Mumbai City FC are the most star-studded yet underachievers since the inaugural campaign of Indian Super League having finished at seventh and sixth respectively. However, they have reconstructed their lineup and brought in legendary Uruguayan forward Diego Forlan as marquee to uplift their spirit as well as quality in order to make it to the knockout stages for the first time in ISL history.
Mumbai City FC failed to impress last season under player-manager Nicolas Anelka and replaced him with former Costa Rica national team boss Alexandre Guimarães. They have successfully retained Haitian international Sony Norde who has been one of the best foreign recruits in recent time.
Defense has always been a concern for them and they have brought in several new recruits to bolster their backline. They have loaned in Brazilian Gerson Vieira from Gremio and Argentine Facundo Cardozo from Velez Sarsfield along with Romanian Luciano Goian and Uruguayan Walter Ibanez to strengthen their defense. Veteran Brazilian goalkeeper Roberto Volpato has been brought in to add more experience behind their back four.
Mumbai have also recruited Brazilian midfielder Leo Costa as well as former Hungary international Krisztián Vadócz who has previous experience with FC Pune City. Former Boca Juniors forward Gaston Sangoy has been added to increase the squad strength. However, alongside Diego Forlan, they have completed another exciting signing in form of Argentine winger Matías Defederico who was handed his international debut back in 2009 by football’s greatest Diego Armando Maradona.
They have retained Sunil Chettri, arguably the best forward in Indian football, who is expected to form a lethal combination upfront with Forlan. Custodian Amrinder Singh has been brought in from Atletico De Kolkata whereas, young keeper Albino Gomes has been retained along with right-back Ashutosh Mehta.
Promising young left-back Munmun Lugun and midfielder duo David Lalrinmuana and Rakesh Oram have been added to the squad. Veteran centre-back Anwar Ali has joined them after an inspiring campaign with Delhi Dynamos last year. Left-back Sena Ralte, who spent his previous season with champions Chennaiyin FC, has been included along with defender Aiborlong Khongjee and midfielder Boithang Haokip who have plied their trades from North East United FC. Jackichand Singh, another impressive Indian talent, has been roped in from FC Pune City.
The Mumbai team arguably contain the best attacking force among all eight sides with plenty of options upfront. Quality of Forlan, Sunil, Norde, Defederico and Jackichand will create trouble against any defense. Moreover, they have brought in a manager who is highly experienced, worked with huge reputation and led Costa Rica to qualify for 2002 FIFA World Cup. They have plenty of positives this time to achieve their season goals.
Defense was always a concern for them and in spite of several reinforcements, they will find it hard to keep clean-sheets as likes of Anwar, Aibor, Ashutosh and Sena Ralte are highly inconsistent. They have plenty of attackers, though lack of options in holding and defensive midfield roles might create extra pressure on their back-line and have high chances to concede against counter-attacks. The whole squad has been reconstructed and the players will need time to gel up in a tournament that has been highly competitive so far and each of eight sides are capable of a finish in top four.
Where they can finish:
Mumbai will definitely will do better compared to their previous campaigns. If they manage to synchronize and find their rhythm, they are good enough to make it to the top four and challenge for the title.
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