The new entrants will look to benefit from the long tadition of the Tata Football Academy as Jamshedpur becomes the newest city to register on Indian football’s burgeoning map.
Last Season’s Performance
Jamshedpur Football Club won three matches against Chiangrai United FC (CUFC) and Bangkok United FC (BUFC). They beat CUFC 1-0 and 2-1 in two outings on October 15 and October 18 before posting a 3-2 win over BUFC on October 23.
Another friendly against Pattaya United ended 3-1 in favour of the hosts. Super-sub and senior striker Ashim Biswas scored a late goal to ensure the team it’s fourth pre-season victory against Police Tero FC. After returning back from Thailand, the Men of Steel recorded an 8-0 win over local side Tata Steel FC and lost 3-1 to East Bengal.
Steve Coppell was appointed as the head coach of the ISL newcomers couple of months before.
The former Kerala Blasters’ manager was close to a return to the Yellow Sea, but contract talks fell at a late stage and Jamshedpur FC came calling. Known for his keen eye for detail, Coppell is one of the most sit-back-and-observe kind of managers the league has ever witnessed. Coppell is a former Manchester United player and understandably love the effectiveness from his wingers.
This is Coppell’s second year on the run in the Indian sub-continent and having reached the finals in his first, the old man will be looking to go one step further.
Jamshedpur FC is a newly built side and chose all Indian players in the draft. All the foreigners they’ve on their roster are mostly tested and proven in the ISL in the past.
Formations and Tactics
The new outfit may resort to the traditional 4-4-1-1 system.
Known for his almost exploitative use of the 4-4-1-1 system, security first is the word for the man. Coppell has also used the 4-2-3-1 in the past but prefers the above-mentioned system more. Hard-working and creative wingers are a must in Coppell’s system and with Kervens Belfort, Bikash Jairu and Sameehg Doutie having enough steam in their engines, the man will not have sleepless nights.
Under the bar, Indian Spiderman Subrata Paul is the certain starter. Anas Edathodika will be partnered by Tiri or Andre Bikey in the heart of the defence, with Bikey also being an option at right back. Shouvik Ghosh or Souvik Chakraborty are the obvious starters on the left back position.
In the midfield, Coppell’s love story with Mehtab Hossain is set to continue. Having the presence of Memo, who played for the Delhi Dynamos last season, will also help Coppell play two destroyers who can also pass and transition the game smoothly. On the wings, Bikash Jairu on the left and Sameehg Doutie on the right look to be the obvious starters.
Kervens Belfort will look to make the second striker’s spot his own, with Izu Azuka expected to start up top.
Jamshedpur FC is roaring to go against the old horses
Experience. This side boasts of a team that has played in the league and knows what is needed to win games. There are no real youngsters in the starting XI, and the maturity expected on the pitch is in abundance. Giving up isn’t an option for professional players in the high of their careers and most of the players are experiencing that, making Jamshedpur FC look an exciting side.
Steve Coppell’s willpower and his ability to find a way to win will also play a key role.
The X-factor. You look at the side and you can guess exactly how they’re going to play. Khalid Jamil, in the pre-season, did exactly that, playing a 4-1-4-1 formation and the No. 10’s influence was diminished by the defensive midfielder. There’s no sense of ‘magic’ and practised and well-documented formulas are going to be used to break teams down, something which might have a drawback.
Top three players to watch out for
Sameehg Doutie: One of the best wingers/playmakers recent Indian football fans have seen, Doutie is set to dazzle and create with aplomb whenever he’s on the pitch. With added freedom from Steve Coppell who certainly bets on his men, Doutie can easily be one of the best players in the tournament.
Anas Edathodika: First buy in the draft and I-league defender of the year. Do we need to say more? Anas has grown by leaps and bounds in the last year and a half and has grown into a certain starter wherever he goes. Reliable, one to throw his body in the line and a more-than-capable player on the ball, Anas will ensure Coppell doesn’t miss Jhingan enough.
Izu Azuka: 14 clubs and a bucketful of goals, Azuka is set to be the flag-bearer of the Jamshedpur attack in the upcoming ISL season. The 28-year-old has played all around Asia and knows the conditions well, and is close to being the only X-factor Jamshedpur possess in their armour. Steve Coppell is surely depending heavily on this man to score the goals for his side.
Jamshedpur FC’s schedule this season © ISL Media
What to Expect
A mid-table finish for a side that has just come into being is never bad, but knowing Steve Coppell’s love for winning it from the word go, Jamshedpur can be expected to go for the kill as well. A realistic approach will take them to a 5th or 6th position finish, and a dynamic approach might help them make the knockout stages. The dynamism, though, might just backfire as well, pushing them well behind in the pecking order.
FC Goa have suffered that in the past.