Mumbai City FC manager Jorge Costa has made several changes in his team this season, but will it pay off?
Mumbai City FC after finishing third in the 2018-19 Indian Super League campaign, are in the hunt for their first-ever league title. Getting over the disappointment of the past, the team is now back roaring under the tutelage of Jorge Costa, who has brought upon several positives since his arrival in 2018.
Known for making the most of the limited resources at his disposal, the Portuguese, who won the UEFA Champions League under Jose Mourinho in 2004, made MCFC a force to reckon with last season, with the team winning only a game less than the eventual winners, Bengaluru FC.
Changes in the team
There have been a few changes in personnel as the team entered the new season of the competition. Versatile winger Arnold Issoko, who had seven assists last season (joint-most) left for France, while Rafael Bastos, who scored five, made his move back to his home country, Brazil, leaving Costa with big voids to fill.
The biggest miss perhaps is going to be that of Lucian Goian, a towering centre-back who moved to Chennaiyin FC this year after spending three seasons with Mumbai. Compensating for it, Mato Grgic was signed from NorthEast United ahead of the season. Other incomers include the likes of Rowllin Borges – a firm shield of the back four, Amine Chermiti - a poacher with a keen eye for goal, Sarthak Golui - a promising defender, and a versatile forward, Serge Kevyn. All of them are expected to fill up the vacancies created since last season.
Goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, who kept six clean sheets last season (joint-most with Pawan Kumar and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu), has been an ever-present figure between the sticks for Mumbai and there’s absolutely no reason for Costa to make a shift.
As far as the back-four is concerned, it remains to be seen how exactly Grgic manages to complement his new teammates.
The midfield, on paper, seems completely in place and the arrival of Borges has only made it stronger. The kind of impact Issoko had in the previous season though is expected to be felt in some way as his direct approach and lung-bursting runs down the right-flank were pivotal for the team.
Furthermore, experienced campaigner Paulo Machado will look to have a similar impact, while the likes of Raynier Fernandes, Kevyn, Mohamed Larbi, Diego Carlos and others provide further strength in the department.
Challenging Ferran Corominas for the Golden Boot is a daunting task, but Chermiti and Modou Sougou could well and truly make an attempt to unsettle the Spaniard. The striking duo can indeed wreak havoc, but can they get enough services from the midfield? Only time will tell.
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Ravi Kumar, Kunal Sawant.
Defenders: Mato Grgic, Souvik Chakraborty, 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.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @MumbaiCityFC