Talking Tactics: Key battles that could decide the Jamshedpur FC vs Mumbai City FC clash

Fourth will battle fifth when Jamshedpur FC will lock horns with Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Thursday. Owen Coyle’s side come into this game in good form, winning four of the last five games. A dominant victory over Kerala Blasters in their previous match, puts them in good stead going into this game.

In complete contrast, Mumbai City FC comes into this game having won only two of their previous five matches, however, the two victories have come in their previous two games. Looking to bring some consistency in their play, this match could be the statement of intent that the Islanders are searching for.

Match 67 Preview: Jamshedpur FC bank on recent form against resurgent Mumbai City FC

With time running out and both sides level on points in the league table, this match is crucial in deciding their fates for the season.

There will be numerous engaging clashes throughout the match. Individual match-ups, while rarely decisive in football, have the ability to alter the outcome of this clash.

Here are three tactical fights to keep a watch out for.

The battle of the dead-ball

This is not the usual attack vs defense dual, but it is going to be an attack vs attack one. It may seem odd, but history suggests that this will be a close match and so, the ability of both these players to score from set plays becomes very important.

This season, Greg Stewart has scored five of his seven goals from set-pieces, with two goals coming in JFC’s victory over Kerala Blasters FC. Also, the majority of his creative output comes from dead-ball situations with four of his six assists coming from them.

Mourtada Fall has not been shy in that department either. In his time with the Islanders, the Senegalese defender has scored six goals. With the Men of Steel having the best defensive record in the Hero ISL conceding only 15 goals (8 goals from set-pieces), Fall’s immaculate aerial ability may be the key for MCFC to do the double over Jamshedpur FC.

Igor Angulo versus Eli Sabia

The term “penalty box poacher” gets thrown around for a lot of players, but it completely fits Igor Angulo. The Spaniard has scored all of his 10 goals this season, from inside the box.

Additionally, he has attempted the second-most shots from inside the box and has scored the most goals in the league since the start of the 2020-21 Hero ISL season.

This is where Eli Sabia will play a crucial role. The Brazilian completes the third and fourth most clearances and interceptions per 90 minutes respectively.

With the striker rejuvenated following his brace against Odisha FC, Sabia will have his work cutout to prevent him from scoring his second goal of the season against MCFC.

The clash between the creator and destroyer

Ahmed Jahouh has been one of the most influential players in the Mumbai City FC squad this season. The dynamic midfielder has contributed to three goals and seven assists in his 14 matches this season. This means that 34% of the Islander’s goals have either been created or scored by the Moroccan.

But, this does not mean that he shys away from his defensive duties. The 33-year-old completes the most tackles and interceptions in Des Buckingham's team too. This makes him extremely dangerous to play against.

That is where Pronay Halder comes in. He makes 6.6 defensive actions per 90 minutes in the Hero ISL and coupled with his 1.6 blocks, the fourth highest in the JFC team, it will be his duty to restrict Jahouh in the game.

An engaging battle is set to unfold between the two midfield maestros and it will determine the course of the match.

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