Mumbai City FC squad, season preview, prediction | ISL 2019-20
Mumbai City FC will begin their Indian Super League campaign on the 24th of October when they travel to Kochi to face the Kerala Blasters. After a semi-final finish last season, the Islanders will look to go at least one better this season.
The additions of the likes of Mato Grgic and Rowllin Borges gives additional steel to a side that was already impregnable in midfield and defence last season, with the joint most number of clean sheets in the league - eight alongside FC Goa and NorthEast United FC.
Amrinder Singh, who made the most saves in the ISL last season, is a perennial rock between the sticks for Mumbai City. Amrinder will have to ensure that he is up to the task straightaway, having spent a large part of the last four months on the bench for the Indian national team. Bengaluru FC's Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been the default starter for Igor Stimac's side.
Jorge Costa's way of playing is unlikely to change. Mumbai will be a difficult side to break down and they've got the pace to hit teams on the break, with the likes of Modou Sougou in attack.
The second-top scorer of the ISL last season has extended his contract with the Islanders but he will miss his partners-in-crime, with Arnold Issoko and Rafael Bastos both having left at the end of last season.
Mumbai City FC Squad
Perhaps the biggest miss in the Mumbai squad will be Lucian Goian, who spent three seasons at the club and was adored by the fans for how he took to Mumbai and India. His replacement is more-than-capable though, with Mato Grgic having admirably led the NorthEast United defence last season.
Amine Chermiti comes in boasting an exciting CV and seeing how he operates in tandem with Sougou is going to be very interesting.
Issoko will be another huge miss for Mumbai, after his exploits last season. His direct pace and power on the right flank was such a useful outlet on the counter-attack and he was someone who could provide Sougou with a host of chances.
Gabonese Serge Kevyn has been brought in to fill the void in the squad left by Issoko, so it will be interesting to see how long he takes to settle into his new surroundings.
Rowllin Borges and Sarthak Golui have also been added to the squad. Borges will take the place of Sehnaj Singh, who has gone to ATK, while Golui provides additional options at the back, with his ability to play across the back four.
Full Mumbai City FC Squad
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Ravi Kumar, Kunal Sawant.
Defenders: Mato Grgic, Souvik Chakrabarti, Subhasish Bose, Pratik Chaudhari, Anwar Ali, Valpuia, Sarthak Golui.
Midfielders: Paulo Machado, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges, Serge Kevyn, Mohamed Larbi, Diego Carlos, Sourav Das, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Bipin Singh, Bidyananda Singh, Surchandra Singh, Pranjal Bhumij.
Forwards: Amine Chermiti, Modou Sougou.
After the semi-final finish last season, it was a no-brainer to award Jorge Costa a new contract. The Portuguese, unlike Sergio Lobera, has made his name not for an attractive style of play but for managing to build an effective team that uses the squad's strengths.
Despite not being a side like FC Goa, Mumbai did manage to rack up the goals on occasion, as highlighted by a 6-1 drubbing of Kerala Blasters in David James's last game in charge of Kerala Blasters.
Costa will not, and need not change his ways but his biggest challenge this season will be to ensure that the likes of Issoko and Bastos are not missed. Paulo Machado could play a little bit higher up the field to provide creativity but the goal-scoring burden looks likely to be exclusively shared between Chermiti and Sougou.
Like a lot of sides outside last season's finalists, Mumbai will definitely fancy their chances of a play-off spot but a lot will depend on the number of goals they can get.
In Sougou, they have an out-and-out goalscorer capable of finding the back of the net on his day but have Mumbai adequately recruited those to provide service to him? Only time will tell.
If Mumbai do make the playoffs, it would be on the back of Sougou and Chermiti. Can they challenge Coro's two-season hold on the Golden Boot?Published 17 Oct 2019, 10:00 IST