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ISL: Mumbai City FC vs Delhi Dynamos - What we can expect - Preview and Prediction

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Preview
2.31K   //    05 Nov 2014, 16:20 IST

Its fifth versus sixth in match 22 of the Hero Indian Super League on Wednesday evening as Mumbai City FC get set to host Delhi Dynamos. The league has picked up pace with each of the teams gunning for the top four qualification places and this particular fixture has a lot riding on it for these two teams who are level on points. A win could take one of them back into the top four.

Venue & Kick-Off

Its a second consecutive home game at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in the space of four days for Mumbai after their clash with Kerala Blasters on Sunday. They won’t be complaining though as both their victories so far have come at home and they will be looking to register back-to-back wins for the first time in the tournament.

Kick-Off: November 5 – 7:00 PM (IST)

Form 

Mumbai’s 1-0 win against Kerala on Sunday took them off the bottom of the table and into fifth place. It was a much needed win for Peter Reid’s men as they had had a disappointing start until then, losing three of their first four games. 

Their stay there was brief though as FC Pune City usurped them with a 1-0 win of their own the following day. Nicolas Anelka provided the breakthrough with a superbly taken free-kick and he looked good the whole game combining well with his midfield to create good chances for his team. Mumbai will be hoping to keep this up and not rescind back with a loss.

Delhi are level on points with Mumbai (6 points), but are ahead because of their better goal difference. That is largely down to their 4-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC at home last week, but since the high of that win the team has stuttered a bit. They followed it up with a goalless draw against NorthEast United FC and suffered their first ever loss after conceding a last-minute goal away at FC Goa. So they are in major need of points to arrest that mini-slump. 

“I thought we played okay. We were in the driver’s seat until we shipped those late goals. I think we have played pretty decently in the ISL so far. Football is a funny old game. I thought we lacked some sharpness leading into the final stages in the game against Goa. Some of the players were slightly fatigued because of the last game that they had played. A couple of mistakes were enough for us to lose the game”, said Delhi coach Harm van Veldhoven ahead of the game.

Mumbai City FC: Lost 0-3 at Atletico de Kolkata; Won 4-0 versus FC Pune City; Lost 0-2 versus NorthEast United; Lost 1-5 at Chennaiyin FC; Won 1-0 versus Kerala Blasters.  

Delhi Dynamos: Drew 0-0 versus FC Pune City; Drew 1-1 at Atletico de Kolkata; Won 4-1 versus Chennaiyin FC; Drew 0-0 versus NorthEast United FC; Lost 1-2 at FC Goa.

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Possible Line-Ups

Mumbai City FC (4-2-3-1): Paul, Mondal, Friedrich, Cmovs, Nabi, Letzelter, Stohanzl, Didika, Moritz, Anelka, Subhash

Reid could keep the same team that did so well against Kerala

It was a formation that worked well for them in the last game. All units of his team came together well to provide a much-needed three points.

“I am absolutely delighted with the way my boys played. We had taken part in a lot of video sessions and concentrated on getting our defensive tactics in order. Our priority was to keep it tight at the back. We were too open in the last game and paid the penalty. Once we got the goal, I knew that Kerala would come at us, but we defended superbly. My boys performed their roles beautifully and I cannot be happier for them,” an elated Reid said after the match

Though the margin of victory was just a goal, in fairness, it could have been much larger had Mumbai been more clinical with their finishing and final ball. Both Andre Moritz and Subhash Singh missed excellent opportunities to score and Nadong Bhutia struck the crossbar with his effort.

“We could have won by more than one goal. Kerala were caught on the break so many times towards the end of the game. If Subhash (Singh) could have finished off the chance that Anelka had created, then I would have been a happier man. We need to finish what we create and not get complacent,” Reid had noted.

Jan Stohanzl in the middle of the park will once again be crucial to things; the tireless midfielder has been one of Mumbai’s most consistent performers so far and will look to support both attack and defence. Subhash played in a wide right role last game allowing Anelka to roam upfront, Reid mentioning it in the post-match press conference – “If you noticed, Kerala were trying to stifle him by surrounding him every time he got the ball. We had made a conscious decision to play him further up the pitch today so that he could get on the end of things.”  
 
They will keep swapping positions through the game when necessary though, allowing Anelka to drop back and play facilitator, which he did to great effect against Kerala. The most likely change to this line-up could be Bhutia coming in for either of Didika or Subhash.
 

Delhi Dynamos (4-4-2): van Hout, Shouvik, Raymaekers, Anwar, Adil, Malswamatulunga, Herrero, Mulder, Dias, Junker, Del Piero

Hans Mulder’s fitness (left) is a key concern for Delhi

Alessandro Del Piero came on from the bench in the loss against Goa; it will be interesting to see if Delhi coach van Veldhoven decides to start with the Italian legend against Mumbai. Delhi’s hardworking midfielder Hans Mulder is not fully fit and will be a game-time decision according to Veldhoven.

“Hans is not fully fit. He is undergoing treatment and we will assess him before the game tomorrow. Hopefully, we will be in a better position to judge whether he will be able to play then. It’s touch and go,” he said.

That could well influence things as Mulder’s absence could force the coach into keeping Del Piero on from the get go. Having played a 4-3-3 in almost every single game, Delhi strayed from that pattern and went with a 4-4-2 for the first time in the game against Goa.

It could well be that they chose to tone down their attacking instincts being an away game which means that we could very well see a repeat of that tonight. He’s also chosen not to focus too much on Mumbai, instead choosing to concentrate on his team’s end of the bargain.

“Yes, Mumbai were very good defensively, but you must remember that they have been not that consistent,” he observed. “Having said that, I am here to concentrate on my own squad first. With all due respect to Mumbai, I am interested in how my lads perform and I am confident in their ability to deliver”, added van Veldhoven.

Possible Line-Ups

Key Facts & Stats

  • In their last match against Kerala Mumbai had 18 shots out of which 10 were on goal, put in 11 crosses and forced seven corners while retaining 52 % possession
  • Both Mumbai and Delhi are on 6 points from five games, but Delhi are ahead thanks to a better goal difference [Delhi are (+2) while Mumbai are (-3)]
  • Mumbai’s Andre Moritz has had 19 shots on goal in the tournament, the second highest. 11 of those have been on target, again second highest.
  • Delhi forward Mads Junker has been caught offside the highest in the tournament so far (5 times)
  • Delhi have conceded the least number of goals so far (4), along with Kolkata and NorthEast United, while Mumbai have conceded the most (10)

Players to Watch

Jan Stohanzl: Anelka is of course expected to play a vital role, but Stohanzl has been part of every single game so far for Mumbai and has performed really well. He helps them in playing the ball out of defence and is good at supporting his forward players. He’s also not afraid to get stuck in and stop the opposition from gaining yards. He is going to be crucial to Mumbai. Watch out for his battle with Hans Mulder if the Delhi man is fit to play.

Kristof van Hout: Considering Mumbai are playing at home, there are bound to be a lot of chances created by the home team. van Hout in Delhi’s goal could be in for a busy night, but so far he has put in some notable performances and will be confident of keeping Mumbai’s attack at bay.

The Mumbai defence: The most inconsistent part of Mumbai’s team, all eyes will be on the defence. They kept a clean sheet last time around, but we’ve been here before. In the game against Pune, they scored five while not conceding any and immediately after in the next game at home, they drew a blank and conceded two. 

Prediction

Delhi have been goal-shy away from home, not scoring more than a goal so far on their travels and are winless. You reckon they will have to in order to have a chance of bagging the full three points. Also their late capitulation against Goa will be something of a worry for them, though for the large part of the tournament they have defended well. Del Piero hasn’t fired yet for the Dynamos and they will look to him for some inspiration.

Mumbai are coming into the game with confidence on the back of their win over Kerala. It will be a question of more of the same from Reid’s men as far as the home fans are concerned. They definitely possess the weapons in attack to score and I see them scoring against Delhi too. Can they keep them out like they did Kerala? Maybe not, but with the team looking to be settling into a nice rhythm, they can definitely win this one.

Mumbai City FC 2-1 Delhi Dynamos

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