ISL 2018-19 Team Profile: Delhi Dynamos
Written by: Tushaar Sachdeva
The Lions have traded well and brought in the good coaches and now its all down to how they synchronize.
Delhi Dynamos, the lone flag bearers for the northern region of the country in Indian Super League, has been disappointing lately. After playing in consecutive semi-finals, the previous edition of the league was a disaster for them. Learning from it, they have a fresh backroom staff as well the acquisition of competent players.
They have an eye towards the trophy and look to get over their abysmal past with ease. With the fifth edition of the league just a couple of days away, we at Khel Now look at their chances.
Last Season’s Performance
They started the previous season with a bang. Their opening win against FC Pune City showed a great deal of potential and made their fans believe the then Delhi side was there for greater things. But the bubble did not stay for long. After that emphatic win, they went on a winless streak of eight games, losing seven in the foray.
They were stuck at the ninth position for the major part of the season and ended the campaign on the eighth position. They let in the most number of goals, seven more than the next leaking defense.
The other problematic thing was the lack of potent forwards. They had Kalu Uche as their main man who suffered a draught of goals in the middle of the campaign, yet finished as one of the highest scorers of the league, but to no use.
The tactics of Miguel Angel Portugal were questioned and in the aftermath of the edition, the Spanish gaffer left without leaving a mark.
This time, Delhi Dynamos went through two phases of preseason training. The first phase involved an extensive schedule of training in Kolkata to get accustomed with Indian conditions and the second phase included a trip to their associated academy, Aspire in Doha, Qatar.
While still on Indian soil, they won 3-0 and 4-0 against Taltala Dipti Sangha and Peerless FC respectively in Kolkata. But the games in Qatar were a lot different. They played two draws and lost one.
Once back in Delhi, they dominated their friendly against Indian Air Force team with six goals to one. A hattrick from Kaluderovic, a brace from Nandha and a goal from Carmona sealed the deal for them.
Josep Gombau has been appointed as the head coach of Delhi Dynamos for the upcoming season
There has been an overhaul for the backroom staff and the recent acquisitions speak from themselves. After the departure of Portugal, Delhi brought Josep Gombau, who is known for his accolades and his possession style football.
The highlight of his career has been the domestic treble in 2011-12 with Kitchee SC in Hong Kong, later winning the Federation Cup in Australia with Adelaide United in 2014. He boasts an experience of ten years of coaching the youths of Espanyol and Barcelona.
Assisting him will be Mridul Banerjee and Jacobo Ramallo. Mridul has an illustrious career in India, being in the dugout for prestigious Kolkata based clubs such as Mohammedan SC. He replaced Shakti Chauhan who was with the club since the inception.
The team needed reinforcements in almost every department and they made it clear with their transfers that they are here to win the league. Seven foreigners were signed with other seven Indian transfers.
Rana Gharami, Gianni Zuiverloon, Narayan Das, and Marti Crespi Pascual are brought in for the back line duties while Sayan Roy and Francisco Dorronsoro will accompany Albino Gomes under the bars.
In midfield and the attack, Marcos Tebar, Rene Mihelic, Adria Carmona, Andrija Kaludjerovic and Daniel Lalhlimpuia were brought in for goals, which the team direly lacked last season.
Not even a single foreign player was retained and there were a few notable exits. Pratik Chowdhary was sold to Jamshedpur, Rowilson Rodrigues released, Simranjit Singh and Seityasen Singh were bought by Northeast United while Sena Ralte moved to ATK.
All in all, they have sold the deadwood, the injury-prone and inconsistent players and have set a group with young Indian players and experienced foreign players.
Midfielders: Vinit Rai, Siam Hanghal, Bikramjit Singh, Marcos Tebar, Rene Mihelic, Shubham Sarangi, Romeo Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nandhakumar Sekar.
Forward: Daniel Lahlimpuia, Seiminmang Manchong, Andrija Kaluderovic, Adria Carmona.
Formation & Tactics
The pre-season was a testament to the playing style Gombau will be looking to adopt. His style is based on traditional fluid Spanish football with swift play and simple passing. Possession based football with significant wing play can be derived from Dynamos’ pre-season.
He is likely to start to use a formation of 4-3-3 with the traditional trio of a destroyer, a box-to-box midfielder and a player competent enough to handle the pressure of playing in the hole.
The three will be responsible for guarding the back four while making sure that the attacking three should get the appropriate ammunition to seal three points, week-in-week-out.
Starting at the back, Gomes will be under the sticks, guarded by the back four consisting of Pritam Kotal, Marti Crespi Pascual, Gianni Zuiverloon and Narayan Das on the left. The midfield would contain Bikramjit Singh, Marcos Tebar and Rene Mihelic.
Delhi Dynamos probable squad for the coming season
Though Vinit Rai may get the nod ahead Bikramjit but the former Mohun Bagan midfielder will be preferred because of the games under his belt.
The scoring duties will fall on the trident of Lalrinzuala Chhangte on the left, Romeo Fernandes on the right and the proven Serbian striker Andrija Kaluderovic in the centre.
Delhi boasts of having arguably one of the best full-backs of India. Pritam Kotal was bought by Delhi Dynamos for the whopping 75 lakhs, being the highest in the camp. On the other hand, Narayan Das came in the national capital from FC Goa, after spending a season there.
Ahead of them, they have potent wingers as well. Chhangte, Nandha Kumar, Romeo Fernandes, Shubham Sarangi and Adria Carmona are all familiar with the roles with the wing and whoever Gombau decides to play, he would get a lot of pace on offer, undoubtedly.
Another pillar is the midfield, they have Tebar, Mihelic, Rai, Singh and Siam Hangal for the total spots of three. This attacking midfield is there for the kill and will be the flag bearers for them.
While the attacking prowess of Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal is a strength and are one of the best full-backs in the league, but at few occasions they fail to track back. This might lead to leakage of goals as it was evident from both their performances last season. FC Goa’s defence which had Das on the left, concede 32 goals over 20 games.
Another thing that might hurt them is the absence of an Indian striker apart from Daniel Lalhlimpuia. Agreed, that Chhangte and Sekar can upfront but that is not their strength. If Gombau choses to bench Albino Gomes, he might feel the need of another striker. Adding to it, if Tebar or Mihelic were to be injured or suspended, they do not have Indian midfielders at par with these two.
Delhi Dynamos' first phase fixtures in ISL Season 5
Players To Watch
Lallianzuala Chhangte: He needs no introduction, at all. He has had stints with DSK Shivajians and North East United, impressing people all over the country. He first broke into the limelight after scoring a brace for the Indian national team aged just 18, becoming the second youngest goal scorer for the country.
With Delhi Dynamos, he played each and every match of their dismal season with scoring three goals and three assists. Recently with the National Team in SAFF Cup 2018, he received a red card in the semi-final against Pakistan which India won comfortably.
Albino Gomes: The Goan goalkeeper came in Delhi being a pillar for the team, but a knee injury last season forced him towards the doctor’s table. This time, Albino is back and will play an important role for the team.
Gombau believes in building the team from the back, most importantly having a goalkeeper who will boost the confidence of the defence with his heroic saves and Gomes will be looking to make the most of the season with a spot in the national team the target.
Marcos Tebar: The Real Madrid youth academy graduate is an ISL proven player and his experience of playing with Los Blancos can be extremely crucial when it comes to high-pressure situations. Expect this guy to assist many goals and a performance similar to the previous season.
The tickets for Delhi Dynamos' home games are available on PayTm and Insider.in
What To Expect
Delhi Dynamos, with a young squad at its disposal, should look to play exciting football, pulling audiences to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, their infamous den. Winning should be an objective, but if the target looms too heavily on the minds, it is certain to pressurize the youngsters in a negative way.
The players should be made comfortable on the ball and play an attacking game, taking it match-by-match and eventually, targeting the playoffs.