Next Friday, 26th of September 2014, Sporting CP will entertain their northern rivals of FC Porto, at Estádio José Alvalade for round six of the Portuguese league, on a match that both sides need to win if they do not want to let SL Benfica roam free at the top of the table.
The winds of change invaded the former European champions, FC Porto, over the Summer. The arrival of a new manager, former Spanish U21 boss Julen Lopetegui, definitely opened a new chapter on the history of the historical Portuguese club as he started a small revolution within the team. The Basque head coach brought in new ideas and started to change mentalities immediately. He also forced a surprising intake of Spanish players, something that has raised some suspicion among the supporters, who didn’t accept his decision of leaving the team’s most charismatic player, Ricardo Quaresma, on the bench for a great deal of matches so far this season.
Besides bringing in fifteen new players for the first team this Summer, Lopetegui is also implementing a new game style, based on 4-1-4-1 tactical approach, thus creating a fairly consistent alternative to FC Porto’s usual 4-3-3 that had characterized the team over the last decade.
FC Porto started off the new season at full speed and, besides granting a place at the UEFA Champions League group stage by leaving Lille OSC behind on the playoff round, they had only collected wins in the matches they took part until two weeks ago, when they failed to get anything better than a draw from their visit to Guimarães. As if losing two points against a surprising Vitória SC wasn’t enough, FC Porto slipped once again at home last weekend when they conceded a draw against their old rivals of Boavista at Estádio do Dragão.
As for Sporting CP, the departure of Leonardo Jardim to AS Monaco in the Summer opened the door to Marco Silva, a young manager that has achievement a great deal at the helm of Estoril and that has now the opportunity to make a stand leading the historical Lisbon side.
Although still undefeated at domestic competitions, Sporting CP started the new season on a slow pace, as they failed to grab a win from their visit to Coimbra against Académica. The Lions controlled almost the entire match, but a defensive mistake on the dying moments of the match cost them two points. Last weekend, Sporting obtained their most impressive win of the season at Barcelos by hammering the local Gil Vicente by 4-0, on a match where the newcomer Nani carried the team on his back for a rampant and well deserved win.
Sporting vs Porto Prediction
The match between these two historical sides of the Portuguese football is, without any doubt, the most important of the round and the outcome of these giants’ clash is quite unpredictable. FC Porto looks fairly more solid than Sporting CP back in defence as they have only allowed one goal so far this season, but their defensive effectiveness might not be enough for bringing the three points from Alvalade. Since there are no firm favourites for the match, and although the Lions are playing home, FC Porto might be able to snatch a narrow 1-0 win.
Sporting CP (4-3-3) – Rui Patricio – Cedric – Mauricio – Sarr – J. Silva – William Carvalho – Adrien Silva – João Mário – Nani – Capel – Slimani
FC Porto (4-1-4-1) – Fabiano – Danilo – Martins Indi – Marcano – Alex Sandro – Casemiro – Herrera – Evandro – Quaresma – Brahimi – Jackson
Sporting vs Porto Television
The Sporting vs Porto match will be televised on Univision Deportes, at 12:30 PM Pacific.