with five assists and three man of the match awards. Meanwhile, São Paulo’s Rodrigo Caio managed a pass completion rate of almost 90% from as many as five different starting positions. Athletic midfielder Souza, meanwhile, protected the Grêmio backline with aplomb. Only ten players managed to dribble past him all season.

The strikeforce is made up of two strikers who were much maligned before this season. Rafael Marques put an awful 2012 behind him to lead the line for Botafogo, while Dinei netted a goal almost every other game (16 in 35 appearances) and won a stunning 198 aerial duels for overachievers Vitória.

Do you agree with WhoScored’s 2013 Brasileirão Best XI? Let us know in the comments below

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