Mumbai City FC look to gather pace as Chennaiyin FC aim for consistency

Chennaiyin FC are in search of their first home win of the season as they welcome an unbeaten Mumbai City FC side to set up an exciting Hero Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. A win for the Islanders would put them back in second place, four points behind Hyderabad FC. On the other hand, a win for the Marina Machans will propel them up to third, level on points with ATK Mohun Bagan. (Current Standings)

In their last match, Chennaiyin FC edged past East Bengal FC 1-0 and nabbed their first clean sheet of the season. However, the Marina Machans have conceded four goals in four games so far. Interestingly, three of those have come before the half-hour mark, signifying that the defence is quite vulnerable in the first half.

Defender Vafa Hakhamaneshi scored the winning goal in the last game before receiving his marching orders. The centre-back has started all games for the Marina Machans so far and will be a big miss against Mumbai as head coach Thomas Brdaric will be forced to start with a new defensive combination for the first time this season. (Club Statistics)

“Mumbai City FC is a big club, and it’s an honour to play against them. I have certain targets while their target is the championship. We first need to understand how to play against them considering their strengths and abilities”, said Brdaric.

“We have analysed them and will try to give our best,” he added.

Mumbai City FC were held to a third draw of the season in the last match against ATK Mohun Bagan. The Islanders have scored ten goals in five games so far. Half of those goals have come in the first half. This fact is a tad concerning for their opponents given their record of conceding goals in the opening 30 minutes. (Club Statistics)

Head coach Des Buckingham is pleased with his side's consistency so far this season. The Englishman has aided that by sticking to the same formation and making little to no tweaks to his starting eleven. The Islanders are likely to field their previous starting eleven against the Marina Machans on Saturday.

“We have started the season well. Five games in we are still unbeaten. But more importantly, we have shown consistency and improved with every game we have played so far. I think that was evident in the game against ATK Mohun Bagan,” said Buckingham. “If we can continue doing that, we can put ourselves in a position that we all want towards the end of the season,” he added.

The two sides have faced each other 16 times. The Marina Machans have won six games while the Islanders have emerged victorious on seven occasions. Only three games have ended in a draw. Last season, Mumbai City FC nabbed two 1-0 wins over Chennaiyin FC to complete the double.

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