Indian Super League (ISL) side Chennaiyin FC are known as the 'Comeback Kings'. The Marina Machans almost won their third ISL title in the 2019-20 season, after reaching the final all the way from the last place in the table.
However, the Chennai-based side let go of Owen Coyle and have shown belief in Csaba Laszlo. As always, Chennaiyin FC are a balanced yet unpredictable side with a decent Indian roster complemented by relatively unknown overseas names.
Let us have an in-depth look:
How will Chennaiyin FC line up?
Goalkeeper: Vishal Kaith
The 24-year-old shot-stopper is expected to be the go-to man for Csaba Laszlo's side to keep the goal. Kaith will face some competition from the likes of Karanjit Singh who has been the primary custodian for Chennaiyin FC in the recent few years and boasts of massive experience in the ISL.
Kaith is relatively young and is a potential emerging keeper for the Indian national team. His better acrobatic skills and fitness may just propel him ahead of the other three goalkeepers in the squad to the first team line-up.
Defense: Reagan Singh, Enes Sipovic, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala
Chennaiyin's new right-back Reagan Singh is slated to take charge at the right-back position. Singh can move up the pitch and will be an advantage for the team igoing up forward and scoring goals. His crosses have found several goals in the past. He was a consistent part of the first-team plans at NorthEast United in the previous season and is expected to repeat the same. Ahead of new signing Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Chennaiyin FC's trusted southpaw Jerry Lalrinzuala will impose himself as the first-choice left-back.
Bosnian central defender Enes Sipovic will marshal the defense in a partnership with experienced ISL defender Eli Sabia from Brazil. Both the central defenders have an economical track record with the ability to retain aerial supremacy during defense and attack.
Midfield: Memo Moura, Anirudh Thapa, Rafael Crivellaro, Thoi Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte
Memo Moura is one of the most underrated foreigners in the ISL. The Brazilian's role as the central defensive midfielder for Jamshedpur FC in the recent few years has been pivotal for his former side.
Moura will be looking to replicate the same at Chennaiyin FC as well. He will play the role of the sweeper and will be hoping that Anirudh Thapa drops back to assist in defense as well. However, Thapa's main role will be to act as the holding midfielder in the center of the pitch with Rafael Crivellaro. The latter will need Thapa to secure the midfield positions as the Brazilian may be required to play as a secondary striker to Esmael Goncalves.
Thoi Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte will take up the respective wings. Their immense pace, trickery and attacking mindset will add a further offensive fervor to a balanced Chennaiyin FC side. Chhangte will look to make frequent advances inside the penalty box while Thoi Singh can drop down on the right side to take up a more defensive role.
Forward: Esmael Goncalves
The experienced Bissau-Guinean striker is expected to act as a replacement for departing striker Nerijus Valskis. Also known as Isma, the former Esteghlal striker will act as the sole striker for Chennaiyin FC. Goncalves has lots of experience in the Asian-East European circuit and is touted to settle down in the Indian standards of club football quickly.Published 12 Nov 2020, 13:39 IST