Tag Archives: Alex

Corona and Zúñiga on FC Porto’s radar

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It looks as if Pinto da Costa will once again reach into his tailored suit pocket for his cheque book, after recent reports linking both Jesús Corona and Camilo Zúñiga to the Estádio do Dragão.

Both players would bolster the winger and full-back positions, respectively, areas that having a dearth in terms of quality options, with Tello and Hernâni, as well as Cissokho, José Ángel and Ricardo Pereira, leaving a lot to be desired.

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Alex Sandro reportedly on his way to Juventus

Brazilian left-back Alex Sandro is poised to trade the blue and white of Futebol Clube de Porto for the white and black of Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus after four years in the north of Portugal, making 86 appearances and scoring 5 goals in the process.

Reportedly rejecting offers from the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid to move to Turin, reports in both Italy and Portugal suggest that the 24-year-old will move to La Vecchia Signora after another solid season at the Estádio do Dragão (click here for a compilation of Alex Sandro’s 2014/15 season).

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Primeira Liga Week 1: FC Porto dominate in convincing win over Vitória de Guimarães

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Photo: gettyimages (Carlos Rodrigues)

Futebol Clube do Porto kicked off their 2015/16 season in the best way possible on Saturday night, trouncing Minho giant Vitória de Guimarães 3-0 in front of a near-capacity crowd. A brace from Cameroonian young starlet Vincent Aboubakar would prove doubters wrong after a frustrating preseason in front of goal, as the name Jackson Martinez looks to become a distant memory.

FC Porto dominated most of the match against Armando Evangelista’s largely inoffensive Vitória, with Maxi Pereira and Giannelli Imbula enjoying fine debuts, producing sumptuous assists for the 2nd and 3rd goals. Silvestre Varela also impressed on his return to the Dragão, netting a fine effort to complete the rout.

Click here for match highlights

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2015/16 Season Preview V: Final League Prediction

Hat trick of championships for Porto

Final league prediction

1st.

There is no reason that Futebol Clube do Porto will not finish first. On paper, they not only have the superior eleven, but also the strongest squad, and, in this writer’s opinion, one with greater depth and quality than last season.

Massive overhauls and changes in personnel, as well as the managerial go-around that is Portuguese football, has seen Benfica and Sporting, as well as Braga and Guimaraes, with a lot of work to do.

Porto are more settled, have recruited well with a superfluity of options in every position. Quality football and trophies will be at a premium this season.

2015/16 Season Preview IV: Tactical Preview and Starting Eleven

FC Porto coach Julen Lopetegui says his side must be at their best to reach the Champions League semifinals.

What has Lopetegui learnt from last season?

After a season that many argued was taken lightly by Julen Lopetegui, with Jorge Jesus’ Benfica coming out on top in both editions of O Classico; Porto barely made a whimper of contention when it counted in a title race that many expected them to take by the scruff of the neck.

Lopetegui has looked to emulate a game reminiscent of Barcelona’s Tiki Taka: a high possession, high pressure game. The latter is an area that has been carped by pundits and analysts, as Casemiro’s ineptitude as the sole midfield anchor and Herrera’s dearth defensively as the No. 8 were highlighted.

What we can expect this season

In this way, the side’s structure has been experimented with this preseason, specifically in the centre of the pitch. Investment in a host of names, whose defensive aptitude either as a No. 6 or ball carrying No. 8, in the form of André André, Sergio Oliveira, Danilo Pereira and Giannelli Imbula has seen Lopetegui experiment with a 4-2-3-1/4-2-1-3 against the likes of Valencia and Stoke City, amongst others.

By the same token, the likes of Brahimi and Tello, who are expected to start on the flanks, would be given greater freedom, as well both Hector Herrera and Alberto Bueno, with the latter pinned to play as Lopetegui’s No. 10 or centre-forward behind the striker.

This move towards a midfield base of two deeper lying midfielders would almost certainly include Imbula, who has mostly featured as No.8 in midfield with a tendency to play close to the No.6, although with Herrera back in the fold, could find himself at Porto’s definitive midfield lynchpin.

Nevertheless, a system with two more defensive-minded midfielders would likely be implemented against stronger opposition, both domestically and in Europe, as Lopetegui lacked a Plan B last season. His atypical 4-3-3 should feature predominately, although with a greater defensive base than last season.

Tripeiro Nation’s 2015/16 FC Porto Predicted Starting 11:

Tactics

2015/16 Season Preview III: Season Review and Danger Men

Profile – FC Porto’s New Dynamic Midfielder: Gianelli Imbula

How Porto finished last season

Porto finished in 2nd place for a consecutive season as Benfica triumphed again, a feat that had not been achieved in over 30 years. A strong showing in the UEFA Champions League, where the Dragons went undefeated before falling to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals, remunerated domestic shortfalls after being knocked out early in the Taça de Portugal and falling to Marítimo in the semi-finals of the Taça da Liga (League Cup).

Having arguably lost their three best performers last season in the form of Jackson Martinez, Oliver Torres and Danilo, Porto will expectedly undergo a period of transition in the early season. Nevertheless, adept signings and needed depth in all positons, particularly in midfield, has placed them as firm favorites for the title and a strong European campaign with Lopetegui being one season the wiser.

 

Porto’s danger men this season

Arguably, Porto’s difference maker this season could well be Giannelli Imbula. With Casemiro and Herrera struggling last season to stamp his authority defensively, the tools that the Frenchman brings to the table, either at the No.6 or No.8, must not be taken for granted.

The striker is the one player who can turn an imminent defeat into three-points at the bat of an eyelid. Jackson Martinez was that player, and with his exit Lopetegui has looked to his replacement, and a number of names have been mentioned. Vincent Aboubakar, Pablo Dani Osvaldo and André Silva are all in contention, granting that the former two lead the race for the No.9 spot. Whoever takes the Colombian’s mantle will arguably make or break Porto’s title credentials.

Last season’s revelation, Yacine Brahimi (albeit mostly limited to Europe), will provide goals, assists and a threat from any dead ball situation. Captain and Porto mainstay Maicon will need to build on last season’s defensive fragilities as he leads the back four; alongside Iker Casillas, whose undoubted experience on the big stage could make the difference in the big ties that saw Fabiano play the proverbial deer in headlights.

2015/16 Season Preview II: Transfer Rumors and Young Talent

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Transfer rumors

Porto has already dipped into the transfer market extensively, having already covered the departures of some big names. If there was a position of fragility, whether it is in terms of personnel or depth, it would have to be at the No. 10 position.

Although traditionally a striker or centre-forward, Alberto Bueno has been drafted in as Porto’s ‘creative outlet.’ Looking the part in preseason, the Spaniard looks largely undisputed, with a dearth of talent who are apt at the No. 10 role.

Irrespective of that, the likes of Oliver Torres, Lucas Lima, Bernard and Braga’s Rafa have all been targeted as contenders, although a move looks unlikely for all of them.

Congruently, with the centre of defense a problematic area last season, Os Dragões may look to strengthen their options at centre-half. With Martins Indi yet to impress having lost his starting spot to Marcano, and Lichnovsky the only other option aside from the Dutch international.

Stuttgart centre-back Antonio Rüdiger had been mentioned as a possible reinforcement after speculation surrounding Maicon’s exit to Fenerbahçe, in light of Diego Reyes and Adboulaye Ba’s moves abroad on loan. Any talk of a tranfer for the 22-year-old German international has disspiated, with Simon Kjaer’s move to the Turkish giants assuring Maicon will stay put as Porto’s skipper, although a move for his potential partner in the centre of defence is not out of the question.

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Young talents with a shot this season

Porto’s golden boy and fan favorite Ruben Neves will be looking to build on a successful last campaign where he featured predominately off the bench. A dream debut where he scored his first goal for Os Dragões, the Olival graduate’s path to the starting eleven was blocked by Casemiro. The likes of Danilo Pereira, Imbula and André André will provide even stiffer competition, but Neves has already earmarked by Lopetegui as a crucial squad member and contender for the No. 6 spot.

Congruently, U20 FIFA World Cup superstar and cited future Portugal No. 9 André Silva has impressed, scoring a brace in preseason having been picked ahead of Gonçalo Paciência who’s been loaned out to Académica de Coimbra. Also, Chilean youngster Igor Lichnovsky will have his opportunities as Porto’s 4th choice centre-back after Diego Reyes was loaned out to Real Sociedad.