The Marina Machans must be ruthless in front of goal if they are to get a result against the high-flying Islanders.
If you could sum up the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 season of Chennaiyin FC in two words, they would be “missed chances.” The Marina Machans have spurned opportunity after opportunity on the pitch and run the risk of missing out on the playoffs. If they are to turn the tide, they have to start winning games. They must take inspiration from their heroics last season and reinvigorate their goalscoring instincts.
But, that is easier said than done with their next assignment being arguably their toughest yet, against a Mumbai City FC side that haven’t put a foot wrong. Sergio Lobera’s men have gone from strength to strength and are handsomely placed at the summit of the table. The Islanders have shown attacking quality and defensive resilience, conceding only four goals so far this campaign.
It is now-or-never for Chennaiyin FC, who seem to be jeopardizing their own chances of making it to the playoffs. It could be said that they were unlucky to lose the last game, but the road doesn’t get any easier for them with tougher fixtures coming up against Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
Chennaiyin have scored the lowest number of goals this season, despite creating the most chances. This says a lot about their lack of firepower in the final third. It has been their Achilles’ Heel this season and they must rectify it soon, if they are to stand a chance against the big opponents.
Mumbai City FC
As for Mumbai City, it has been smooth sailing so far with the side perched well on top of the ISL standings. The Islanders have more or less confirmed their presence in the playoffs and are now playing to cement top spot for a chance to feature in the AFC Champions League.
It remains to be seen as to how Chennaiyin tackle this challenge and overcome it, especially considering they will be facing the meanest defence in the league.
Chennaiyin FC could once again be without the services of their talisman Anirudh Thapa. The midfielder missed the game against ATK Mohun Bagan and is expected to sit out this one as well. This could be a huge blow to them considering the prowess that Mumbai City hold in midfield.
Mumbai City FC
Sergio Lobera doesn’t have any injury issues to contend with and will have a full squad for selection. He would also have Hernan Santana back in the ranks after the Spaniard served his suspension. But, he could be expected to make some changes to his side and give opportunities to other players.
The Islanders have also recently completed the signing of Jackichand Singh which further strengthens their attack. It is yet to be known if he will play a role in the upcoming game.
The two teams have faced each other 13 times in the ISL, with Chennaiyin winning six times and Mumbai coming out victorious on five occasions. There have also been two drawn games.
Both teams last locked horns with each other earlier this season, on December 9. Goals from Hernan Santana and Adam le Fondre helped the Islanders win, while Jakub Sylvestr scored the Marina Machans’ solo consolation goal.
Chennaiyin FC: Kaith (GK), Reagan, Sabia, Sipovic, Jerry, Tangri, Memo, Ali, Chhangte, Fatkhulloev, Isma.
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder (GK), Ranawade, Santana, Fall, Mandar, Goddard, Borges, Jahouh, Singh, Boumous, Le Fondre
Man to Watch
Lallianzuala Chhangte (Chennaiyin FC)
Lallianzuala Chhangte has been one of the few creative sparks in an otherwise lackluster campaign in front of goal for the two-time champions. Although the number may say that he has contributed to only two goals in 13 games, it is also down to his shoddy decision-making in the final third.
But, the winger has often been played on the left which has perhaps curtailed his attacking instincts. When on form, Chhangte has often been Chennaiyin FC’s most dangerous player. If they are to upset Mumbai City, he must be at his best.
Ahmed Jahouh (Mumbai City FC)
Ahmed Jahouh has picked up from where he left off last season and has been the backbone of Mumbai City’s miidfield. The Moroccan has been a towering presence and has put up outstanding numbers.
Jahouh completes almost 70 passes every game with an accuracy of 77.5%, while his defensive numbers are among the best in the league. He completes an incredible 9.3 tackles/game and almost two interceptions every match.
Despite Jahouh’s usual outbursts which have also fetched him two red cards already this season, his destructive presence in midfield is what has helped Mumbai easily break down opponents and keep them at arm’s length. The Moroccan combines this with consummate quality on the ball.
Did You Know?
- Amrinder Singh is one clean-sheet away from matching Subrata Pal’s all-time highest tally of 28 clean sheets in the ISL.
- Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC have kept the most number of clean-sheets in the ISL (42 and 33 respectively)
- Ahmed Jahouh holds the record for the most tackles (506), most touches (6178), most passes (5083), most fouls (156), and most red cards (4) in the ISL.
The match between Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC will be live on Star Sports 1 & 1HD, Star Sports 2 & 2HD (ENGLISH), Star Sports Hindi 1 & 1HD, Star Sports 3 (HINDI) and several other regional languages. The match will also be available for live streaming on JioTV and Disney+Hotstar.