Sporting Clube de Portugal face a tough task away to Paços de Ferreira on Saturday evening to try and gain a first win in the league this season.
Paços have been a bogey team for Sporting in recent times managing to beat the Leões both home and away in the league last year. Indeed, Sporting’s last victory over Os Pacenses was back on the 13th September 2009 in which Liédson scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory. To make matters worse Sporting have failed to beat Paços away from Lisbon since a 0-1 victory on the 4th May 2008, with Yannick Djaló scoring on the day.
With FC Porto already 7 points clear over Sporting after only 3 matches played and 5 points behind Benfica. Although a win is not essential so early on in the season it’s still imperative that Sporting do not fall any further behind.
Jeffrén and Luis Aguiar will miss out on Saturday’s match, although the impressive Jeffrén is not too far away from a return. Matías Fernández does not travel with the squad although he is not too far away from fitness, whereas Bruno Pereirinha is does return to the side.
Perhaps the biggest news of Domingos Paciência’s squad that will travel to face Paços is the absence of captain Daniel Carriço meaning that the returning Alberto Rodríguez is likely to once again partner Ânderson Polga at the centre of defence with Oguchi Onyweu likely to be on the bench as back up.
New signings Emiliano Insúa and Elias could both make debuts. The international break will have helped Insúa settle in to his new club where as Elias was away on international duty with Brazil. Insúa in particular will be hopeful of a start after the poor early form of Evaldo Fabiano. Elias may have to settle for a place on the bench before he properly beds into life at Sporting.
With the departures of Yannick Djaló and Hélder Postiga there are two positions on the team now free that had previously been occupied in every game so far for Sporting. Upfront Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Valeri Bojinov and Diego Rubio will all fight out for the striking position. Marat Izmailov looks set to take up Yannick Djaló’s former position on the right hand side after his impressive early season form that has seen him find the net twice so far this season.
Possible SPORTING XI:
João Pereira – Alberto Rodríguez – Ânderson Polga – Emiliano Insúa
Fabián Rinaudo – André Santos
Marat Izmailov – Stijn Schaars – Diego Capel