Talking Point: Who will emerge on top in the battle for midfield supremacy?

NorthEast United FC will be hoping to keep their unbeaten start to Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 intact as they face Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday. Unbeaten in five games, the Highlanders will be confident about securing another win when they square off against a Chennaiyin team that will go into the game on the back of consecutive defeats. That said, the Marina Machans have proven that they can beat any side on their day and here we discuss some of the factors that could dictate the outcome of the contest.

Chhangte needs to be more clinical

Lallianzuala Chhangte has found himself in promising positions time and again this season but his end product has often let him down. Chhangte’s 16 touches in the opposition box puts him second on the list among Chennaiyin players and he’s also made the second highest passes (81) in the attacking third for the Marina Machans. Having said that, it’s worth mentioning that his completed crosses and key passes have improved from last season. However, his decision-making when in key areas needs to get better soon if he wants to add to his one assist and open his goal-scoring account in Hero ISL 2020-21.

Camara is NorthEast’s midfield general

Khassa Camara has had more touches (243) for NorthEast than any other player from the team. He’s also attempted the most tackles (27); 10 of which have been successful. His presence in the centre of the park and ability to pick out a pass as well as breakdown opposition attacks by snuffing out danger has made him a key player for the Highlanders. The perfect number 6 for NorthEast’s system, Camara is also responsible for most passes (176), most interceptions (15) and most recoveries (28) by a NorthEast player. A part of the spine of the team, he will be entrusted with keeping Chennaiyin’s attacking talents at bay.

Crivellaro is yet to hit the heights of last season

Rafael Crivellaro was Chennaiyin’s main playmaker last season with seven goals and eight assists to show for his efforts but his start to the ongoing campaign has been a tad underwhelming. He’s yet to have made a goal contribution for the Marina Machans in Hero ISL 2020-21 and isn’t completing passes as well as dribbles with the frequency of last season. His understanding with Chennaiyin frontman Jakub Sylvestr hasn’t fully developed either and the sooner both players are on the same page, the better it is for the Marina Machans. Still graceful and a threat on the ball, Crivellaro will be hoping a goal or assist against the Highlanders can kick-start his campaign from a personal point of view.

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