Mumbai City FC had one of those forgettable seasons in ISL 2018, where their erratic form did not pose them as a threat to others and neither could they be taken lightly. They finished seventh and parted ways with Alexandre Guimaraes and consequently went for a huge revamp for this season.
Mumbai’s new coach, Jorge Costa, seems like a huge gamble. The Portuguese sure has a rich resume playing for the likes of FC Porto and managing teams like Braga and the Gabon national team, but his unfamiliarity with ISL doesn’t necessarily make Mumbai one of the title contenders as the franchise would want to believe.
While the side needed a complete overhaul to iron out the flaws from their previous season, it was the defence that needed maximum exodus and Mumbai has rightly overseen it. They have stuck to her first choice goalie from last season, Amrinder Singh, despite him conceding 28 goals in 16 games, the hinting that the management blamed the defence line more.
With Gerson Viera leaving the club, Costa has brought in Arnold
It would be interesting to see how Costa uses his midfield especially after the departure of Everton Santos and Achille Emana from last season. Sticking with the experienced Sanju Pradhan, who was a constant presence on the wings last season, Costa has brought in Paulo Machado, who is expected to play the pivot for them.
Having six Portugal caps to his name, Machado has played for clubs like FC Porto, Dinamo Zagreb, Saint Etienne, and Olympiacos among others and could pair up with the promising Mohammed Rafique. Costa has mostly played 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 in his previous clubs, stressing the importance of central midfielders being the lynchpin. And both Machado and Rafique are expected to be responsible for maintaining the structure. ISL veteran Souvik Chakrabarti could be a good backup who has the experience to fill in as and when required.
FC Pune City’s creator from last season, Matias Mirabaje, comes in to unlock defences up top. With the likes of Pradhan and Sehnaj Singh alongside him, Mumbai
Proven strikers are difficult to get hold of in ISL and Mumbai have lost two of their top scorers from last season - Santos and Balwant Singh. Costa has taken yet another risk in getting in Rafael Bastos to the fore. While the Brazilian does have a reputation of scoring well in his previous clubs, the 33-year-old is well past his prime and was without a club before joining Mumbai.
Senegal’s Modou Sougou could be an interesting option for Costa because of his experience in major leagues as his previous clubs include Marseille and Sheffield Wednesday. However, we see it more as two separate kinds of forwards who could provide different options for the playmaker. Apart from them, Mumbai also
Strengths and Weaknesses
Mumbai’s biggest strength would be their coach. The Portuguese
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