The Indian Super League Is back with another new season which has promises to be better and more competitive than last season. Mumbai City FC, the two times semi-finalists will be looking to bring the title home this year for their passionate fans. With some new signings and some retained players, the Mumbai based franchise would look to clinch their maiden title.
• SQUAD :
Goalkeepers– Amrinder Singh, Ravi Kumar, Kunal Sawant
Defenders– Anwar Ali, Mato Grjic, Pratik Choudhari, Sarthak Golui, Sauvik Chakrabarti, Subhashish Bose, Valpuia
Midfielders– Bipin Singh, Diego Carlos, Bidyanada Singh, Mohamed Larbi, Mohammed Rafique, Modou Sougou, Paulo Machado, Pranjal Bhumij, Rowlin Borges, Raynier Fernandez, Sourav Das, Serge Kevyn, Surchandra Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy.
Forwards– Amine Chermiti
Head Coach– Jorge Costa
• Team Analysis :
Amrinder Singh has been with the team since the 2nd edition of the Hero ISL and is the wall of Mumbai City FC and this time he has the support of players like Ravi Kumar and Kunal Sawant who have been part of the Indian Super League previously, but not much of experience under their belt. The deputy of Gurpreet will have to remain at his peak for Mumbai to attain anything positive.
Defence: When it comes to Mumbai City’s defence the first name that comes in the mind is Lucian Goian but not anymore because he hasn’t been retained by the management and some new names have been bought to play like Mato Grjic- the Croatian defender, Sarthak Golui from FC Pune City along with the likes of Subhashish Bose, Anwar Ali, Souvik Chakrabarti who are retained by the management after their decent performance from last season. Although Jorge Costa does not have too many defensive options to rotate, but the players he has are more than capable of building a strong defensive unit in the upcoming season if utilized properly. Mumbai management will have to be careful regarding the fitness of the defenders as they don’t have the luxury of adequate good quality backup options.
Midfield: This segment of the side looks lethal with players like Mohammed Rafique, Rowlin Borges, Paulo Machado, Bipin Singh, Pranjal Bhumij, Modou Sougou and new entrant Diego Carlos from FC Pune City. The midfield looks really good on paper and Mumbai City fans will expect them to be lethal on field as well.
Attack: The main man for Mumbai City FC this year will be Tunisian Striker Amine Chermiti who has joined the Islanders this year and people are desperately waiting to see – Machado, Sougou and Chermiti doing some magic at the Mumbai Football Arena this season. If Mumbai has to seal the top four, Chermiti & Co will have to deliver consistently in the upcoming campaign.
Though they have a solid wall as Amrinder Singh but the backup goalkeepers are not that experienced and any injury to Amrinder may just haunt the team and the management.
Mumbai City FC defence looks good on paper but the combination between Mato Grjic and Indian players like Souvik, Subhashish, and Pratik is something we will get to know very soon as Lucian Goian was someone who was leading the defence over the years so a change here might turn out to be better or may make things uneasy.
Midfield : 8.5/10
As I said it looks lethal with players like Rowlin, Machado, Rafique, Carlos and more and with this midfield attack they are probably going to be serious contenders for the title if utilized properly and put into appropriate formations.
Attack : 7.5/10
Completely depends on the trio of Machado, Sougou and Chermiti and if they get going there’s no stopping them.
Captaincy : During the pre-season games, Amrinder Singh was the Captain and mostly he is going to be wearing the Captain’s armband this season because of his experience and I feel it’s a good decision as he knows well what the team requires and how to manage pressure and stay calm.
Coaching: Jorge Costa has extended his contract with the club after a decent performance and this season will look to make it better and with the set of players he has he surely can.
Mumbai City FC started their pre-season against Real Kashmir FC which ended up in a goalless draw. Their 2nd pre-season game was against Gokulam Kerala FC in which Paulo Machado’s brilliant free kick gave the Islanders a one goal lead in the first half but later a goal from Marcus Joseph made it all equal and the match ended 1-1 draw against the running Durand and Bodousa Cup champions.
“We have new plans and new ideas and we have got a good bunch of players and I expect them to play to their potential and win matches for us”, said a determined Jorge Costa.
• Writer’s Take:
I feel Mumbai City FC is a balanced side with good Indian players as well as foreign players who have performed well last season. A lot depends on Jorge Costa this time as he will need to figure out the best possible formations and combinations to churn out the maximum from the players he has. If the attacking department of the Islanders remain in flow, then Mumbai may deliver some attractive football but whether that can be converted to points, for that we have to wait and watch.