Odisha FC losing 2-4 to FC Goa has given Jorge Costa’s Mumbai City FC a stellar chance of moving up to the fourth spot in the Indian Super League. Mumbai, having won two of their last five games, now welcome NorthEast United FC at Mumbai Football Arena on Friday, and expect it to be a cracking encounter.
The two teams played an entertaining 2-2 draw the last time they met this season, but their respective fortunes have taken a giant leap in recent times. The visitors, as we speak, are without a win in their last eight games, with their last victory coming way back in November 2018 against Hyderabad FC.
As far as the statistics are concerned, they have scored a mere three away goals this season – least of any team – and are without a goal in their last three away games (all defeats). With Asamoah Gyan out, finding the back of the net has been hard to come by. They are, in fact, the only team to score less than 10 goals this season.
For Mumbai, two defeats and a draw in their last four outings have put Costa under pressure, but he knows a win over Friday’s opponent would put his side firmly in contention of making to the playoffs.
Expect a tactical shift
Costa, since the beginning of the season, has glued to his 4-3-3 approach until the Bengaluru FC game; a 2-0 win. Moving into a 4-2-3-1 tactic, Mumbai registered an impressive 2-0 victory over the defending champions. And the shift has indeed reaped rewards.
Against Hyderabad last Friday, Costa went with the same team and the same 4-2-3-1 tactic. The only change he was forced to make was replace injured Modou Sougou with Serge Kevyn. The game saw the Islanders limited their opponent’s wrath, as Hyderabad were only allowed eight attempts on goal, five of which came from outside the box.
In the post-match conference though, Costa went on to add that his team didn’t create as many chances as he would have liked. So, will he switch back to his old-school 4-3-3? That remains to be seen.
Mumbai improving their home record
For a team battling for a place in the playoffs, a record of two wins in seven home games is simply disappointing. They are, in fact, not only carrying the third worst home record in the league, but third worst average points per match in the league with 1.17 points/match.
The record, however, has seen a massive upturn in recent times, as they have registered two wins in their last three home games. Furthermore, considering NorthEast United’s record at the Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai City fans have plenty of reasons to cheer for. NorthEast have played three matches at the aforementioned venue and have only won a solitary game, losing twice. They have been defeated six times by Mumbai City in their ISL history. They have only lost to ATK FC more times in the ISL so far with seven.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter / @MumbaiCityFC