NEUTD FC vs. CHE FC Preview

Will The Highlanders Continue their Home Form?

Chennaiyin FC will be making what is one of the longest road trips in the Indian Super League as they travel from Chennai to Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium to take on NorthEast United or NEUTD FC. The match is expected to be one of the most entertaining in the league simply because the last year’s champions are visiting this year’s most in-form team and the league leaders.

NEUTD FC’s Form & Strategy

emiliano-alfaro-neutd-fcAnalysing NorthEast United FC’s performance so far in the league, an argument can be made in favour of the connection between consistency with respect to team formation and results. The Highlanders have turned out in the same formation with virtually the same players in nearly every single game.

Nelo Vingada’s NEUTD FC has done a lot of things right this season which is why they sit pretty on top of the pile. They happen to be the team with the most shots on target in the league. More importantly, they’ve converted a lot of those shots too since they’re the highest goal scorers and highest assist makers in the league.

This great team performance is the direct fallout of great individual performances. The highlight of these performances has been Emiliano Alfaro’s goal scoring. Alfaro has scored four goals in five games, the highest in the league. Like his team, he also has the most shots on target in the league.

It’s not all offence from The Highlanders either. Their goalkeeper, Subrata Paul, is easily the best in the league. He has the most clean sheets (3) and the most saves (24). The problem, however, is that for their keeper to have saved so many shots, NEUTD FC’s defenders would’ve had to let opponents take those shots.

Chennaiyin FC’s Form & Strategy

manuele-blasi-che-fcThis could be something that Chennaiyin FC will look to leverage, especially since their attacking game has gradually become better as the league has gone on. While the improvement in The Super Machans’ attacking gameplay isn’t evident with their results (one win in last three), it has been visible in the games. They just have to ensure that they improve their conversion.

The Super Machans are actually well placed in the league and their current position of sixth is actually quite deceptive. The reason is that Chennaiyin FC has two games in hand over the league leaders. If they win those two games, then they’ll be tied on 10 points with NEUTD FC at the top of the league table.

Chennaiyin FC doesn’t really have a steady line-up or formation but the size of its players is notable. The Super Machans have some big players who could pose The Highlanders’ diminutiveness some problems.

Marco Materazzi, FIFA World Cup Winner (2006), UEFA Champions League Winner (Inter Milan-2009), and five-time Italian Serie A Winner (Inter Milan), has plenty of experience as a player that he has been translating into his managerial career.

A notable example of this was how Materazzi changed his defence in the last game after conceding too many goals in preceding matches. He brought in a defensive midfielder to sit in front of his back four and cover the passing lanes. NEUTD FC can expect Materazzi to employ the same strategy and tactics.

Which Way Will R2D2 Roll?

Despite the recent resurgence of Chennaiyin FC, our prediction is a NorthEast United FC win. The Highlanders can be expected to prevail over The Super Machans by one goal to nil. We are making this prediction after considering the physical upper hand of CHE FC players over NEUTD FC players.

NorthEast United FC has already navigated a tricky tie against another physical team of the league FC Pune City and should be able to deal with Chennaiyin FC’s physicality. More importantly, NEUTD FC has performed well at home till now, beating Kerala Blasters FC and FC Goa comprehensively.

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Delhi Dynamos FC vs. Mumbai City FC Preview

Reeling Mumbai City FC Visit the Capital

India’s capital is all set to see a match between two hard hitters of the Indian Super League as Mumbai City FC visit Delhi Dynamos FC. Delhi Dynamos is one of only two unbeaten teams in the league while Mumbai City FC when fully fit, has played some of the most attractive football in the league.

Delhi Dynamos FC’s Form & Strategy

gianluca-zambrotta-delhi-dynamos-fcThe fact that Delhi Dynamos or The Lions are unbeaten in the league means that their form going into this match is good. They’ve drawn two and won one of their last three games. Notably, in the last game, Delhi Dynamos FC stood toe to toe with the league leaders and the most in-form team in the league, NorthEast United FC. The only reason The Lions lost that game was a mistake from Ruben Rocha. Rocha has been a rock for Delhi in all their games up until he was dispossessed near his goal.

Delhi Dynamos FC also happens to be one of the most consistent teams in the league when it comes to formations. Their high-profile manager, Gianluca Zambrotta, uses the 4-1-4-1 attacking formation. Moreover, Zambrotta doesn’t even like to change his starting eleven, unless forced by fitness issues. In each of the last three matches, his midfield consisted of one playmaker and no less than two wide forwards.

Zambrotta likes to start Florent Malouda, Delhi’s marquee player, in alternate games due to his fitness limitations. Malouda has the pedigree as he’s a four-time French Ligue 1 winner, one time English Premier League winner, and one-time UEFA Champions League winner. Despite the fact that Delhi Dynamos rely on wing play a lot, Malouda (a former France international winger) is deployed in the midfield playmaker position. Zambrotta, incidentally, is a World Cup Winner with Italy and has an amazing 98 international caps.

Mumbai City FC’s Form & Strategy

alexandre-guimares-mumbai-city-fcThe Stallions come into this match against The Lions off a shocking defeat. Mumbai City FC’s first two games in the league were near perfect. In contrast, their last two games have been disappointing. MCFC self-destructed against Atletico De Kolkata through a red card and played like listless zombies in their last loss to the previously woeful Kerala Blasters FC.

In the last game, neither could Mumbai City FC find their attacking touch nor could they discover any kind of defensive cohesion. The Stallions’ combination play, movement, and passing were depressing, to say the least as they kept turning over the ball throughout the game. The 1 – 0 score line in favour of Kerala Blasters FC was flattering for Mumbai City FC who could’ve actually lost by 3 or even 4 goals.

Mumbai City FC’s poor performance can be attributed to their coach’s penchant for tinkering with his team. He has a tendency to keep changing his formations, which prevents his players from gelling. It almost seems like he’s trying to find the right combination of tactics and players in live matches. To be fair to him, he did lose his marquee player Diego Forlan two games into the season and has to compensate since. Forlan is expected to be out for this game as well which doesn’t bode well for Mumbai City FC.

How Will The Dream Totem Fall?

Logic states that Delhi Dynamos FC is better placed for this game than Mumbai City FC. The Lions will have their marquee player and are more coherent in their setup. In contrast, The Stallions neither have their star man nor their confidence. Further, their manager insists on chopping and changing team shape, team style of play, and even personnel.

In simple words, Mumbai City FC is unstable while Delhi Dynamos FC is stable. The winning team, for us, is clear in this game. We predict a win for Delhi Dynamos FC with a score line of 2 – 1 because even an unstable Mumbai City FC is capable of scoring one goal.

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Chennaiyin FC vs. FC Goa Review

Chennaiyin FC Beat FC Goa with a Gloriously Professional Performance

This was a game billed to be one of the best of the season simply because it was between the last year’s finalists. Moreover, the game was expected to be good because both Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa have been sucking lately. It’s not just basic sucking but instead heavy duty sucking. Before the game began, between the two teams there was only one point. That means that they had played two games each and Chennaiyin FC had one point while FC Goa had none.

The game was a tame affair that was managed handsomely well by Chennaiyin FC. Chennaiyin FC took the lead early in the first half and then doubled their lead mid-way through the half. As well as Chennaiyin FC played, FC Goa was also toothless and impotent.

Team News for Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa

sahil-tavora-fc-goaThe surprise in team news came from Chennaiyin FC who made no less than five different changes in this game. Most of the changes made by Marco Materazzi were aimed at fixing his team’s suffering defence. He replaced the last game’s goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr with the Indian Karanjit Singh and then topped that by bringing in Eli Sabia and Jerry Lalrinzuala for Bernard Mendy and Nallappan Mohanraj respectively.

The Chennaiyin FC midfield was also shuffled around as MacPherlin Dudu Omagbemi was replaced by Manuele Blasi and Jeje Lalpekhlua was switched out for the incoming Davide Succi. That’s a massive number of changes for a football, regardless of whether you consider Real Madrid or Chennaiyin FC. I felt those changes would have a major say in the game, whether on the positive side or negative side.

FC Goa, in contrast to the reigning champions, made only two changes. They brought in Sahil Tavora and Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliveira for Richarlyson Felisbino and Mandar Rao Dessai, respectively. The key for FC Goa, as is obvious, is to keep Laxmikanth Kattimani or Lucio from making mistakes. Both have contributed to their team’s defeats in the past.

Chennaiyin FC Start Well and Reap Dividends

The first half of the game began with a penalty claim for FC Goa. The penalty claim came when a Gaur player took a tumble in the Chennaiyin FC box on a fair tackle. However, there wasn’t enough contact and the penalty was rightly denied.

The initial period of the first half was full of turnovers from both teams. It was almost as if both teams were on a date with each other and didn’t know what to say on account of being only 16-year old. No, I haven’t faced such a situation. In case you’re interested, my problem has always been talking too much when faced with nervousness.

Chennaiyin FC showed more creativity and looked the more likely to score. This is why it wasn’t a surprise when they did with a sweet, sweet shot from Hans Mulder. He took on a short but smart pass outside the FC Goa box and struck an orgasmic shot straight into the far corner. It wasn’t a powerful shot. It wasn’t a wallop. Instead, it was almost a caress of a shot. Chennaiyin FC 1 – 0 FC Goa

Chennaiyin FC Pile On the Misery

mehrajuddin-wadoo-chennaiyin-fcConceding the opening goal almost took the stuffing out of FC Goa and their game became as limp as a…erm… 16-year-old watching an old Bollywood film from the 1970s with his parents.

The worst bit was just when they tried to show some confidence and determination, an old, sad, and dull Bollywood song showed up to really knock them off their feet. You see, Chennaiyin FC doubled their lead with what was an incredibly fortuitous goal from Mehrajuddin Wadoo.

It was a hopeful cross cum shot from the edge of the box that was headed into the ground by Rafael Dumas. Unfortunately, the headed deflected popped up off the ground and into the net with speed leaving Kattimani no chance whatsoever. Chennaiyin FC 2 – 0 FC Goa.

For the rest of the first half, FC Goa tried to halve the deficit half-heartedly. They needed more passion, verve, and drive to do so but there was none to be found.

FC Goa Get Managed by Chennaiyin FC

hans-mulder-chennaiyin-fcThe second half didn’t start well for FC Goa as they had to replace Lucio with Felisbino. The removal of Lucio meant that Balmuchu was moved into defence while Felisbino slotted into the Gaur midfield.

With respect to the gameplay, Chennaiyin FC managed the entire second half very well. They not only kept FC Goa at an arm’s length throughout the second half (there was no real chance for the Gaurs) but also countered at just the right moment. Even though Chennaiyin FC didn’t score the third goal, they looked the more likely of the two teams to score.

Chennaiyin FC’s cause was helped by Zico’s decision to not bring Romeo Fernandes on up until the 76th minute. It made no sense whatsoever to keep their most offensively proficient player on the bench so long, especially since FC Goa needed to score. In a nutshell, there’s no doubt about the fact that FC Goa deserved to lose.

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