Today’s match is like mixing the colours violet and red i.e. teams at the two ends of the spectrum*. Chennaiyin FC sit proud at the top of the table having dethroned Atletico De Kolkata and further fortified their position.
In contrast, Northeast United FC sit humble at the bottom after being overtaken by Delhi Dynamos FC (the next worst team in the league) in their last game.
From what I can see, the Indian Super League has reached a juncture where it will start offering up Last Chance Saloons of various kinds. Today’s Last Chance Saloon is Northeast United FC’s. If they don’t win today’s game then they can very well forget about making it into those qualifying spots in the table.
It’s A Poor Situation That Northeast United FC Find Themselves In
They are currently off by quite a significant margin especially if you consider how many games they have left to play. Northeast United FC is off Kerala Blasters FC by 5 points and the next game will be one of their final 4. This means that they have to make up a deficit of 5 points and there’re only 12 points available.
It would be a tall order for a team that wasn’t having trouble scoring goals and Northeast United FC are actually, well, not exactly scoring goals. In their last game, they actually let in 2 goals to a team that hadn’t been doing well till then.
Does this mean that Northeast United FC have now lost their defensive solidity? Well, one game makes not a league so perhaps I’ll wait before giving kneejerk reactions.
Expect a one-sided affair folks, the kind you see 13 year old boys having with their classmates and 16 year old girls having with chocolate boys from TV shows. Northeast United FC will have to work very hard to get a draw in this game. I would like to see them give it a hearty go, though. Why?
Well, because I want to see Chennaiyin FC tested in the way that only Northeast United FC can test them. I want Chennaiyin FC players to be pressed and harried like there was no tomorrow.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think there’s any tomorrow for Northeast in the league unless they win this one. They’ll be relegated to playing their last 3 games for “pride”.
The head coach of Northeast United FC, Ricki Herbert, promised the team’s hefty support that they will play an attacking brand of football and will “come hard” at Chennaiyin FC. It’s interesting that he lauded his team’s good style of football when a reporter mentioned it. I like the philosophy of Northeast United FC and have always liked it.
What Herbert said is actually the reason why I like the way Northeast United play. The head coach said,
Playing long balls and punting it upfield has never benefitted a team in the long run. We are so close to being a good all-round team. It is important to believe in the philosophy and stay true to it even when you fail. I believe that we will eventually come good.
I fully agree with Herbert on this and am glad to see that he’s sticking to his guns. I do think that they’ll come good with just a couple of right signings next season. For this season, though, I think they’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it in if they want to break into the top 4.
Chennaiyin FC Can Go From Strength To Strength
The situation is much prettier for Chennaiyin FC who can stretch their lead from the 2nd spot even further at least till Atletico De Kolkata play their next game day after tomorrow.
Chennaiyin FC is the most prolific team in the league and is all set to become the most defensively sound team in the league with the introduction of Alessandro Nesta. Those of you looking forward to seeing Nesta will have to wait, though, because he’ll only be able to play in the first week of next month.
I expect Northeast United FC to have trouble keeping Pelissari, Jeje and company quiet because they’ve all been in tremendous form. Further, I expect Chennaiyin FC’s defence to keep a tight leash on whatever attacks Northeast United FC can come up with.
Marco Materazzi, who has impressed in the managerial role, is showing signs of becoming a very perceptive head coach for his team. He seems to be anticipating any problems that they may have and countering it beforehand.
This is probably why his team are doing so well in the Indian Super League. It’s evident in the way he has been approaching his pre-game press conferences.
With respect to this game, Materazzi wanted to pre-empt any complacency issues within his team as they sit at the summit 3 points clear. He asked his team to focus on the next game adding:
Tomorrow is another important game for us because according to me, we still need five or six points to reach the semis and if we win against Northeast United FC, there is a 70% chance of us being in the semi-finals.
Materazzi seems to have a finger on the pulse of his team and his experiences as a player in some of the best tournaments of the world add to his anticipatory skills. It’s good to see such a perceptive manager plying his trade in the Indian Super League.
I shall be there after the match with a report for you chaps. See you then.