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
The 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
The 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.
Well folks, I get a chance to do a preview today. I don’t only have a chance but, “by golly, I’m actually gonna do it! Goes to show, what a single email from a reader can do.
In any case, let’s get onto the review. This one’s for the match between FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC, as if you didn’t know that (a forehead slapping moment that). Yesterday, fate gave Kerala Blasters FC to prove me wrong in my early season prediction but they were found wanting. A good deal of the season is left, so they’ll have more of a chance.
FC Pune City to Win!
Today, it’s the turn of Delhi Dynamos FC to prove me wrong. They’ve won one and lost one. Their win against Chennaiyin FC was scrappy and not all that flattering to say the least. They can really underscore their presence in the Indian Super League 2015 season with a win today. It would take them to the third spot on the table you see.
On the other side, FC Pune City have a chance to go top which I think they will. This is also a game in which I have a feeling that they’ll truly let lose their attacking football.
I like how FC Pune City plays too in comparison to Delhi Dynamos FC’s game. Delhi Dynamos FC, forgive me citymates, play like a team in dire straits. FC Pune City’s game is all about possession and that kind of game I really, really like. For this reason, I predict a win for FC Pune City by two goals to none!
I’m keeping this preview short and sweet. In my defence, at least, I got here.
This is the second half the Indian Super League 2015 preview. In the last instalment, I gave my opinion of how Atletico De Kolkata, Kerala Blasters FC, Chennaiyin FC, and FC Goa have prepared for ISL2. My focus was on the backroom (senior management) staff and their efforts because they seem to always escape attention. However, it is the senior management that is mostly responsible for getting in new players, getting the existing players to sign contracts, and even improving the training facilities.
I grant you naysayers that the system on which the Indian Super League is built isn’t all that “senior management” focused but that doesn’t mean that those rich blokes can sit on their arse and do nothing. They have to be active during the off season in getting in new international players and re-signing the players that their managers have pinpointed as must-have.
Mumbai City FC Will Be One Of The Most Improved Teams And Should Reach Playoffs
Be afraid; be very afraid of what Mumbai City FC can do this season. MCFC fans must be licking their lips at the prospect of seeing this team out in the field. I think what Nicolas Anelka has done with this team in his managerial capacity is nothing than brilliant.
The choice of his signings as well as the kind of signings he has made show that The Great Sulk has it when it comes to management. For instance, Anelka has focused on high quality attackers and looked for consistent defenders. His team’s attack force is being lauded in the mainstream media and rightly so. He’s got some real talent on the attacking front and what’s scary is that all of them won’t even be able to enter the field at the same time.
Consider the fact that Anelka can line up Frederic Piquionne, Sunil Chhetri, Andre Moritz, and Sony Norde on a single pitch, if he chose to overload his attack. Of these, the only player I am not sure of is Frederic Piquionne. I wasn’t sure of his abilities when he was in the peak of his years and now that he’s 36 years old, I am even more sceptical. Sunil Chhetri needs no introduction to any Indian football fan but I will point out that he will most probably not play MCFC’s first two games on account of his national team hero’s doodies. The same goes for Andre Moritz and Sony Norde with the latter lighting up last year’s I-League with 13 assists and nine goals.
Anelka’s decision to go for consistent defenders from lower European leagues is a stroke of genius too. Defending is only an art form at really higher levels.
At lower level football, defending is more about being in the right place consistently which is a result of good physical fitness and decision making.
I think with the defenders Anelka will rely on like Darren O’Dea (a former Bhoy), Frantz Bertin (a good, mobile defender), and Cmovs (we know what he can do already) will be more than capable of blunting most other teams’ attacks this season. This list doesn’t even include Juan Aguilera Nunez and Selim Benachour, both of whom are capable of dribbling, passing, and creating chances from midfield.
All this adds up to one thing and one thing alone. I predict Mumbai City FC to have a great Indian Super League 2015 season. Whichever way you look at it, MCFC fans should get ready to party in the coming three months of the Indian Super League 2015.
FC Pune City Can Click Or Miss In the Indian Super League 2015 Season
FC Pune City is a mystery. Their chances in the Indian Super League 2015 season are in flux. The situation of FC Pune City is such that their fans will be feeling incredibly positive while their detractors will be rubbing their palms in glee too. The reason why I feel that FC Pune City’s fate is too hard to call is that there are too many uncertain variables involved.
For instance, take their manager, David Platt. Platt was a good man to bank on in his playing days but his managerial career has neither been stellar nor abysmal. He has cruised through his managerial career almost ambivalently. He could make all the difference in the case of FC Pune City or he could get trapped in mediocrity.
FC Pune City’s marquee player is Adrian Mutu and he is travelling in the same boat. At his peak, Mutu was a star performer. He had the talent, pace, power, and skill to take apart any defence but he got taken apart by his penchant for drugs. I’ll be frank: I liked Mutu even though he played for Chelsea before he actually got caught with drugs in his system.
Following double bans, Mutu’s career dove into oblivion in a blur. He could continue his bad boy attitude or turn it around with FC Pune City in the Indian Super League 2015 season. To be fair to Mutu, he does have noble intentions this time around. He has come out and said that he hopes to make the Euro 2016 if Romania qualifies. Apparently, his manager has told him that if he plays well, then he’ll be considered for the trip to France.
That’s enough incentive for any professional footballer. It is doubly so for one who has thrown away his whole career for entertainment, indulgence, and sheer stupidity. Whether the Indian Super League 2015 season will be Mutu’s redemption season or not will play a major role in how FC Pune City performs.
Mainstream media says that Mutu will be partnered by the Nigerian international Kalu Uche. Uche isn’t of the same pedigree as Mutu when it comes to talent but he does have a very unpredictable snapshot that could get him a few goals in ISL2. Still, instead of Uche, I think Tuncay Sanli will be a better option for Platt for partnering Mutu. Sanli is a Turkish star who is capable of scoring and assisting. Sanli has a good freekick on him too. If Sanli and Mutu click, then FC Pune City will click too in Indian Super League 2015.
Indian midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh can also come really good for FC Pune City. Eugene is a central midfielder who has a calm, composed, and visionary head on his shoulders. As for the other well-known Indian midfielder in FC Pune City’s ranks, Jackichand Singh, you can see him as the Romeo of the Indian Super League 2015 season. Jackichand Singh is a tricky winger who can be expected to have a breakout season a la Romeo last year.
Defence of FC Pune City is decent but not great with recognisable but non-star names like Nicky Shorey (left back / centre back) and Roger Johnson (central defender). Both, Shorey and Johnson have heavy experience in English Premier League. I have seen them both play in the past and both of them are consistent.
They will do the FC Pune City defence a world of good especially since they’ll be protected by hard man Didier Zokora. Zokora is another who has had good top flight exposure in multiple leagues. However, I think his temperament is suspect because he has a tendency to get too many cards.
When I consider FC Pune City’s Indian Super League 2015 squad, I see hope for boom and hints of bust.
This is why I think that their future can be a hit or a miss. Personally, I hope they do well. I’ve always liked a fairy-tale story and would appreciate such stories for people like Mutu. I also want to see Eugene and Jackichand do well (yes I am a martial arts / Jackie Chan fan like his parents).
Northeast United FC Can Surprise Everyone in the Indian Super League 2015 Season
Say what you will but I will always have a soft spot for any team or individual who is trying to compete with limited resources by focusing on long term development. This is why I am a lifetime fan of Arsenal and this is why I like Northeast United FC. There’s something special about striving when the odds are all up against you. In simple terms, I want Northeast United FC to succeed because they remind me of Rocky – the underdog.
So, what was it that sucked so badly with Northeast United FC last season? At the root of it all was lack of funds but on the pitch, it was their attack. Their defence was fairly steady led by Miguel Garcia but NEUTD FC was almost toothless in attack. They would maintain possession but have no way to breach defences. They’ve focused on these flaws and prepared for the Indian Super League 2015 season well if you ask me.
They’ve changed their manager and brought in Cesar Faria. Cesar Faria likes to play possession football and does have some serious achievements in his past in the role of the manager. It might be a coup for NEUTD FC to have gotten him. I am very curious to see what Faria can do with a team as brimming with talent and energy as NEUTD FC. Under his tutelage and tactical acumen, I expect to see some surprise results from NEUTD FC.
In addition to their manager, NEUTD FC have also brought in Simao Sabrosa. Simao is a playmaker who can play in the wings or as a central attacking midfielder. He has awesome dribbling and free kick ability. Both of these are skills that make a difference in the Indian setup as we saw in the last season (think Elano, Santos, and Dos Santos). Simao has had a rich and happening career. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say that if there was no Ronaldo, he could’ve been the most popular footballer from Portugal.
Another gem that NEUTD FC have brought in is Boubacar Sanogo. Sanogo is an Ivory Coast international and any football follower would tell you that Ivory Coast is no longer a chump team in world football.
To have gotten into their national team is an achievement in itself so I think Sanogo will be a good player to watch. Sanogo will most probably be partnered by Diomansy Kamara – the man whose best days were spent at Portsmouth, West Bromwich Albion, and Fulham.
Kamara is also a dribbler and channel runner so he should dovetail well with both Sanogo and Simao. They also have Francis Dadzie and Nicolas Velez who can play in attack. Dadzie will be a physically imposing backup striker while Velez I think will be deployed on the wings.
It would be interesting to see who is between the sticks for NEUTD FC between Gennaro Bracigliano and Rehenesh TP. Although I do think it will be the former and not the latter simply on age and experience.
In Indian Super League 2015, I expect NEUTD FC to challenge for the last playoff spot and possibly make it if they can really maximise their potential.
Delhi Dynamos FC Will Continue To Be The Worst Team In The Indian Super League 2015 Season
Adil Nabi! Adil Nabi! And Adil Nabi! That’s all that Delhi Dynamos FC fans have to be cheerful about in the Indian Super League 2015 season. Fine; seeing Roberto Carlos Florent Malouda, and John Arne Riise on the same pitch maybe something that will make them smile. However, I still feel that the one player who’ll truly shine for them in the Indian Super League 2015 season will be Nabi. Carlos is so much past his best that he has a belly; Malouda had started disappearing in games long before he came to Delhi, and Riise is a defender by trade who never really had a lot of flair.
The reason why I think Adil Nabi will be a standout performer for Delhi Dynamos FC in the Indian Super League 2015 season is his skill. He is young, has oodles of technique, and even has that rare striker’s instinct. Mark my word, he will make many defenders in ISL2 look like muppets on their backside before he’s done. For those of you wondering why he is here, my answer is simple. West Bromwich Albion have been focusing on India for a long time as a market they want to tap into.
If Nabi can capture some fans, then West Brom get those fans by simple transference. At the same time, Delhi Dynamos FC has experience in the form of Carlos, Malouda, and Riise. West Brom must be hoping that Nabi can learn something from them. I still think this loan is more of a business call than a youth development call.
I hope Carlos pairs Nabi with Robin Singh but I have a feeling that Richard Gadze (can’t see him being all that good) will get preference there. Riise will most probably be a central defender or be deployed in midfield. I have no idea where Carlos sees himself playing. Midfield should also see Serginho Greene (hard tackler), Dos Santos (had a good season last time), and Hans Mulder (the man from Star Wars and the X-Files).
While Delhi Dynamos FC has improved from last season, according to me, the improvement isn’t enough. They will remain the worst as per my assessment. I think even Northeast United FC will be above them this time around but it will be a close run thing.