Jamshedpur FC play NorthEast United at Indira Gandhi Stadium on Thursday, and the match seems to be a very evenly matched fixture. NorthEast, who came out on top in the nail-biting 4-3 finish against Chennaiyin FC have started the season with tremendous offence, while Jamshedpur has played a much more tactically stringent play, with structured defending, but failure to convert shots to goal have made the “Men of Steel” drop points in consecutive games.
NorthEast United have played the initial matches with almost the same squad, and given their form, no significant changes are expected. Ogbeche, with a hat-trick in the last game, will definitely start and the team will go with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Jamshedpur FC will hope to start Subrata Pal, who has been suspended since late last season to have solidity between the posts. Raju Gaikwad and Bikash Jairu are expected to come in for Gurung and Farukh Chawdhury while the remaining squad will probably be the same as their previous game against ATK.
NorthEast United expected line-up: Pawan, Komorski, Singh, Grgic, Lalthlamuana, Leudo, Gallego, Borges, Tlang, Kadam, Ogbeche
Jamshedpur FC expected line-up: Paul, Tiri, Gaikwad, Jairu, Yumnam, Arques, Mawihmingthanga, Cidoncha, Memo, Soosairaj, Cahill
Style of Play: Composure vs Attack
NorthEast United’s play reminds us of Liverpool’s approach to games last season with a very strong attack, but a shaky defence. Ogbeche has been phenomenal, with 4 goals in 3 games, while Grgic and Komorski have disappointed, especially in the game against Chennaiyin FC. Though they have been comparatively disciplined with fewer yellow cards, they have conceded more goals than Jamshedpur FC. Borges has been a great partner to the attack NorthEast has shown this year netting twice in the first three games.
Jamshedpur FC have followed a much more strategic approach, playing the game with short passes, moving the ball around the park, pulling the opposition’s defence upfield, stretching it and eventually sneaking into gaps to create chances. Arques has been ridiculously good for Jamshedpur FC with his presence, leading the assist table with 2 in 3 matches, with the third highest passes in the league at 217. Cidoncha, scoring the only goal for Jamshedpur against ATK, has impressed much more than their marquee signing Tim Cahill.
NorthEast will look to penetrate the wall created by Tiri and company with the 34-year old Nigerian leading their attack. What they need to do is keep the back chain intact, for Ferrando’s men work judiciously to find gaps and loopholes in the defence. Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, have to find a way out to make Cahill work out from the marking which is freezing him since the last 2 games. One solution might be to play Passi instead of the Australian, but, that would be too bold a step. So, even if Passi comes in, that would be as a substitute. Jamshedpur FC’s major shortcoming have been their lack of accuracy in shots. As a result, in spite of launching a series of attacks, the team has not been able to get too many goals from a match, as compared to NorthEast United FC.
If we have a look at both the teams’ statistics over the last three games, they seem to be quite evenly matched on paper. While Jamshedpur FC will look for precision in attack, NorthEast United will look for reinforcements at the back. However, the match is expected to be a 2-2 draw with a very narrow chance of the home team winning 2-1.