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!


Atletico De Kolkata vs. Mumbai City FC Preview

ATK Bid for the Top Spot as MBFC Visit

Expect a lot of entertainment as the swashbuckling Mumbai City FC visit the home of Indian football to face Atletico De Kolkata at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata. Considering the previous game between these two teams this season, hosted by Mumbai, this one is going to be highly eventful too.

When Atletico De Kolkata visited Mumbai, the game had everything from goals to yellow cards and physicality to a sending off. Despite what the watchers of ATK may think, it was actually a Mumbai City FC player that was sent off for two yellow cards. It was crucial too because without that sending off, Atletico De Kolkata seemed all set to lose that game. As it was, the sending off allowed them to equalise. That game may be the blueprint for this game.

ATK’s Form & Strategy

sergio-molina-atkAtletico De Kolkata will need to be far more effective in the final third in this game than they were when the two sides met in Mumbai a few days ago. They simply can’t rely on a sending off to have a positive impact on the game. Fortunately, they are in form. In fact, ATK happens to be the only unbeaten team in the league now. More importantly, if ATK’s one game in hand is taken into account, they may well claim the top spot in the league after this game.

ATK has consistency and familiarity on their side since their coach Sergio Molina clearly has a system in place when it comes to formations, tactics, and personnel. He is retaining his team’s shape and formation from game to game and still managing to rotate his squad in and out of it. He has even managed to tweak his style of play on the basis of his opponents’ attacking prowess.

This isn’t something that many teams in the league can claim. This familiarity will come in handy for them. You can expect ATK to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation. They will depend heavily on their home support too. Kolkata is the hub of football in India which means that ATK has the largest support in the league in terms of sheer numbers.

MCFC’s Form & Strategy

alexandre-guimares-mcfcMumbai City FC, on the other hand, can be best described as reeling if you only consider their last few results. They’re on a dismal run and have only garnered two points from the last 12. This is in direct contrast to how they started i.e. six points from six. However, their last two results can be associated with bad luck.

MCFC played very well in their last game against FC Goa. They did everything right except for putting the ball in the net. In the game before that, the score was 3 – 3 which, in itself, is rare and speaks volumes of the type of game it was. Alexandre Guimares, Mumbai City FC’s manager has an attacking style of play and he makes no excuses for it so we can expect MCFC players to come out of the huddle aggressively.

In Which Forest Will The Tree Fall?

This game has entertainment written all over it. Both teams have some really good players. For Atletico De Kolkata, Sameehg Doutie has been in form. While he has scored only two goals till now, he has been a constant thorn in the opponents’ side. With respect to Mumbai City FC, their most in-form player Matias Defederico may be unavailable which could be a body blow for them. They will rely on their marquee player and legendary Diego Forlan even more now.

As the last game between these sides showed, ATK players are far more disciplined and tactical than MCFC players. MCFC players are also competitive to a fault, which means that ATK’s physicality will rile them up. We can expect a few yellows in this game because of this. Even so, the naivety of Mumbai players will tell in this game which is why we’re plumping for a win for Atletico De Kolkata. ATK to take this game with a score line of 1 – 0.


FC Goa vs. Kerala Blasters FC Preview

Least Prolific Teams in the League Face Off

Kerala Blasters FC will travel to the land of sun and sand to take on FC Goa in Fatorda’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Both of these teams haven’t been having a good time in the third instalment of the Indian Super League.

For instance, neither of them has been prolific in terms of scoring. Furthermore, neither of them has had a standout performer in the five games they’ve played till now. Even more crucially, neither of these teams has found the winning formula in terms of formation and personnel till now, even though both are on the verge of it.

FC Goa’s Form & Strategy

gregory-arnolin-fc-goaZico, FC Goa’s manager, has tinkered with his team’s formation and starting line-up from the beginning of the season. It is only in the last couple of games that he settled on a stable formation and set of players. As is obvious to football fans, this has resulted in an upturn in FC Goa results. In case you’re wondering, The Gaurs lost their first three games fairly convincingly, drew their fourth game, and won their last one.

With the first win of the season under their collective belts, The Gaurs will hope to continue their positive momentum into this game. Their problem, however, is that they concede too much. FC Goa has conceded the most goals in the league so far which is the main reason why they are propping up the table for everyone.

The good news is that this match may see Lucio and Arnolin line-up together in the centre of defence for the first time in the league. Having their first choice central defensive pairing available could be key to fixing Goa’s leaky defence. Another key element to note here is the change in goalkeepers. Zico started the first three games with Kattimani but since he has started going with Chowdhury, his team’s fortunes have turned.

Kerala Blasters FC’s Form & Strategy

Aaron Hughes, Kerala Blasters FC

What will be in favour of FC Goa’s defence is that Kerala Blasters FC isn’t really that proficient in front of goal. They’ve scored the least number of goals in the league. This is something that hasn’t been helped by the constant tinkering by Steve Coppell. Like Zico, Coppell has also been trying to find the right combination of players and shape but his experiments have largely been focused on the attacking side of things.

Coppell has kept his defence very solid but his attack has shifted and changed drastically game to game. In his defence, Coppell has chosen to stick with the Northern Ireland international, Aaron Hughes, and the highly reliable and dependable French, Cedric Hengbart.

The constant flux in Kerala Blasters FC’s attacking line-up could be the reason why they’ve struggled to score goals. They are, in fact, the lowest scoring team in the league and have the dismal return of two goals from five matches so far.

What Will Be The Coin Toss Results?

The safest bet in this game will be for a goalless draw since both teams are pretty bad at scoring. While Kerala has only two goals in five games, Goa is only marginally better with three goals in five games. On top of their scoring records, their projected style of play also favours a goalless draw.

Consider the fact that Kerala is generally stringent when it comes to conceding. Further, consider that Zico will want to tighten things up at the back since they’ve been conceding heavily till now. Between the established record and predictable intentions, the two teams can be expected to be very cautious in this game. Thus, our prediction is a nil – nil draw.


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.


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.