With four wins in six matches, Delhi Dynamos sit pretty at second spot in the Indian Super League with twelve points and the Lions are looking to leave behind the disappointment of the last season by qualifying for the playoffs. What makes Delhi’ s campaign special this year is the fact that three of the five wins for Delhi have come away from home, their latest coming against defending champions Atletico de Kolkata at the Salt Lake stadium.
Roberto Carlos mentored side now have four straight home games and will be looking to boost their league position by notching up as many points as possible. The Lions are in a comfortable position and it will be surprising if they fail to qualify for the playoffs. Few expected Delhi Dynamos to be in the race for the top four spot given their dealings in the Indian players draft and auction process. The Lions failed to capture any of the big Indian names on offer like Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Sunil Chhetri or Jackichand Singh and had to be content with the signings of Robin Singh and Anas Edathodika. The club also changed its foreign contingent with Hans Mulder and Dos Santos being the only two players to be retained. Here are some reasons behind Delhi Dynamos’ improved performances this season.
Presence of Roberto Carlos
A lot of credit for Delhi’ s performances this season must go to the marquee player and coach Roberto Carlos who has organised his team commendably up till now. Though the Brazilian legend has made only two substitute appearances this season, his presence in the dugout has inspired his players to play to their potential something that Alessandro Del Piero, Dynamos’ s marquee player last season failed to do. Del Piero was at loggerheads with coach Van Heldhoven and contrary to the expectations, the Italian failed to have any significant impact on the field. For most part, the former Juventus legend appeared disinterested and his fallout with Van Heldhoven affected the team negatively. Carlos is undoubtedly one of the tallest players in the second season of the Indian Super League and his presence demands respect from the players. This has ensured a positive team understanding and chemistry among the team players and has prevented a repeat of another Del Piero like situation. The Former World Cup winner isn’t shy of speaking his mind and has defended his players in front of media. Carlos has rotated his player well specially the strikers with both Dos Santos & Richard Gadze getting starts.
Impact Of Florent Malouda & John Arne Riise
In the fourth minute of added time, Florent Malouda worked his magic inside the Atletico box, kept his composure and then laid the ball on for Dos Santos, who coolly slotted the ball home to give Delhi a win over the defending champions. It was a similar story in Delhi’ s match against Kerala Blaster as Richard Gadze headed home an inch perfect cross from Malodua in the 87th minute to give the Lions a win over Blasters at Kochi. Former Chelsea winger Florent Malouda has been in impressive form for the Dynamos and has played the full ninety minutes in all six matches for the club this season. Malouda is the main source of the creativity in the team and has been given a free role behind the striker. Such has been his impact that the former French international has notched up three assists in the four field goals Dynamos have played this season. The rival defenders have found it hard to mark him down and on occasions has single handedly run through the opposition defense. Though not a marquee player, Malouda is not short of being one for the Lions and has already won several post match awards for his performances.
Liverpool legend John Arne Riise has been the leader in defense and has done an excellent job marshaling the back four which doesn’t feature any other big name player. Dynamos have conceded least goals in the league so far and a lot of credit for this goes to Riise. The 35 year old who has mostly played as a left back in his career is playing as a central defender for the Dynamos. Riise has featured in all six matches for the team and won the hero of the match award in the match against Chennaiyin FC. The likes of Souvik Chakraborty and Anas Edathodika have grown in confidence playing alongside and his role will be crucial if Delhi are to qualify for the playoffs. Even Roberto Carlos has acknowledged the roles of Malouda and Riise and has rightly called them the leaders of his team.
Good Performances Of Indian Players
Despite a slow start the Indian players in the Dynamos team have made their presence felt. Anas Edathodika who won the hero of the match against Atletico has grown in confidence ever since he was drafted into the starting eleven in the second match. The former Pune FC defender who has been plagued by injuries for last couple of season is surely getting his A game back. Sanjiban Ghosh who was drafted at the last moment after injuries to the first choice goalkeepers did an impressive job under the bar. Robin Singh who scored in his debut game for the Dynamos, just hours after arriving back from the national team duty, is an integral part of the team’ a attacking unit and his height and physicality is an asset for the team. After missing the first two games due to national team duties, Robin has started in all of the next four games. Sehnaj Singh is another player who has earned praise for his role as a box to box midfielder after he arrived back from the national team duties.
Apart from this the other foreign players in the team have played their role in Delhi Dynamos’s impressive form this season. Hans Mulder has excelled in his role as a box to box midfielder and is a vital cog in the heart of the midfield. The Dutch midfielder has impressed with his work rate so far and has linked the defense and attack well uptil now. 34 year old Brazilian ChicA?o has played both in defense and central midfield so far and scored the winner from the spot in Delhi’ s only home game so far. Dos Santos, who scored the winner against Atletico, has troubled the opposition defenders with his pace and trickery like the previous season. Richard Gadze too has made his presence felt and has a couple of goals to his name while Tony Doblas has given a good account of himself under the bar.
It is important for Delhi Dynamos to make maximum use of the four consecutive home games and consolidate their position as the business leg of the league approaches. With the league table looking competitive, Roberto Carlos would be looking to build on the momentum developed from the away games and qualify for the playoffs, something that the club from the capital failed to do last time around.