Though Mumbai returned from Kochi with a valuable point in what looked like a lost cause, their fans know well that they have to improve a lot if they are to compete for the title. Here are the studs and duds from the 1-1 draw, which could indicate what to expect from whom in the next few months.
David James’ tactics don’t rely on high-intensity pressing and it was seen yesterday whenever Mumbai advanced with their slow buildups. Kerala’s backline receded rhythmically with their opponents and only went for the kill when they reached an odd five yards outside the box. And if there is one player who executed this plan impeccably, it was Jhinghan. He exacted four tackles, one block, and made eight clearances. Playing out from the back, he had a passing accuracy of 81% that hardly affronted the hosts with defensive lapse. Apart from being disciplined at the back, Jhinghan also excels in reading the game and James has rightly kept him as the commander. Selected as the “Hero of the Match” in yesterday’s match, Jhinghan was excellent in holding his
To be honest, Mumbai City FC’s game was far from deserving of a win. It’s not as if they didn't create chances, but their feeble intent in the attacking third and wasteful chances was at one point immensely frustrating. However, while
Matej Poplatnik is doing what Kerala fans had expected from Dimitar Berbatov, who failed terribly, last season. The Slovenian striker started erringly in the first game against ATK where he had missed numerous chances before scoring from a deflected shot and looked clueless for most of the times. But, James seemed to have defined his responsibilities for this one and he did it brilliantly.
Halicharan Narzary and Seiminlen Doungel
If we have to go with the opening two games, James has clearly been the frontrunner in the race of being the most clinical manager in terms of transfers. While the likes of Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, and Goa didn’t have enough reasons to go for a complete overhaul, a seventh-finished Kerala Blasters side had every reason to. However, with a nascent manager at the helm, James wasn’t given much budget to shape and he brought in these two wing duo as the big names. And as far as their efficacy is concerned, they have been tremendous. They were effective against ATK too but it took one match for them to click properly. Their relentless chase and phenomenal speed on the flanks kept Mumbai occupied throughout. And apart from their offensive exploits, as the duo combined to give their side the lead in the 24th minute, their contribution defensively also reflects the English way of football. From them Kerala got fours shot at goal, five crosses, six tackles, and two clearances, which proves how James is getting it right with them.
This was the second consecutive game of the season that the Senegalese striker has flopped and we are not talking about his goalless run, but his lack of footballing knowledge. Mumbai wingers putting in a cross and not finding Sougou in the right place has been an endless sight for the fans this season so far, and there is only one man to fault here – Sougou himself. While Mumbai could be blamed for a faulty setup as their slow buildup gives enough time for their opponents to fall back and take positions, Costa’s side still sees much of the ball thrown inside the box and Sougou’s job to provide the finish spoils it. Mumbai’s wingers and full-backs combined to put in as many as eight crosses yesterday and Sougou failed to meet most of them finishing the match with just one shot at
Quite literally, Kerala’s only weak link in the entire match yesterday, Dheeraj proved that his inexperience could come back to bite David James in the
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