Road running

ISL 2022-23: Anirudh Thapa and co. eye a better showing in new season

Springing towards a new season full of hopes and aspirations, Chennaiyin FC brings in considerable changes to the squad after a rather disappointing outing last time around. While there has been a persistent effort to rework on the team, the quality of resources they have acquired for this season is quite questionable.

Under newly appointed German coach Thomas Brdaric, the Marina Machans faces a real test when it lock horns with Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan FC in their opening encounter on October 10.

Last season performance (8th)

Finishing at an underwhelming 8th place in the table, it was undoubtedly a season to forget for the men in blue. Having found the back of the net just 17 times over their 20 matches, Chennaiyin FC turned out to be the lowest scoring team of the lot. The side put forward arguably the least attractive style of football during Bozidar Bandovic’s reign.

About the manager

With the late season exit of Bandovic during ISL 2021-22, the club appointed former German professional footballer Thomas Brdaric prior to the Durand Cup 2022. Mr. Brdaric has had short, distinct spells across numerous clubs before being part of the ISL club.

His stint at current German fourth tier club Tennis Borussia Berlin has been one of the longest and most successful as a manager, with a Points Per Match (PPM) score of 1.79. Whether Brdaric would survive the ISL mission and bring much needed uplift to the club is something the fans are eagerly anticipating to unearth. Mr. Brdaric has a colossal task in hand as the side has to improve in all aspects with regard to its performance last season.

Transfers roundup

Incoming: Chris White (MF), Monotosh Chakladar (LB), Lovepreet Singh (GK), Fallou Diagne (CB), Gurmukh Singh (CB), Vafa Hakhamaneshi (CB), Aakash Sangwan, Ajith Kumar (LB), Jiteshwor Singh (DM), Sourav Das (CM), Mohammed Rafique (CM), Jockson Dhas (CM), Sajal Bag (CM), Alexander Romario Jesuraj (RM)Vincy Barretto (RW)Kwame Karikari (CF)Petar Sliskovic (CF)Julius Duker (CM).

Outgoing: Slavko Damjanovic, Ariel Borysiuk, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vladimir Koman, Nerijus Valskis, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Vishal Kaith, Deepak Devrani, Germanpreet Singh, Melroy Assisi, Davinder Singh, Reagan Singh, Lukasz Gikiewicz.

Strengths

While Chennaiyin FC have not been able to perform substantially at the transfer market, their debatable signings have proved to formulate some promising changes during the Durand Cup. The club scored 12 times in 5 matches in the tournament, which is just five short of what they could achieve over the entire season in ISL 2021-22. The newest addition to the squad, Croatian forward Petar Sliskovic put on his scoring boots, netting in 3 goals. Thapa has been the powerhouse of the team, contributing immensely towards both sides of the pitch. The south Indian club has boosted its competence in the flanks with the introduction of Jesuraj and Barretto into the squad. On retaining star midfielder Rafael Crivellaro, the club’s hopes are only escalating in terms of their attacking prowess.

Weaknesses

Even though the side appears to shine at the attacking front, there are genuine concerns looming over their defensive capabilities. The men in blue conceded 8 times in just 2 matches against ISL clubs during the Durand Cup. There is also lack of an established right back in the squad owing to the departure of Reagen Singh.
Bench strength is another aspect that might worry Mr. Brdaric. The squad does not seem to offer any promising alternatives for defence and midfield positions. Besides the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Narayan Das, the team falls short of rightly experienced Indian assets as well. With contrasting potentials in different areas of the pitch, it is to be uncovered whether the team has struck the right balance.

Squad

(Subject to change)

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Lovepreet Singh, Samik Mitra

Defenders: Narayan Das, Akash Sangwan, Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Fallou Diagne, Gurmukh Singh, Sajid Dhot, Ajith Kumar, Monotosh Chakladar, Salam Ranjan Singh

Midfielders: Rafael Crivellaro, Jiteshwor Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul, Jockson Dhas, Julius Duker, Sajal Bag, Chris White

Forwards: Ninthoi Meetei, Vincy Barretto, Rahim Ali, Suhail Pasha, Petar Sliskovic, Kwame Karikari, Jobby Justin

Best XI



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