The Pride vs. The Tuskers Preview

The Pride Will Attack Like Lions While The Tuskers Will Defend Like Elephants

The Tuskers will travel to the capital of the country to face the most offensive team in the league, The Pride, in their own backyard. The game will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and should be thoroughly entertaining since the Delhi Dynamos FC need to beat Kerala Blasters FC to progress to the finals, after their 1-0 defeat in the first leg of the semi-final.

The Pride’s Strategy & Form

Marcelinho, The PrideThere is no team more capable of turning over a deficit like that in the league this season than The Pride. They are, without a doubt, the best attacking outfit of the eight teams. Delhi Dynamos FC is an incredibly free-flowing, dynamic, and attacking team. Their front three i.e. Kean Lewis, Marcelinho, and Richard Gadze, are very effective when they linkup and interchange their positions.

Marcelinho, in fact, is the best player in the entire league. He leads the league in goals (9), assists (5), and even in shots taken. Even Gadze is an effective force. He is second on the assists leader board with 4 assists and even has 5 goals to his game.

Behind the front three, the midfield is controlled by the legendary French player, Florent Malouda. Malouda also have 5 assists in the league and is the second leading passer of the league. What all these statistics show is that The Pride happens to be the highest scoring, highest assisting, and the best passing team in the entire league.

This is why their defeat at the hands of The Tuskers in the last game was more of an anomaly than norm. Delhi Dynamos FC was decidedly lacklustre last time out. They couldn’t stamp their identity on the game which is why a single moment of brilliance from The Tuskers undid them.

That 1-0 loss means that The Pride need to win this game by at least 1-0 in normal time. A 1-0 score line in favour of Delhi Dynamos FC will mean extra time. Extra time will be a problem for both teams in this game particularly since fitness is a huge issue for all Indian Super League teams.

The Tuskers Strategy & Form

ck-vineet-the-tuskersFor The Tuskers, their win over The Pride in the previous leg puts them in a very good position. Now, just avoiding defeat would be enough for them to progress to the finals. The previous game’s win was actually a surprise simply because The Pride has blown away all comers this season.

There were three factors that contributed to The Tuskers’ win over The Pride. The first was a moment of individual brilliance from Kervens Belfort who dribbled the ball from deep in his own half all the way to the goal. Belfort actually beat a number of Delhi defenders before slotting the ball past The Pride’s goalkeeper.

The second factor was the fact that the Delhi Dynamos FC players, themselves, failed to show up for the game. The last and the most important factor, though, was The Tuskers’ home support. Kerala Blasters FC has the best support in the league not only in terms of noise but also numbers. Their home ground has been a cauldron of fanaticism that has fuelled their performances.

While Delhi Dynamos FC didn’t play their last game well, it was partly due to Kerala Blaster FC’s defensive strategy too. The Tuskers shut down The Pride’s offence by a simple expedient i.e. keeping their wingers from cutting in. This nullified their best player Marcelinho and his foil Kean Lewis while simultaneously isolating Gadze.

The Tuskers will want to repeat that defensive performance. Fortunately, it should come naturally to them, since that is their primary style of play. The Tuskers have a defence-first style of play where they rely on the athleticism of Cedric Hengbart and the leadership qualities of Aaron Hughes, their marquee player.

In attack, The Tuskers are very much influenced by English football since their coach, Steve Coppell, is English. They like to put in crosses from the wings as well as drop long diagonals from one side to the other onto the heads of their very tall players.

As a result, Cedric Hengbart, a defender and Mohammed Rafi, a striker, are first and second in the league in aerial duels won. Their best attacker, though, is the Indian CK Vineeth who has scored 5 goals in only 7 games. The Tuskers will counterattack in this game and will want Vineeth to be at the end of at least one such counter.

Mauling by Paws or Impaling by Tusks; This Will Be a Gore Fest

However, it is unlikely that The Tuskers will get many chances to counter in this game. We expect them to be pegged back in their half by the attacking verve of The Pride. In fact, we don’t even expect The Tuskers to hold out through the full 90 minutes without conceding a goal, even though they have some of the best defenders in the league.

The constant attack from The Pride will tell by the end of the game. For us, this game will see Delhi Dynamos FC progress to the finals. It will be a high scoring game. High scoring games are hard to predict but it will probably be 3-2 in favour of The Pride. Our bonus prediction will be a goal from Gadze and an assist from Marcelinho.



The Gaurs vs. The Pride Preview

Will The Gaurs Continue to Implode Against The Pride?

Things could turn especially sour for FC Goa as Delhi Dynamos FC come visiting the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda. The game is set to turn into a midfield battle since both The Gaurs’ and The Pride’s styles of play hinge heavily on their passing game.

The Gaurs Form & Strategy

trindade-goncalves, The GaursFC Goa’s 2016 Indian Super League results have been in direct contrast to their results in the 2015 Indian Super League where they went all the way to the Finals. It is notable; however, that FC Goa’s performance in this season so far, is similar to their 2014 season. The Gaur’s started the 2014 season just like this one i.e. with four losses from the first six games. In that season, they went on to play in the Semi Finals so it wouldn’t be all that surprising if they pull off the same feat this time out.

The problem for The Gaurs, though, is that they’ve shown nothing that can hint at a resurgent future. They lost their last game to Kerala Blasters FC despite taking the lead. What’s even worse is that all is not well inside the FC Goa camp. There have been suggestions of a discord between their head coach, Zico, and the senior management regarding recruitment.

They Gaurs’ Zico has claimed that he wasn’t consulted on the recruitment of their goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury. Furthermore, Zico apparently wasn’t informed of the Indian Super League recruitment deadlines which resulted in the team failing to recruit a couple of key players. This doesn’t bode well for the future of FC Goa in this season.

The Gaurs may be without Joffre too, their most consistent performer of the season so far. Joffre has been their primary creative force which means that FC Goa may have trouble creating enough chances. In his absence, they will rely on Trindade Goncalves for creativity since he is their team’s leading passer whether you consider attempted or successful passes.

Unfortunately, the effectiveness of their passing will be questionable since The Gaurs’ strikers don’t have a good conversion rate. Of their two main strikers, Robin Singh and Julio Cesar, the former hasn’t scored till now while the latter only scored his first goal in the last game.

The Pride’s Form & Strategy

Marcelinho, Delhi Dynamos FCWith all the things that have gone wrong with The Gaurs this season, it is hard to imagine them coping with the quality of Delhi Dynamos FC. The Pride have been playing will all season long. Even though they’ve drawn the majority of their games (4 of 6), their performances have been very impressive and the only thing they lack is the finishing touch.

Consider the last game. In the match against FC Pune City, Delhi Dynamos FC dominated their opponents throughout the 90 minutes. The only problem was that they didn’t convert enough of the opportunities they created. Their conversion rate in the game was less than half of FC Pune City’s. Even the possession stats were awry in favour of Delhi Dynamos FC who ended up with 60 percent possession in the game.

Logic dictates that it won’t be that long before those draws turn into wins, as The Pride refine their defensive and offensive performances. They will rely heavily on their in-form forward, Marcelinho, to do so. Marcelinho is not only their leading goal scorer but also their leader with respect to assists.

In six games, Marcelinho has collected three goals and three assists, which means that he’s had a hand in six out of eight goals scored by Delhi Dynamos FC. Incidentally, that makes Delhi Dynamos the highest scoring team in the Indian Super League along with Atletico De Kolkata. Between these two teams, the winner is clear in our minds even though most of our predictions till now have been turned on their heads by abnormal performances by various teams.

Which Route Will Frodo Take?

This game will see a win for Delhi Dynamos FC over FC Goa by two goals to one. There is no way that The Gaurs’ defence is going to resist The Pride’s attacking lope and verve. The Gaurs can be safely expected to score as they like to play an attacking game with a focus on passing down the wings. The only reason why we’re predicting a win for the Delhi Dynamos FC is that we find their attackers to be more accomplished that The Gaurs’.

Here’s a bonus tip for you. If you’re not interested in betting on the winner, one of the safest bets you can go for this time out will be Delhi Dynamos FC to score and Marcelinho to either assist or score!