FC Goa were easily the most eye-catching team to watch last season with Sergio Lobera indoctrinating the Spanish way of football in no time. Though it helped them reach the playoffs, the essence faded away in later stages and their next target this season should ideally be to aim for the title.
Lobera had announced his arrival in ISL with as many as six Spanish players following him. The Spanish Armada not only gave him an identity but soon became the stars of the league themselves. However, his two main players – Manuel Lanzarote and Ferran Corominas - will not feature together this time around with the former moving to ATK. Goa
Lobera’s penchant for going on the attack has one big flaw, like most teams of the same nature – a weak defence. Despite Goa being the highest scorer in the league (42 goals) last time, they have also conceded as many as 28 goals – something Lobera would have to be careful of this time around.
He has brought in Bengaluru FC’s Lalthuammawia Ralte to stand between the sticks in place of the ever leaking Laxmikant Kattimani. The goalie from Goa was one of the main reasons for Goa conceding silly goals as he let in as many as 23 goals in 13 matches. Ralte was
However, goalkeeping wasn’t Goa’s only problem. The back four had their loopholes too and Goa
The seamless transition that Goa
Despite Lanzarote and Coro getting the numbers up top, Edu Bedia was the lynchpin to Goa’s play. Sitting deep in the midfield alongside Ahmed Jahouh, both of them played perfect fodder to the attacking midfield. As the season progressed and injuries crept in, Pronay Halder also played a crucial role in Bedia’s absence. Hence, his departure had left a huge void for Goa to fill and they have rightly got in Lenny Rodriguez from Bengaluru.
Playing in the defensive midfield, the combative midfielder excels in winning the ball and pushing it up. He might not be a creator like Bedia but Rodriguez has enormous experience playing for the likes of FC Pune City, Mohun Bagan AC, Churchill Brothers and more apart from Bengaluru. He could be a proper leadership material as well and Lobera’s 4-2-3-1 should get the
Lobera’s biggest pieces of the puzzle lie here. Though Lanzarote’s departure and the void
For me, the more effective option on the flank of Goa would be Mandar Rao Desai, who scored five goals and provided four assists last season when Lanzarote and Coro were running the show. The 26-year-old has shown good maturity up front and now with former Espanyol player Miguel Palanca also joining the side, Goa could expect the same intensity up top.
Strengths and Weaknesses
It is clear as
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