Chennaiyin vs East Bengal: Preview and Prediction
The last fixture of matchday 20 of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season will see Chennaiyin taking on East Bengal in Chennai’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.
Both teams must have started planning for the next season, as there is not much left to play for in the ongoing edition. Chennaiyin looked promising at times, but overall, they have been pretty inconsistent. With only 4 wins in 17 games and 18 points in their account, the Marina Machans are placed in the ninth position.
On the other hand, East Bengal is placed just behind them sitting in tenth on the 2022-23 ISL standings. The Torchbearers also have had a season to forget, as they have won only 5 out of the 17 matches they have played. With 16 points in the bank, the Torchbearers have an 11-point gap with the top six.
Chennaiyin did not have a poor start, as they lost only one of their first four matches and also won two games against Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. Two defeats out of their next three games derailed them, but Thomas Brdaric’s men made a comeback with a stunning 7-3 win over NorthEast United.
But unfortunately for them, it turned out to be Chennaiyin’s last win of the season so far. They have lost three of their last eight games – against Mumbai City, Bengaluru, and Kerala Blasters; and drawn the other five matches against the Tuskers, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, ATK Mohun Bagan, and Odisha.
Unlike their opposition, East Bengal has been poor from the beginning, having lost four of their last five matches against Kerala Blasters, Goa, ATK Mohun Bagan, and Chennaiyin. Two wins from the next three games helped Stephen Constantine’s men climb up the ladder, but it was followed by two back-to-back defeats.
After beating Bengaluru in their next match, the Torchbearers suffered four consecutive defeats against Odisha, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, and Goa. That being said, they are unbeaten in their last two games, where they defeated Kerala Blasters and drew against NorthEast United.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are inclined in Chennaiyin’s favour, but only by a narrow margin. The Marina Machans have won one of the previous five league meetings against the Torchbearers, whereas interestingly, all of the other four matches ended in draws.
The last meeting, which took place back in November, saw Chennaiyin securing a 1-0 win. After a goalless first half, a Vafa Hakhamaneshi header from a corner helped Brdaric’s men take all three points.
After a disappointing 1-2 defeat against Kerala Blasters in the last match, Brdaric is expected to make a few changes to his starting XI. Hakhamaneshi had a poor outing against the Tuskers and he could make way for Senegalese centre-back Fallou Diagne, who will be available for selection again after serving his one-game ban.
The decision to play Edwin Sydney Vanspaul as a right-back backfired terribly, and hence, he is expected to be replaced by Ajith Kumar. Besides that, Vincy Barretto could be benched after missing a few sitters in the last game, with Y. Jiteshwor Singh replacing him.
Similarly, Constantine is also expected to make changes to his team after a 3-3 draw against NorthEast United. One of those changes will be forced, as Brazilian midfielder Alex Lima will be unavailable for selection after picking up four yellow cards.
In his place, Australia’s Jordan O’Doherty is expected to be re-introduced into the starting XI. Besides that, Mohamed Rakip and Sumeet Passi were also underwhelming against the Highlanders, and they could be replaced by Sarthak Golui and Himanshu Jangra respectively.
Chennaiyin (4-2-3-1): Samik Mitra; Ajith Kumar, Fallou Diagne, Gurmukh Singh, Aakash Sangwan; Julius Duker, Anirudh Thapa; Ninthoinganba Meetei, Nasser El Khayati, Jiteshwor Singh; Petar Sliskovic.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Sarthak Golui, Lalchungnunga, Charalampos Kyriakou, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Himanshu Jangra, Souvik Chakrabarti, Jordan O’Doherty, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Jake Jervis, Cleiton Silva.
While there is nothing much to separate the two teams based on their performance this season, Chennaiyin holds the upper hand in terms of squad strength and head-to-head records. Hence, we have predicted the Marina Machans to win this encounter.