FC Pune City
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi
19th November, 2015
Atletico de Kolkata’s win over Chennaiyin FC certainly seems to have put a lot of pressure on the likes of FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC. While both the teams are sitting pretty in the top-four with 15 points each, North East United FC (NEUFC) are breathing down their necks being just a couple of points behind. One thing that might give the two teams a bit of a breathing space is the fact that NEUFC now have a horrendous goal difference of ‘-7’ . However, the Indian Super League is still very close, and both Pune and Delhi would like to go three points closer to the semi final playoffs.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Delhi Dynamos FC
Roberto Carlos’ men need to make that last push to make it to keep their place in the top four on the Indian Super League (ISL), and would be looking to overcome their run of drab draws, in order to get to safety. Although the Dynamos are on a four-match unbeaten run, their last three matches have been 1-1 draws, and they would soon like to get out of that mould, to launch another win.
This is why Carlos could be going for a more attacking option in this six-pointer against FC Pune City. An attacking 4-3-3 will quite likely be played by the home side, with their best forwards bombing the FC Pune City defence. The presence of the forward trio, Robin Singh, Richard Gadze and Adil Nabi can be expected, and the three will automatically fit into a spear-like formation. However, an attacking formation like this requires a stable midfield, and Carlos would be looking of just that from holding midfielder Chicao, with Sehnaj Singh doing all the leg-work, and Florent Malouda being the creative influence in the middle of the park. Going with this set of players also allows a bit of fluidity to the side, as they can also fit into a 4-2-3-1, with Malouda moving up into the hole behind central striker Robin Singh, and Sehnaj moving back into a two-man defensive midfield setup with Chicao. Influential midfielder Hans Mulder is set to miss out though, as he has looked a bit jaded in the last few matches.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Doblas; Ralte, Riise, Anas, Souvik; Chicao, Sehnaj, Malouda; Gadze, Nabi, Robin.
FC Pune City
The Stallions are currently on a four-match win less streak, and are more or less on the same boat as Delhi Dynamos FC, form wise — they have drawn three of their last four matches. A win in this match would be great for FC Pune City, but manager David Platt has said that his side would be more than happy with a draw from this difficult away fixture. In case of a draw, FC Pune City would still remain third behind ATK, and ahead of Delhi Dynamos FC by virtue of goal difference.
The combination of Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Didier Zokora in the midfielders, with Tuncay Sanli playing behind a lone striker (either Kalu Uche or Adrian Mutu) has worked quite well so far for FC Pune City. However, Mutu has not been in particularly good form in front of goal, and at the moment, Uche seems to be a better option to start with, than the former Chelsea FC striker. With regards to the midfield, Platt has the option of a solid hardman in the form of Ivorian Zokora. Although he can be a bit of a nuisance some times, Zokora is an instrumental part of the team, shielding the back-four from opposition attackers. His battle against playmaker Malouda should be an intriguing one to watch. To complement Zokora’s hard-tackling style, Platt has the option of using the creative Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Apart from being the creative linchpin of the team, Lyngdoh also provides extra attacking options for FC Pune City, with his deadball abilities.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Simonsen; Shorey, Ravanan, Johnson, Kotal; Jackichand, Lyngdoh, Zokora, Lenny; Tuncay; Uche.
Delhi Dynamos FC 1-1 FC Pune City
The fact that Carlos’ side have been solid defensively, and Platt would be happy with a draw means only one thing. This match has a very high chance of being a draw. While Delhi Dynamos FC would set up with an attacking formation, FC Pune City have the strength in the midfield and the the back, with the presence of the likes of Zokora, Ravanan and Roger Johnson, to thwart them and launch their own counter attacks. A 1-1 draw seems to be a fair result for the strength that both the teams have.
Blast from the past
FC Pune City 1-2 Delhi Dynamos FC
It was a rather dramatic affair last time round, as Gadze scored a late goal to get the three points for Delhi Dynamos FC in the match. This is one of the few matches in the ISL that truely had a grandstand finish, and we can hope for another one on Thursday.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media Team