Hero ISL 2022-23, Odisha FC preview: With Josep Gombau back at the helm, Juggernauts eye ultimate glory

Image Courtesy: Odisha FC Media

Odisha FC have been the great entertainers of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) since their entry into the league during the 2019-20 campaign. The team has scored and conceded plenty of goals, while playing an attractive and entertaining brand of football.

Despite enthralling their fans and the neutrals alike, the Juggernauts have missed out on qualifying for the all-important play-offs.

Odisha FC have been close on a couple of occasions, but not close enough.

Season

Outcome

2019-20

6th place

2020-21

11th place (bottom of the table)

2021-22

7th place

Ahead of the upcoming campaign, the Bhubaneswar-based side has reinstated former head coach Josep Gombau at the helm and backed him with plenty of summer signings.

Team composition and transfer dealings

Odisha FC are a youthful team with the right mix of experience. 16 out of the 32 members of their squad are either 25 or below the age of 25 with just six players aged above 30.

The Juggernauts are blessed with options in attacking and defensive areas but may be slightly lightweight in the midfield areas, given how crucial the midfield is to the way they play their football.

Gombau’s men have a good blend of Indian and foreign players across all areas of the pitch and their squad looks quite strong.

Transfers:

INs: Diego Mauricio, Amrinder Singh, Saul Crespo, Victor Rodriguez, Osama Malik, Pedro Martin, Narender Gahlot, Carlos Delgado, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Michael Soosairaj, Niraj Kumar, Nikhil Prabhu.

OUTs: Javi Hernandez, Victor Mongil, Hector Rodas, Airdai Cabrera, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Arshdeep Singh, Gaurav Bora, Ravi Kumar, Kamalpreet Singh, George D’Souza, Baoringdao Bodo, Premjit Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Saurabh Meher, Jonathas, Ankit Bhuyan.

To see the full squad of Odisha FC, click here 

Expert’s Take

Darren Caldeira on Odisha FC squad: Odisha FC have a much stronger squad than last season. It looks like they have got the balance right this time around as there’s a good mix of quality domestic players and foreigners.

Darren Caldeira on Odisha FC’s transfer business: Odisha FC have made some really good signings. Narender Gahlot coming in from the League Shield Winners, Jamshedpur FC. Raynier Fernandes is on loan from Mumbai City FC. Soosairaj as well. Mawai who looked like he would be their no.1 goalkeeper until they signed Amrinder Singh. The foreign signings are quality. Diego Mauricio is back in Odisha colours. Pedro Martin and Saul Crespo also had really good outings in the Durand Cup. Under Gombau they are already playing some good football.

Darren Caldeira’s players to watch out for: Issac Vanmalsawma and Pedro Martin

Fixtures

Odisha FC have a testing start to the new season as they begin their Hero ISL 2022-23 campaign away to last year’s League winners Jamshedpur FC. Their first home game is against Kerala BlastersFC who they beat in an entertaining match last year.

Odisha FC end their league stage campaign with a home match against Jamshedpur FC.

For full fixtures of Odisha FC, click here.

Darren Caldeira’s verdict: Odisha FC will just about make the top six or narrowly miss out.

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