ISL 2019 | Squad analysis of Pune City FC for season five

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ISL 2019 | Squad analysis of Pune City FC for season five

Pune was the last team to qualify for the play-offs in the previous edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) before they were hammered by Bengaluru in the semi-finals. They have now appointed Miguel Angel Portugal as their new coach and are ready to go a couple of steps further this time around.

With all their hard work, both on and off the field, last season, Pune City FC could only reach till the semifinals by finishing fourth in the league stage with nine wins from 18 games. The franchise has to put in some extra effort this time around to get an entry into the final and eventually clinch the trophy. Miguel Angel Portugal, who had a forgettable first season in ISL with Delhi Dynamos last year, has been roped in as the man in-charge. The Spaniard has an experience of coaching the B and C teams of Real Madrid and Pune will want to cash in on that. The Pune-based franchise has roped in seven Indians and four foreigners this year to strengthen their side ahead of the fifth season.

Defence

The Pune goal looks to be in safe hands considering the presence of reliable Vishal Kaith. He conceded only 19 goals in 17 matches last season and will be gearing up to repeat the same this year. Two more young Indian goalies – Kamaljeet Singh and Anuj Kumar will be on the bench as Kaith’s back-ups.

With Portugal preferring the 4-2-3-1 formation, the defence of the Pune unit has been strengthened for the upcoming season by bringing in two foreign centre-backs in the form of Matt Mills and Martin Diaz, and two proven Indian defenders in the form of Ashutosh Mehta and Keenan Almeida. Almeida effected 11 tackles and 15 clearances in 10 matches that he played for the defending champions last season while Mehta was also effective for ATK in the right-back last time. Mills’ inclusion has given more wings to their defence now as the Englishman will take care of the centre-back and his experience with some top English clubs including Leicester City will be of great help for Pune. Uruguayan centre-back Diaz, who came in from North East United FC, will try to get things right if the coach decides to go with his preferred formation. Their defence also consist of Indian players retained from the previous season like Sahil Panwar, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Wayne Vaz, Gurtej Singh and Lalchhuanmawia.

Midfield

The Brazilian combination of skipper Marcelinho and Diego will be in charge of the left wing in the midfield while they have roped in new names in the form of Indians Alwyn George from Bengaluru FC, Gabriel Fernandes and Nikhil Poojari from East Bengal along with Spanish midfielder Jonathan Vila. Poojari and Fernandes both played as right wingers together for the Kolkata-based club. Signing of Vila will be blessing for the Pune midfield which already has Marcelinho, Diego and Marko Stankovic. Gani Nigam and Ashique Kuruniyan are also a part of the midfield but are likely to spend most of their time on the bench for the Pune franchise.

Attack

Ian Hume, the all time highest goal scorer of the ISL, has joined the Pune side after his successful stint with Kerala to make their attack stronger. But the Canadian striker is expected to miss the first half of the season because of his injury. Indian striker Robin Singh has also come into FC Pune City from ATK after scoring only one goal from 11 games last season. Uruguayan forward Emiliano Alfaro has been retained from the previous edition in spite of his average performance as he played 19 games but managed to score only nine goals and assisted on a couple of occasions.

Strength and weaknesses

The defence and midfield of the Orange Army looks perfect after the addition of Mills, Diaz, Ashutosh, Vila and Alwyn this year. Mills will take the charge in the defence while Vila will only make the midfield strong which already has Marko Stankovic, Marcelinho and Diego from the last season. Although Ian Hume is a part of their plan from this year but his absence from the first half of the league is a major blow for the team and now the forward line looks weak and heavily dependent on Robin Singh and Alfaro. If the attack line is sorted out for the Men in Orange, they can certainly try to go ahead to clinch the trophy this time around after missing out on the previous season after being knocked out from the semi-finals.

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