Chennaiyin vs East Bengal: Preview and Prediction
After the international break, the 2023-24 Indian Super League season will resume with a match between Chennaiyin and East Bengal, which will be the first game of matchday 7. The game will be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, on Saturday at 5:30 pm IST.
This will be an important match for both teams, as neither Chennaiyin nor East Bengal have had good starts to their campaign. Having won only two and lost four games, Chennaiyin are seventh in the league standings with six points.
On the other hand, East Bengal have lost a game less, but they have also managed to win just one match. With four points from five matches, the Torchbearers are struggling in the 10th position.
What have they done so far?
Chennaiyin had the worst possible start to their season, as they lost all of their first three matches. The Marina Machans were handed a 0-2 defeat by Odisha in their first match, while in their second match, they were hammered 0-3 by NorthEast United. The performance was slightly better in their third match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant, but they still went down in a 1-3 defeat.
After three losses, Owen Coyle’s team did manage to make a mini-comeback. They defeated Hyderabad 1-0 in the Southern Derby to get their campaign going, before thrashing Punjab by a 5-1 margin but suffered a 0-3 loss against Goa in their last match.
East Bengal’s story is exactly the opposite, as their start was not as bad. After an impressive Durand Cup campaign, Carles Cuadrat’s men drew 0-0 against Jamshedpur in their first match, before defeating Hyderabad 2-1.
Thereon, whatever transpired has been nothing short of a disaster. The Torchbearers were defeated 1-2 by Bengaluru in their third match, while the same scoreline was replicated in their second defeat against Goa. As it turned out, they went down fighting by a 1-2 margin once again in their last defeat against Kerala Blasters.
Head to Head Record
When it comes to head-to-head records, Chennaiyin holds the upper hand over East Bengal. These two teams have met on six occasions in the ISL, where the Marina Machans have won twice, while the Torchbearers haven’t got a single win. The other four matches ended in draws.
In the last meeting, which took place in February this year, Chennaiyin got a 2-0 win. An own goal from Lalchungnunga and a Rahim Ali late strike comprised their two goals.
After an embarrassing 0-3 defeat against Goa, it is expected that Chennaiyin coach Coyle will make plenty of changes to the team. Firstly, Debjit Majumder could be replaced by Samik Mitra under the sticks.
In defense, Sachu Siby had a game to forget at left-back, and he is likely to be replaced by Alexander Romario Jesuraj. In midfield, it will not be a surprise if Cristian Battocchio and Ayush Adhikari are both benched, with Jiteshwor Singh and Mohammed Rafique replacing them.
This will free up an overseas slot for Coyle and he can use it to replace an under-firing Ali with Jordan Murray. Lastly, Farukh Choudhary is likely to make way for Vincy Barretto.
On the other hand, Cuadrat would also like to change his team after three defeats on the trot, but he will not have plenty of options to choose from. One of the options he does have is Jordanian central defender Hijazi Maher, who looked good in his cameo debut appearance against Kerala Blasters. Maher is likely to replace Jose Antonio Pardo.
Besides that, both Mandar Rao Dessai and Harmanjot Singh Khabra had poor performances against the Tuskers and had to be substituted. They could be asked to make way for Nishu Kumar and Souvik Chakraborty respectively.
Predicted Starting XIs
Chennaiyin (4-2-3-1): Samik Mitra; Ankit Mukherjee, Bikash Yumnam, Ryan Edwards, Alexander Romario Jesuraj; Jiteshwor Singh, Mohammed Rafique; Connor Shields, Rafael Crivellaro, Vincy Barretto; Jordan Murray.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Prabhsukhan Gill; Mohamad Rakip, Lalchungnunga, Hijazi Maher, Nishu Kumar; Nandhakumar Sekar, Saul Crespo, Souvik Chakraborty, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Cleiton Silva, Javier Siverio.
Although both teams are in a dire state, Chennaiyin tends to perform well against East Bengal. Moreover, they will have the home crowd cheering for them. Hence, the Marina Machans will start this match as the favorites.