ISL 2018-19: Should Matias Mirabaje leave Mumbai City FC?
Mumbai City FC attacking midfielder Matias Mirabaje has been pushed to the fringes of the Indian Super League this season. Is there a way back?
Mirabaje during the 17/18 season with Delhi Dynamos started 12 games, registering three goals and one assist. His stint was marred by disciplinary problems that resulted in a four-match ban at a crucial juncture in the season. However, Mirabaje’s quality was never in question. He served sufficient notice of his talent, which eventually convinced Mumbai City to sign him.
But since then, things just haven’t gone according to plan for the former Delhi Dynamos man. Mirabaje has only been used sparingly so far this season but has made an impact when he has been on the pitch. His spectacular strike in the win at Kerala Blasters is a testament to his undeniable ability.
Coach Miguel Angel Portugal, during his time at Delhi Dynamos, operated with a 4-2-3-1 shape. Mirabaje was a vital cog in Miguel Portugal’s fluid system, usually operating in the Number. 10 role, as the creative link between midfield and attack.
However, Mumbai City FC coach Jorge Costa started the 18/19 season with a 4-3-3 formation, and in truth has never looked back since. That the Portuguese coach has preferred a hard working, rigid midfield three to support Bastos, Modou Sougou and Arnold Sissoko, has gone against Mirabaje, who is best at drifting in between the midfield and the forwards, offering less defensive protection.
With the likes of Paulo Machado, Raynier Fernandes, Milan Singh and Sehnaj occupying the three central midfield positions, the former Delhi Dynamos midfielder is faced with a challenge. Mirabaje would find it difficult to displace Machado, who has been firing on all cylinders, although that’s definitely not his preferred position.
On top of Mirabaje’s positional woes in Costa’s system, his manager seems to prefer players he has worked with previously. Rafael Bastos, being a case in point. The Brazilian has managed to start every single match despite being uninspiring and way below expectations. Mumbai City’s good run and stellar performances of other overseas players have somewhat camouflaged the underwhelming performances of Bastos.
So the question remains: where does it leave Mirabaje? The answer? It is safe to say; Mirabaje will have no shortage of suitors if Mumbai City FC decides to put him in the market. At just 29, the former San Lorenzo man has a lot to offer and given a chance, he can still cut it at a high level.
With Spanish midfielder Sergio Cidoncha out injured for the entire season, Mirabaje could be a fantastic option for Jamshedpur FC; his unique play style offering the club a different dimension.