Thomas Brdaric will hope his side can make a roaring start to the league season.
After two disastrous seasons post ISL 2019-20, Chennaiyin FC will look to bounce back in grand fashion. They have changed all their foreign signings except Rafael Crivellaro and also have a new coach in Thomas Brdaric.
This will be the first managerial stint for Brdaric in Asia and he will have to make sure that the club plays quality football which was clearly missing in the past two seasons. Also by looking at his past he looks to play more attacking football which he will want to replicate with Chennaiyin FC this season.
Let’s have a look at how the Marina Machans can lineup in the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season. Here is Chennaiyin FC’s predicted XI.
Goalkeeper: Debjit Majumder
Debjit has been the go-to man since the second half of the ISL 2021-22 season. Replacing Vishal Kaith was not easy, as he was with Chennaiyin FC for the previous three seasons. But, a poor string of games forced their hand. Debjit has performed well ever since returning to the starting XI.
With not much experience left in the goalkeeping department, Debjit who has previously lifted the ISL title with ATK FC and the I-League with Mohun Bagan becomes an automatic choice.
Right-Back: Edwin Sydney Vanspaul
Edwin had a successful season playing as a right back when Chennaiyin FC qualified for the finals in Season 6. However, CFC’s last two coaches Csaba Laslo and Bandovic didn’t use him in that position. With the shift in position, Vanspaul couldn’t fit into the playing XI and played majorly as a substitute.
This season, with first-choice RB Raegan Singh loaned out to Hyderabad FC, this should be a good chance for Edwin to play in his primary position and get back to form.
Centre-Back: Fallou Diagne
Fallou Diagne will play a vital part in the centre-back position, with his height being a major advantage. He along with Vafa Hakhamaneshi will primarily play together or rotate among themselves. But, Vafa has not played competitive football for the past year, which should make Diagne play ahead of him.
Centre-Back: Sajid Dhot
Sajid joined Chennaiyin FC from Odisha last January and has proved to be a good addition to the defence. He was adjudged “Player of the Match” in his debut ISL match for his new club and looked good for the rest of the season. He will play a vital role at the heart of CFC’s defence.
Left-Back: Narayan Das
Narayan Das is one of the most experienced players in the ISL since its inception. He played a vital role last season starting in almost all the matches under Bozidar Bandovic, but has lost pace off late. Salam Ranjan Singh should give him a tough fight for the position.
Central Midfielder: Anirudh Thapa
Thapa has been one of the longest-serving members and has once again decided to stay back this season. Being a core member in the midfield, he formed a good combination with Rafael Crivellaro in Season 6. As skipper of the team this season, Thapa will want to lead from the front.
With the talent Thapa possesses this should be a career-defining year for him. The CFC captain will want to produce a good number of assists and goals. As always he will look to contribute both in attack and defence.
Central Midfielder: Julius Duker
Julius Duker has been a good addition to the midfield along with Rafael Crivellero. The 26-year-old from Germany should look to provide more balls through the middle along with Anirudh Thapa.
Right Winger: Vincy Baretto
Vincy was the first domestic signing for Chennaiyin FC from Kerala Blasters this summer. He played a vital role for the Blasters last year, scoring two goals in 17 ISL matches.
The 22-year-old has good pace to run past defenders, making him more dangerous. He also has the ability to score more goals than the previous season.
Attacking Midfielder: Rafael Crivellaro
Since the injury in Season 7, Rafael has not played a single competitive match for the past two seasons. He is the only foreign player to be retained from last season. This shows how much the Chennaiyin FC management value him.
Crivellaro’s creativity in midfield is what he is known for. He formed a deadly combination with Nerijus Valskis in ISL 2019-20 when they made the final. This season he would like to replicate it with Kwame Karikari as well.
Left Winger: Ninthoinganba Meetei
The 21-year-old talented youngster was an excellent signing from NorthEast United last season, but couldn’t make it to the starting XI consistently. In his limited time period, he has performed well and has a goal to his name.
This season, Ninthoi will have to fight hard for his place with Alexander Romario Jesuraj. The former FC Goa player provided quality assists in his debut season and was a regular starter for the Gaurs under coach Juan Ferrando who rated him highly. But, Romario doesn’t possess good finishing which is where Ninthoi will look to make his presence felt.
Striker: Kwame Karikari
The 29-year-old Ghanian is coming in with good form from his previous stint in the Thai league, where he scored 13 goals in 29 games. Chennaiyin FC have not found a striker, after Valskis, who could score goals in double digits, hampering their performance.
Sliskovic has performed well in the limited matches he has played in the Durand Cup and should be knocking on the door of making it to the XI consistently with Karikari.
CFC have not scored from set-pieces for the past two seasons. This year they have all the foreign players above the 6ft range and should make the most of the height during set-pieces.