Sao Paulo v Botafogo match preview
Sao Paulo host Botafogo on Sunday, with both teams looking for a vital win in their bid for a Libertadores spot. The home side will be hoping to inflict a second defeat of the season on Botafogo, having beaten their opponents 4-3 in the reverse fixture back in July. Infogol’s Analyst previews the game, using underlying expected goals stats to produce the best bets.
Sao Paulo come into this match on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Gremio, a costly result in their bid for a Libertadores spot, and a final score that didn’t reflect the evenness of the match. Both sides created just shy of 1xG, so a draw would have been a fairer result.
On the flip-side, Sao Paulo were fortunate to escape with a point against Vasco de Game three days earlier, the 1-1 scoreline not doing justice to Vasco’s superiority (1.68xG-0.27xG).
Both of those recent matches were away from home, however, and Sao Paolo should be more of a threat now back on home soil; they have lost only two of their 17 league matches at the stádio Nilton Santos this season, and have created a total of 6.58xG in their last four matches there and are a much more potent team at home.
Another positive is that, despite having nine-goal midfielder Hernanes in the side, Sao Paulo have shared the goals around of late, with six different scorers hitting the net in their last six games.
Botafogo have scored exactly the same number of goals on their travels as they have conceded – 15 –and they were fortunate to come away with all three points at Sport Recife. The game finished 2-1 to Jair Ventura’s side, however their opponents created 0.39 more xG (1.48 compared to 1.09) and were unlucky to get nothing out of the match.
That result, however, means that Botafogo have picked up five points from their last three away matches, perhaps part of the reason why they sit a handful of places above Sao Paulo in the league table.
Botafogo have struggled to create chances over the past couple of months, only creating more than 1.5xG twice since the start of October, though they have been unlucky to lose their two home games over the past week, limiting their opponents to few high-quality chances in 1-0 and 2-1 defeats, to Atletico GO and Atletico Paranaense, respectively.
Botafogo have been a little unfortunate of late, and pose a threat to Sao Paulo given their good recent away record. However, Sao Paulo create plenty of chances at home and should prove too strong. They tend to share the goals around and can win a close match in which both teams are fancied to find the net.
Sao Paulo to win and both teams to score @ 3/1