Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC go into the 2020/21 season as one of the strong favourites. After the City Football Group (CFG) bought a majority stake in the team, the Islanders have been on a transfer spree.
FC Goa's 2019/20 core squad members like Mandar Rao Dessai, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall, and Hugo Boumous followed their manager Sergio Lobera to Mumbai City FC. International stars like Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC), Hernan Santana (Sporting Gijon), and Cy Goddard (Benevento Calcio) have also joined the team on loan deals. The Mumbai City FC line-up will be one of the strongest on paper.
How will Mumbai City FC line-up?
Goalkeeper: Amrinder Singh
Amrinder Singh will be an automatic choice for the Islanders between the sticks in the upcoming season. Singh has been first choice for Mumbai City FC over the years, irrespective of the management changes. The former Bengaluru FC and Pune FC shot-stopper has played 72 games in the Indian Super League for various clubs, kept 19 clean-sheets, and has an impressive record of just 1.38 goals conceded per game.
Singh kept 4 clean sheets and made 42 saves for the Islanders in the 2019/20 season. Nishit Shetty, Phurba Lachenpa and Vikram Singh will act as second-fiddle keepers to Amrinder Singh.
Defense: Mandar Rao Dessai, Tondomba Singh, Mourtada Fall, Sarthak Golui
Former FC Goa captain Mandar Rao Dessai, who followed Sergio Lobera to Mumbai City FC, is also expected to captain the Mumbai City FC side. Dessai is the most capped player in the Indian Super League with 97 appearances, and will start as the left-back. He initially was a left-winger, but has been effectively used at left-back over the years. His attacking approach has seen him score 6 goals and make 11 assists in his ISL career so far.
The lack of experience in defense may force Sergio Lobera to use Ahmed Jahouh or even Hernan Santana as a make-shift central defender. However, it is likely that the Spaniard pairs up Tondomba Singh with Mourtada Fall at the back.
Sarthak Golui has also been a regular starter at Mumbai City FC over the last few seasons, and is expected to take the right full-back position. Mohamed Rakip can also be used as a rotational option in place of Sarthak Golui.
Midfield: Ahmed Jahouh, Rowllin Borges, Hugo Boumous, Raynier Fernandes, Hernan Santana
Arguably the best defensive midfielder in the league, Ahmed Jahouh is an automatic option for Sergio Lobera in midfield. He is expected to partner Rowllin Borges in front of the defence as a shield. Jahouh may even be shifted deep into defensive pairings to add resolution and resilience at the back.
Mumbai City FC's biggest transfer of the season, Hugo Boumous, will play the role of attacking midfielder. Boumous' unbelievable ISL 2019/20 campaign, studded with 11 goals and 10 assists, made Mumbai pay out the transfer fee and get the French midfielder aboard.
Boumous is expected to be assisted by Raynier Fernandes and Hernan Santana on either wings. Japanese-English winger Cy Goddard can also play in the right side of the midfield.
Forward: Adam Le Fondre
Mumbai City FC's attacking line-up is star-studded with experienced ISL campaigner Bartholomew Ogbeche and A-League star Adam Le Fondre on loan from Sydney FC. However, with most of their overseason signings being used to secure the defence and boast the midfield, Lobera may end up using only Adam Le Fondre.
Le Fondre has an impressive record as striker. He played in various divisions of English football, including the Premier League, before joining A-League side Sydney FC. He scored 20 goals and made one assist in the 2019/20 A-League season and finished as the second in the top-scorer race behind Melbourne City FC star Jamie MacLaren.Published 16 Nov 2020, 18:31 IST