The Battle for the Top Spot Commences
Mumbai City FC travel south to face Chennaiyin FC at their home, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in what is going to be the battle for the top spot in the league. Both, Chennaiyin and MCFC can take the top spot with a win in this game with the former relying on Goal Difference and the latter on an extra game.
Chennaiyin FC’s Form & Strategy
The reigning champions, Chennaiyin FC, will be coming into this game on a good run of form, which may be slipping. They’ve won 2 of their last 4 games but have only drawn the latest 2. This means that the Super Machans are on a 4-game unbeaten spree, even though they’ve only taken 2 points from their last two games.
Typically, Chennaiyin is a very midfield focused team. Marco Materazzi, their manager, relies heavily on his midfield to perform to churn out results. This is reflected by the fact that their leading goal scorer is the central midfielder, Hans Mulder, with 2 goals. Furthermore, the other central midfielder Raphael Augusto is not only their leading passer but also tackler.
Unfortunately, the Super Machans may be without Mulder since he got injured in the last game. Instead, they will be relying on their combativeness and pure desire to beat Mumbai City FC. Chennaiyin FC players are generally confrontational and don’t back off from a duel. This is clearly a quality that they draw on directly from their manager Materazzi who is known for inciting the infamous head-butt from Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup Final.
Despite the combative nature of the Chennaiyin players, they still allow opposition players to play their attacking game. Chennaiyin keepers collectively have the most saves in the league, which means that their defence lets them down consistently. In spite of this, though, their goalkeeper Karanjit Singh leads the league with three clean sheets. With respect to the playing style, Chennaiyin like their long balls with a special focus on diagonals which brings in their wide forwards into the game. You can expect the same style of play against Mumbai City FC.
Mumbai City FC’s Form & Strategy
It will be interesting to see how Mumbai City FC players cope with the inherent combativeness of Chennaiyin players mainly because MCFC players are prone to picking up cards. In fact, MCFC is a very card friendly team. Two MCFC players, Pronay Halder and Sehnaj Singh, lead the league on the table of shame with 4 yellow cards each. Needless to say, this tendency will be something that Alexandre Guimares, MCFC manager, will have to consciously root out for this game.
While midfielders like Halder and Singh were losing their way, another MCFC midfield Lucian Goian was keeping things together. His game is the foundation that MCFC launch their attacks out of because he wins the ball back and serves it through a simple pass to more creative players.
Mumbai City FC is actually a good attacking team too. While many of the recent results haven’t gone in favour of MCFC, that is only because they’ve been unlucky. MCFC has played most of their games on the front foot but has failed to convert the chances they’ve created. Most notably, they attack as a team and have a good passing game.
This is proven by the fact that goals and assists are shared equally amongst the MCFC players. Even so, the most key combination for MCFC will be Matias Defederico and Diego Forlan. Whenever the two play together, MCFC looks almost irresistible.
How Will The Scales Weigh?
As a matter of fact, if Defederico and Forlan start this game, then in our eyes, an MCFC win is certain. Even if they don’t start together, we believe that their passing game will prove to be too much for Chennaiyin FC. We predict a score line of 2 – 1 in favour of MCFC with Defederico either scoring or assisting.
You can also expect a few yellow cards in this game owing to the fact that MCFC players are generally prone to being warned and Chennaiyin players rarely ever back off from a fight.