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Alessandro is part of a defensive system that has underperformed this year
Last year, Corinthians managed to become Libertadores champions by only allowing four goals in the entire tournament.
No, one goal in one game is not cause for alarm. But how about seven goals in four games? Ah, now I have your attention, right?
The three main causes for Corinthians' woes are simpler than fans would initially think, but also harder to fix.
Firstly, it is undeniable that Corinthians' back line is slower, especially the outside backs. Its captain, Alessandro, is 34 and Fabio Santos is 27.
Most of the goals scored against Corinthians have been off their outside defenders' backs. In fact, this is a recurring theme from last year, too.
However, there is one enormous difference now: the club from Sao Paulo then featured Leandro Castan, a quick defender with long strides that could overcome his outside backs' lack of speed and cover the space behind them. Newcomer Gil and replacement Paulo Andre have not been nearly as successful at that.
Second, they are missing the presence of Chicao, who has been out all year with a ruptured ligament in his right knee. He and Paulo Andre had some nice chemistry going since Castan's departure from the Parque Sao Jorge. They played all of the Brasileirao together and conquered the 2012 Club World Cup together.
Gil and Paulo Andre, however, don't understand their responsibilities at different positions, the two "knock heads" constantly on the pitch.
Finally, the keeper Cassio is not having a career year. Clearly, not every goal is the goalie's fault (Cassio could do nothing to stop San Jose's goal), but he has been a lot less reliable and secure than last year.
For the record, watch San Jose's goal again. Notice how Paulo Andre and Gil aren't guarding anyone and are occupying practically the same space. The cross comes from the area Alessandro should have been guarding. Salcedo, the scorer, was guarded instead by Fabio Santos.
Very interesting, no?