New Gremio boss Renato Gaúcho has had a positive effect on his players, guiding them to 3 wins from 4 in the league since taking charge last month and a good win over Palmeiras in the cup. His main achievement has been to improve them defensively as they were really poor in that regard for a while, particularly away from home. However we perhaps shouldn’t get too carried away by their transformation. Their league victories have all been gritty 1-0 wins against sides lower than them in the league and a trip to Santos will be his first major test and it’s one where they are likely to come unstuck.
Santos are a formidable force at home and should come into this game in good spirits following a rare away win at local rivals Sao Paulo in midweek. Estádio Urbano Caldeira has been a very difficult place for visiting teams to go for some time now. Santos have collected 2.47 points per home game on average this season, a record only one team can better. They’ve won 80% of their games on home soil in the league and with Gremio really struggling on the road for most of the campaign, they should be able to improve on that already excellent percentage here.
Gremio had lost 5 league away games in a row prior to a 1-0 win at struggling Vitoria in midweek. Santos will pose far greater threat than them though and they have won 6 of their last 7 games to get themselves back to within 7 points of leaders Palmeiras. That may well still prove too great a gap to close at this stage in the season but with little pressure on them from below, Santos have absolutely no reason not to go all out for 3 points here.
Their good form and strong home records suggests they will get it, so consider backing Santos to Win at 17/20.
Head To Head
Gremio have won the last 3 meetings including a 3-2 home win earlier this season and a 3-1 win at Santos last term.
Gremio have lost 53% of their league away games this term. Santos have only dropped points 3 times at home and have won their last 4 home games.
Luiz Felipe is out due to suspension. Gustavo Henrique is also struggling so they could be a bit light in the heart of defence. Vitor Bueno is still out injured.
Gremio are expected to name the same team that won at Vitoria. Marcelo Grohe is the only injury absentee.