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How new signing Greg Stewart can resurrect Mumbai City FC?

Published at :July 24, 2022 at 7:19 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Joseph Biswas


The Scottish has joined the Islanders on a two-year deal.

Mumbai City FC finished fifth in ISL 2021-22 after failing to replicate their double league title from the previous season. The Islanders have a point to prove in the upcoming edition of the Indian Super League. In May 2022, Mumbai City FC signed Greg Stewart on a two-year deal. Let’s dive deep into analysing what this move might bring for the Islanders. Can this can spark a comeback this season?

Experience

The Scottish lad brings tons of experience with him to Mumbai City FC from Scottish and English leagues. Greg started out training in the Rangers Academy during his youth years and signed with Cowdenbeth in the Scottish First Division league in 2010. He finished the season as the club’s top scorer.

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In his career he has played for Dundee FC in the Scottish Premiership, Birmingham City, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Rangers. Having left an impression in all the leagues that he played in, Greg signed with Jamshedpur FC last summer. In his debut season, he made heads turn with his impressive record of 10 goals and 10 assists.

Adapting to the league swiftly in his debut season, he helped Jamshedpur FC clinch its maiden ISL Winners' Shield. JFC also reached the playoffs where they lost to Kerala Blasters. He will definitely benefit his new team with his skills, ability and experience.

Perfect fit for the Islanders

Greg Stewart
Greg Stewart has joined Mumbai City FC on a 2-year contract (Courtesy: ISL Media)

After a below-par campaign, MCFC need players of such calibre in their team now more than ever. The previous season, they had Igor Angulo in the centre-forward role and Cassio Gabriel in the attacking midfielder role. Both players have now left the club.

Adding Greg to the squad would bring balance, stability and attacking prowess to the side. Versatility being his forte allows him to play in the forward as well as attacking midfielder role. This will hugely benefit head coach Des Buckingham. The 32-year-old's knowledge and understanding of the game make him a perfect fit for the Mumbai side for the upcoming season.

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Attacking Midfielder - Comparison

ISL season 2021-22 also marked the debut of Brazilian midfielder Cassio Gabriel. At MCFC, Cassio played in midfield combining with Igor Angulo in attack and Ahmed Jahouh and Apuia in the heart of the Islanders' midfield. Greg Stewart also played in a similar role at Jamshedpur, where he combined with an attacking trio of Valskis, Ishan Pandita or Daniel Chukwu.

Supporting him in the midfield were Pronay Halder, Jitender Singh or Alex Lima. Comparing both debutants playing in similar roles, Greg leads the list for goals and assists. He has 10 in both sections, while Cassio has just one goal under his belt with five assists.

Cassio Gabriel and Greg Stewart Comparison Chart (Source: Indiansuperleague.com)

Cassio's passing accuracy was 75.57% while Greg had 67.64% but this is subject to the number of passes made, which Greg leads with 853 to Cassio's 733. The Scot also leads the Brazilian in the number of shots and crosses as well as average passes per game. This shows that the Scot is a better attacking midfielder choice and is likely to have a better impact in the upcoming season for MCFC.

Tactical analysis

Tactically, Greg Stewart has been a magnificent player for Jamshedpur FC. Playing the role of attacking midfielder, just behind the centre-forward, he used to exploit spaces created by opposition full-backs when they would go up to press or attack. He has also been very effective playing as the second striker. He often provided suppliers an additional option inside the box for crosses.

Greg Stewart
Stewart is only the second player to record double figures in goals and assists in a single ISL season (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Greg provides a wide range of skills from exploiting space on the flanks to provide crosses to coming down the pitch to put through passes to forward players cutting the lines of the opposition defence.

When out of possession, he presses up high, putting pressure on opposition defenders and midfielders. He forces players who are not comfortable on the ball into mistakes and capitalises on them. The Scotsman also scored a couple of beautiful free-kicks in the previous season and has a mean delivery from any dead-ball situation. Mumbai City FC would definitely benefit from his impressive inventory of skills and tactical knowledge.

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Des Buckingham and his system

Des Buckingham in the previous season used the 4-2-3-1 formation extensively. Stewart at Jamshedpur had been employed in similar formations under Owen Coyle. At the beginning of the season, Jamshedpur’s formation was 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 with Greg playing either in the forward line or just behind the main striker, assisting in the midfield as well as supporting the forward line.

As the season progressed, we saw the formation shift to 4-2-3-1, with the Scot playing between the two wingers in the line of three. This is the preferred formation of the Islanders' manager Des Buckingham as well. Therefore, it would not be a major change for Stewart in terms of adapting to a new style.

Des Buckingham
Buckingham will hope to bounce back from a disappointing debut season (Courtesy: ISL Media)

The role and functions might differ depending upon the players available, but Des Buckingham would be hugely benefitted by Greg Stewart in the upcoming season due to his adaptability to a familiar system of play.

This might also be an opportunity for Greg Stewart to showcase his potential as the main striker alongside young budding players such as Vikram Pratap Singh. This would add to the motivation to perform for the Scot which might bring the best in him while also benefitting the young players who would learn from his experiences.

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Conclusion

Stewart can resurrect Mumbai City FC back to winning ways because he brings a lot of experience and adaptability which is evident with his impressive stats of the first season. The addition of Greg to the squad is a boost which will bring stability and balance to the Mumbai City squad. Through various metrics we can observe that he is a better attacking midfielder than Cassio, MCFC’s attacking midfielder last season.

Tactically, he is a very astute and is a skillful operator, dangerous and deadly against any opposition. His familiarity to the system which the coach prefers will also be an added boost. The upcoming season of ISL would be fascinating and interesting to watch from a Mumbai City fan’s perspective.

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