Hero ISL 2022-23, Chennaiyin FC preview: With a new manager and playing style, Marina Machans look to bring back glory days

Chennaiyin FC have always remained the frontrunners for the Hero ISL title but the last few seasons have been below par by the club's standards as they have failed to make the top four in three of the last five campaigns.

For the 2022-23 season, the two-time Hero ISL champions have placed their faith in the newly appointed head coach Thomas Brdaric to bring back the glory days.

The Marina Machans will aim to be among the top six teams that will vie for the trophy in the knockout stage of the competition.

Season

Outcome

2014

1st (Semi-finalists)

2015

3rd (Champions)

2016

7th

2017-18

2nd (Champions)

2018-19

10th (bottom of the table)

2019-20

4th

2020-21

8th

2021-22

8th

With a unique style of football under the German head coach, the Marina Machans will look to embody competitive spirit and skill alongside a new identity heading into the new season.

Team Composition and Transfer Dealings

Thomas Brdaric has strengthened the backline, having signed four new defenders in the transfer window alongside veteran Narayan Das and Mohammad Sajid Dhot.

The side also has plenty of depth midfield and attacking areas of the pitch.

Overall, if we look at the Chennayin FC squad, the German coach seems to have the right mix at his disposal.

Transfers

INs: Vincy Barretto, Kwame Karikari, Fallou Diagne, Jiteshwor Singh, Julius Duker, Aakash Sangwan, Mohammad Rafique, Jockson Das, Prasanth K, Sourav Das, Alexander Jesuraj, Gurmukh Singh, Lijo Francis, Monotosh Chakladar, Petar Sliskovic, Ajith Kumar, Sajal Bag, Vafa Hakhamaneshi.

OUTs: Slavko Damjanovic, Ariel Borysiuk, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Vladimir Koman, Nerijus Valskis, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Vishal Kaith, Deepak Devrani, Germanpreet Singh, Reagan Singh, Lukasz Gikiewicz

To see the full squad of Chennaiyin FC, click here

Expert’s Take

Paul Masefield on the new manager:

It has been a very eventful off-season for CFC this season. 18 new signings along with a new coach at the helm, it promises to be an interesting season for them. 

With former German international Thomas Brdaric in charge, he will know exactly what he wants from the Super Machans this season. 

I think they will look to play a little more directly than we saw them play last season. The addition of all the foreign players being over 6’1’’ means that the team he will put out will be strong, physical, and very competitive. 

Add into the equation the wingers that have been signed and the legs in the middle of the park that have been signed as well, I think that they will cause problems to teams this season. They came back early for pre-season and I’m sure Brdaric will have used this time wisely to get his squad up to speed on what he wants from them for the upcoming season.

Paul Masefield on the club’s transfer window:

I think the business done in the transfer market has been good from CFC. It looks like the signings will fit into the way that Brdaric wants to play. 

The most important thing for me was securing a long term future for Anirudh Thapa. He is the heartbeat of the team and the club. The shrewd acquisition of Sourav Das and the experience of Md. Rafique will help tighten things up in the middle of the park. 

For me, with the height that they possess in the team, bringing in Vincy Barretto & Alexander Romario gives us an insight into how CFC will play this season. These two will excite us with their pace and wing play and I look forward to seeing them contribute to the team.

Paul Masefield on players to watch out for CFC:

Anirudh Thapa - The heartbeat of the club, his forward running, work rate and ability to find a pass will be important for the team this season.

Rahim Ali - I really like watching Rahim Ali. His first touch is exquisite and he can hold up play and bring others into the game as well.

Vincy Barretto - Whilst not starting as many games as he would have liked last season, Vincy showed us that his pace and running with the ball can cause anyone problems. I’m expecting a big breakthrough season from him this year.  

Fallou Diagne - Someone who has done it in the top leagues in Europe. A strong quality defender whose guidance on this team will be imperative if CFC are to be contenders this season.

Fixtures

Chennaiyin FC face heavyweights ATK Mohun Bagan, Bengaluru FC, and FC Goa in the opening month of October whereas they play their first home game against Bengaluru FC.

The Marina Machans end their league stage campaign in a home game against NorthEast United FC.  

For full fixtures of Chennaiyin FC, click here.

Paul Masefield’s verdict on Chennaiyin FC:  I think that this will be a tough season for CFC. For me, it is more of a transitional or building season for them. The reason I say this is because of all the new signings they have made along with a new manager at the helm, meaning they are going to need a little more time to gel and settle as a team into the way that Brdaric will want them to play. As I mentioned earlier, they will cause teams problems and upset a few teams throughout the season. My only concern is whether they can do it consistently enough to force themselves into the top 6.

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