Hello. Just thought I’ll continue the ‘H’ theme into the first paragraph. Don’t worry, it will stop now. Chennaiyin have claimed the second spot on the table but they didn’t do it with style. They did it with grit, perseverance, fitness advantage, and opportunism. Continue reading
Are you wondering why FC Pune City has been so poor since the Indian Super League started? After all, they’ve never stood higher than the sixth position in the league. Well, I have an assumption that I will share in this post with you.
You already know that we’re talking about Pune City because of last night’s game. The score may have ended 2-3 but it flatters FC Pune City. It is only by virtue of three stubborn foreigners that they got two goals. Continue reading
Passers or the Pressers in East Indian Derby?
Atletico De Kolkata welcome NorthEast United FC to the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata in what will prove to be a clash of two footballing philosophies – the visitors’ passing game and the hosts’ pressing game. The last time these two teams met, ATK took the game despite NEUTD being at home. It will also be interesting to see how each team copes since both of them dominated their last games only to drop points in the end.
ATK’s Form & Strategy
For the Indian Rojiblancos (something they’re called due to their affiliation with Atletico de Madrid), motivation can be had through the prospect of doing a double in the East Indian derby. Probably more important will be the chance to climb the table up to the second spot.
ATK’s campaign so far in the season has been chequered at best. They’ve had wins, draws, and losses spread across the entire campaign which means they there isn’t any clear form to fall back to while analysing their chances in the game. At the same time, their style of play in the league is very clear.
They approach games with a blend of strategy and technicality. In other words, they change their style to counter their opponents. What this means is that the chances of ATK getting some kind of a result from their games are always high.
Typically, against NEUTD, ATK can be expected to deploy the high press. High pressing strategies usually lead to lots of fouls. ATK, as a team, fouls the most in the league too. Obviously, this means that they’re card friendly (most carded team in the league). So, it wouldn’t be a bad bet to put down some money on at least one of their players getting carded.
ATK’s chances this time have taken a hit due to the absence of Sameehg Doutie, one of their most dynamic attackers. Still, they do have their marquee striker in Helder Postiga and the consistent Iain Hume to rely on.
NEUTD’s Form & Strategy
For NEUTD, stopping these players will be crucial since either of them is capable of domination and scoring goals. Their motivation will come from the fact that they’re bottom of the table and without a win in five games. In fact, they’ve lost their last four games.
One of the reasons for NEUTD’s poor performance is the fact that they’ve been unable to score goals. They’re actually the team with the fewest goals in the league to their name. In contrast, their primary striker, Emiliano Alfaro, is the leading goal scorer in the Indian Super League with 5 goals to his name.
This shows that Alfaro isn’t getting enough support from his teammates. It also shows how important Alfaro is to NEUTD. Notably, he was absent for two of their last four games, something that may have contributed to their four losses.
NEUTD are the exact opposite of ATK in that they have fouled the least in the whole league. This is mainly because NEUTD players don’t tackle which is evident in the fact that they have the lowest tackles in the league. Instead, their defensive tactics revolve around interceptions and unforced errors from the opponents.
Will it be the Tingmo or the Patishapta?
Even though NEUTD play football the “right way” and as much as the neutrals may want them to win, we don’t see them turning ATK over today. Their plays just don’t have enough quality and ATK are far too strategic to allow something like that to happen through only teamwork.
ATK’s high press will be a bit too much for NEUTD’s passing game even if the NorthEast United FC players can keep up with Atletico De Kolkata players’ stamina levels. Essentially, we’re predicting a slim win for ATK because they have more quality in their team. So, you can expect a score of either 1-0 or 2-1 in favour of ATK.
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
Analysing 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
This 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.