Having played five times so far this season, Mumbai City have a pretty even record – two wins, two defeats, along with a solitary draw. This has only been enough for 7th spot in the ISL table, as the likes of FC Goa, Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United have stormed to the top, scoring goals and creating chances for fun. Goalscoring has been a problem for the Islanders so far, with only five goals to show so far, and they will be hoping that a visit to bottom side Chennaiyin FC will be the catalyst for an attacking performance.
What a turnaround in fortunes for the defending champions, who are now struggling to get points on the board. Indeed, they remain winless so far in this campaign, along with Delhi Dynamos and Pune City. Chennaiyin’s squad is unbalanced, with a lack of quality upfront along with an injury to their only defensive midfielder causing issues for John Gregory. While they have scored the same number of goals as Mumbai have – five, they have let in two more than the Islanders, and this lack of defensive solidity is a major reason for them propping up the rest of the division.
Costa to move away from conservatism?
Jorge Costa’s side have conceded eight goals, despite the Portuguese favouring a defensive, counter-attacking style of play. This may seem counterproductive, and a visit to Chennai is the perfect opportunity to let the shackles off. Mumbai City need to start creating more chances as well, having had only 19 shots on target across five games – a desperately poor return. The Islanders’ poor form on the road is also a concern – they have done decently at home but their away form may end up costing them a place in the playoffs.
Gregory’s defensive issues
During the title-winning campaign, Chennaiyin were renowned for their defensive prowess, but this has deserted them this season. The presence of Spanish veteran Inigo Calderon has not improved matters, and while Gregory struck an upbeat tone at the pre-match press conference, he needs more than positive thoughts to turn this ship around. The Marina Machans have previous in this regard though – they were bottom of the table in 2015 under Marco Materazzi before roaring to the title, and the Englishman will be looking to emulate his Italian predecessor, starting with a win at home to Mumbai City.
Chennaiyin FC (4-2-3-1): Karanjit; Fernandes, Calderon, Sabia, Jerry; Augusto, Thapa; Thoi, Isaac, Orlandi; Jeje
Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Amrinder; Chakraborty; Goian, Lourenco, Bose; Sehnaj, Milan; Issoko, Machado, Bastos; Sougou
John Gregory may field most of the side which narrowly lost to ATK last time out, with the only change coming upfront where Jeje may return in place of Carlos Salom. The Palestinian did grab a goal against ATK, so there is a possibility of him remaining in the side.
Arnold Issoko has been the spark for Mumbai City over the last couple of games and will look to continue his impressive form against Chennaiyin. Elsewhere, Amrinder Singh looks to be fit enough to return between the sticks, while Milan Singh may continue to anchor midfield alongside Sehnaj Singh.
Chennaiyin have looked woefully out of sorts in defence, and Mumbai will probably have enough firepower to come away with a win. I am going for a 2-1 away win for the Islanders in this fixture.