There’s a somewhat familiar feel about Jamshedpur this season. If you exclude their opening game against Mumbai, it’s rather spooky how similar it is. Last year, under Steve Coppell’s tutelage, Jamshedpur drew their opening three games. This year, under Cesar Ferrando, they beat Mumbai on the opening day but have then gone on to draw their next four. Most recently, they threw away a two-goal lead at home to Kerala Blasters and is often the case in the Indian Super League, both of the goals were preventable. Rather than looking into how they conceded those two goals, we will focus on other elements of their games so far and how it will have a bearing on today’s clash against FC Goa.

Much like their opponents, FC Goa have replicated their start to last season. At this point last year, after four games played, Sergio Lobera’s side had scored 13 goals. This year? 14 goals. That’s right, they’ve actually improved on their start last year which is incredible to think. Perhaps most worryingly for Jamshedpur, in game five last year, FC Goa won 5-1 away at Delhi Dynamos. It poses an interesting question to Ferrando and Jamshedpur on the whole, do they try and limit FC Goa or try and play their own game?

Troubles At Home?

Again, looking at the comparisons with last year, Jamshedpur have not yet won at home. It took them until their fifth game, which came against Kerala Blasters, for the ‘Men of Steel’ to get their first ever win at The Furnace. Today sees their third game at home in ISL V and if we’re frank, it’s going to be a struggle for Jamshedpur to get the three points against the rampant Gaurs. One advantage for Cesar Ferrando & Co is that Coro is suspended, although to win the game, Jamshedpur will still have to outscore the rest of Goa’s attacking talent. The problem with that is they’re not creating enough. Case in point, their xG from their two home games so far.  

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Jamshedpur struggled to create many chances of note against ATK.

When they opened their campaign at home to ATK, there was a sense of optimism around the club. New head coach and a team that is set up to score goals rather than not ship them as was the case under Coppell. As is evidenced by the above xG map, Jamshedpur didn’t create enough on that day. ATK did a valiant job at restricting them, on the whole, to shots from outside the area. In the end, it took a wicked free-kick from Cidoncha to get Jamshedpur their goal. An expected xG of 0.97 was nothing compared to what followed recently against the Blasters.

Defying The xG Model

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Just the seven attempts for the ‘Men of Steel’ last time out against Kerala Blasters.

Despite scoring twice against Kerala, Jamshedpur’s xG from the game remained under a single goal. Hell, it was only just over half a goal. 0.56, to be precise. As you can see, Soosairaj’s (#4) goal yielded a whopping 0.02 on the xG scale – that’s mainly to do with the position the shot was taken from and some rather questionable marking from James’ side. What does this all tell us, though? Well, for starters, Jamshedpur aren’t creating nearly enough from open play as all three of their home goals have come directly or indirectly from set pieces this season.  

It’s not an easy problem for Ferrando to solve, nevertheless, keeping players like Bikash Jairu and Jerry benched isn’t helping matters. Maybe look at mixing things up, potentially look at bringing Cahill into the number ten role and taking things from there? If you’ve got him winning the flick-ons and people like Jerry running in behind, they could have a field day. Food for thought, indeed.

Goa Are In The Goals

Make no mistake about it, FC Goa have picked up right where they left off last season. There’s a rather frightening ruthlessness about them this season, which makes them all the more dangerous. In contrast to today’s opponents, they average well over two goals per game when looking at the xG model. Away from home, however, they are yet to really find their mojo. Lobera’s side were pegged back by a valiant NorthEast United on the opening day of the season and some would argue that they were fortunate to come away with a point in what was a real game of two halves. Saying that, they improved in their following away game in Chennai as they blew the defending champions away. Let’s start with the NorthEast game.

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Lobera’s side had the lion’s share of the play, but weren’t very productive.

NorthEast took the lead before two relatively quick goals put FC Goa back in the driving seat. They controlled the ball after the interval but failed to really trouble NorthEast’s back line and as I said earlier, they were a tad fortunate to finish with a point. If they’d lost with that amount of possession, you can imagine heads would have rolled. Credit where it’s due though, Schattorie switched NorthEast’s system around ever so slightly and that played a big part in the second half, also.

No Such Issues Against The Champions

From the word go in Chennaiyin, you could tell that there was only going to be one winner. There’s just something about the way that Lobera has his side set up that oozes class and with other coaches in the league trying to replicate the way they’re playing, he must be doing something right. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, one of the integral cogs of this side is Ahmed Jahouh. Looking at the pass map from the Chennai game, it could not be more magnified.

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This particular picture tells its own story.

It’s almost as if a toddler has got hold of a pencil and just scribbled like mad between Jahouh (#5), Lenny (#24) and Edu Bedia (#23). Lobera will have undoubtedly learned a lot last year and if he can keep Jahouh fit, FC Goa are going to be a tough, tough team to stop this year.

Team News

There’s not much to report here, the only debate is who will replace Coro. Manvir Singh looks like the best bet, although I wouldn’t rule out Lobera trying something like Boumous playing as false number nine and Jamshedpur not being able to decide who is picking up who. It has the potential to be pure, unadulterated carnage. And if you don’t like that on a Thursday, what on earth are you even doing watching the ISL?!

One More Thing

I was on the money with the NorthEast prediction vs Delhi and I’m going to say with total conviction that I fully expect FC Goa to trounce Jamshedpur. They are even money with Bet365 which means that if you put the house deposit on them, you can then buy two houses! Or none. Swings and roundabouts.

Until the next time.