Team Profile: Star-studded attack key to Mumbai’s 2019-20 ambitions
In his very first season in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL), Jorge Costa orchestrated Mumbai City FC’s fantastic run till the semi-finals of the 2018-19 campaign. The Portuguese developed a distinctive style that made it hard for oppositions to score, whilst posing a significant goal threat through quick counter-attacks. With the 2019-20 Hero ISL season right around the corner, progression, at the very least, will be expected of Costa and Co., who themselves, will be hoping to go that extra mile this time around.
Here's an analysis of how the Islanders have shaped up for the season ahead:
TRANSFER INS AND OUTS
Mumbai City had a more than decent summer transfer window, as top-quality players from all over the globe committed to the Islanders' cause ahead of the coming Hero ISL 2019-20 season. Tunisian centre-forward, Amine Chermiti is the headline buy and comes with a pedigree of having scored goals consistently in various countries over the course of his career. His countryman Mohamed Larbi has also been roped in and with the two having played together in the past, opens up the possibility of a fruitful partnership at the top half of the pitch. Former FC Pune City man Diego Carlos and Gabonese international Serge Kevyn represent smart acquisitions as both are blessed with pace and will be able to stretch games from out wide - an immensely important characteristic in Costa’s setup.
Rowllin Borges is another one of the big domestic signings who could have a big impact for Mumbai City. The midfielder was an absolute revelation in the Highlanders squad last season and may prove to be the ideal partner for the masterful Paulo Machado in the middle of the park. Former NorthEast defender Mato Grgic has also made a switch in the same direction as Borges. Other notable acquisitions include midfielder Surchandra Singh, defender Sarthak Golui and youngster Valpuia. Among the big names who have left Mumbai, are Lucian Goian, Arnold Issoko, Joyner Lourence, Milan Singh and Sehnaj Singh.
AT THE HELM
Despite having his fair share of trouble in the opening part of the 2018-19 season, Jorge Costa stuck to his principles, only making minor tweaks to his style of play and it soon paid dividends as he guided the side to the semis. In the Hero ISL 2019-20 season, the 47-year-old will be looking to refine his style, which, if achieved, could spur the Islanders into achieving something even more remarkable.
Potency in the final third of the pitch is arguably Mumbai City’s biggest strength going into the Hero ISL 2019-20 season. The signings of Chermiti, Kevyn and Carlos have reinforced an already powerful attacking unit featuring the marauding Machado and one of the top hitmen from last season - Modou Sougou. Borges’ arrival from NorthEast is another potential masterstroke from the management. The midfielder’s work rate and energy will open up new avenues for the club going forward, with Costa having the luxury to field more attacking players as opposed to last season.
AREAS OF CONCERN
Defensively though, the Islanders look a bit light compared to last season. The departure of Goian is a big factor in this narrative, as the Romanian was quite sensational for the club, completing a staggering 246 tackles, 93 interceptions and 379 clearances during his three-year stay with them. Arnold Issoko, likewise, was massively important to Costa’s style of play last season. He contributed eight assists and three goals in 18 matches, while was just as important at the other end, putting in the hard yards to provide ample cover to his fullback. Although the Islanders have replaced both these players, how well they are able to fit into the team remains to be seen.
GOALKEEPERS: Amrinder Singh, Ravi Kumar, Kunal Sawant
DEFENDERS: Pratik Chaudhari, Anwar Ali, Mato Grgic, Subhasish Bose, Sarthak Golui, Souvik Chakrabarti, Valpuia
MIDFIELDERS: Sourav Das, Kevyn Angoue, Mohammed Rafique, Paulo Machado, Raynier Raymond Fernandes, Bidyananda Singh, Rowllin Borges, Pranjal Bhumij, Diego Carlos, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Mohamed Larbi, Surchandra Singh, Bipin Singh Thounajam
FORWARDS: Amine Chermiti, Modou Sougou
Where will the Islanders finish this season? Tell us your predictions in the comments below: