Chennaiyin FC’s strengths, weaknesses ahead of ISL final vs. Bengaluru FC
Ahead of the Indian Super League (ISL) final between Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, here’s a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the one-time champions.football Updated: Mar 16, 2018 17:02 IST
The last couple of seasons have been a topsy turvy ride for Chennaiyin FC. The Chennai-based side won the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2015 after defeating FC Goa in the final but they followed it up with an extremely disappointing run next season, when they finished in seventh position.
However, the tide has turned in their favour once again and John Gregory’s men will look to clinch their second ISL title when they face Bengaluru FC in the final on Saturday.
Here’s a look at the strengths and weakness of Jeje Lalpekhlua & Co ahead of the much-anticipated summit clash.
Bench strength - A huge bonus for Chennaiyin FC this season has been the presence of two very creative players who can change games on their own in Rene Mihelic and Jaime Gavilan on the bench. Mihelic is a set-piece specialist with two goals and four assists to his name this season while Gavilan provided the assist for Jeje Lalpekhlua to scoring his team’s second goal against FC Goa in the semis.
Defensive stability - The Chennaiyin defence can be hard to break down thanks to their excellent work ethic and they prefer to play small passes within themselves to maintain possession. They have not made many changes to the back-line and they will most likely go with Henrique Sereno and Mailson Alves in central defence along with Jerry Lalrinzuala (left-back) and Inigo Martinez (right-back).
Jeje Lalpekhlua - It was not an ideal start of the season for Jeje as he struggled to get going in the early stages. But the striker from Mizoram has recovered brilliantly and his double strike against FC Goa earned his team a spot in the final. With 9 goals to his name, he has been a star for Chennaiyin FC and they will be depending on him to guide them to their second ISL trophy.
Lack of a match-winner - In 2015, Stiven Mendoza and Elano produced brilliant performances to guide Chennaiyin FC to their first title. However, the team currently lacks a quality player who can turn the game on its head. Footballers like Jeje and Raphael Augusto has produced moments of brilliance, but they are still lacking the flair that a player like Sunil Chhetri can provide for Bengaluru FC.
Lack of discipline – The two centre backs – Henrique Sereno and Malison Alves – have 13 yellow cards between them this season and their tendency to go for the early tackle could potentially be an issue for their team. The rest of the side has also suffered in this area with 46 yellow cards (the highest in the league) to their name and players like Udanta Singh and Miku will look to exploit this weakness.
Goal drought - Chennaiyin FC had the lowest number of goals among the four semi-finalists this season and that has been a major issue for John Gregory’s team. Apart from Jeje, the team has no prolific goalscorers with Inigo Calderon and Mohammed Rafi (3 goals) being the only two with more than two goals to their name. That can be a major issue against a seasoned team like Bengaluru FC.