Jamshedpur vs Mumbai City: Preview and Prediction
Jamshedpur is all set to host the league leaders Mumbai City at the Furnace on Saturday as both sides will look to pick up three points. It has been a contrasting campaign so far for both these sides as on one hand, Des Buckingham’s side is sitting pretty atop the league standings, while the Men of Steel are second bottom having won just once in their previous five outings.
After winning the League Winners Shield last season, the Red Miners would have hoped to finish in the top six this term as well however, that looks like a distant dream for them. Aidy Boothroyd’s men have struggled since the start of the campaign and they will be in for another test as they host the all-conquering Islanders at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.
The club co-owned by City Football Group have been in stunning form this season as they look primed for the league title. Buckingham’s side would hope to add to the four-point lead between themselves and Hyderabad since the Nizams won’t be in action during Matchday 17.
Needless to say that the Sky Blues have been in surreal form since the start of the league campaign and by stark contrast, the Men of Steel have had a disappointing campaign so far. The Islanders have amassed 39 points from 15 matches, winning 12 games and drawing thrice, and are yet to lose a single game in the league so far.
Not only have they outscored all the other sides having found the back of the net a staggering 45 times, but they also have conceded just 13 times, which is the joint-second best record in the competition, alongside ATK Mohun Bagan. Buckingham’s side comes into the contest on the back of a 4-0 hammering of NorthEast United, having won 10 matches in a row.
During that run, the club based in Maharashtra’s capital scored at least four goals or more on six occasions. The last they dropped points was against the Mariners when they played out a 2-2 draw back in November last year. On the other hand, the Red Miners have taken just 9 points have 15 outings, including just two wins all season.
Only the Highlanders have conceded more goals (41) than Boothroyd’s side (28) while they have also found the back of the net just 13 times which is the joint-lowest in the league. In their previous outing, the Red Miners lost 0-3 to Bengaluru, and while they did beat East Bengal 2-1 on matchday 15, it was their only win since they beat the Highlanders 1-0 in October earlier this campaign.
Surprisingly, despite their recent dominance, the Islanders do not have a good record against the Men of Steel.
Out of 11 meetings between these two clubs in the league, the Sky Blues have won just 3 times, while the Red Miners have won five matches, with the remaining three games ending all square. When these sides locked horns earlier this season in October at the Mumbai Football Arena, the match ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Buckingham has lined up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation in recent weeks, however, he chose to go with a 4-3-3 in their most recent outing against the Highlanders, so it will be interesting to see whether he reverts back to the previous system or chooses to stick to the more attacking formation against another side that has been struggling for a while now.
On the other hand, Boothroyd has switched to a 4-4-2 in recent weeks after he experimented with three at the back, and that move didn’t pay dividends. For the Islanders, Phurba Lachenpa will continue between the sticks, behind a back-four of Rahul Bheke, Mehtab Singh, Rostyn Griffiths, and Mandar Rao Desai.
Apuia is likely to partner Ahmed Jahouh in the middle of the park with Greg Stewart in his free-roaming role as a number 10, while Bipin Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte will provide the creativity from the wings behind the marksman Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
For the hosts, Vishal Yadav will be expected to keep his place in goal, behind the likes of Laldinliana Renthlei, Eli Sabia, Pratik Chaudhari, and Ricky Lallawmawma.
Boris Singh Thangjam and Ritwik Das have been everpresent for the Men of Steel out wide with Pronay Halder and Rafael Crivellaro forming the double pivot in the middle. Harry Sawyer will be partnered by Daniel Chima Chukwu up-front.
Predicted Starting XIs
Jamshedpur (4-4-2): Vishal Yadav; Laldinliana Renthlei, Eli Sabia, Pratik Chaudhari, Ricky Lallawmawma; Boris Singh Thangjam, Pronay Halder, Rafael Crivellaro, Ritwik Das; Harry Sawyer, Daniel Chima Chukwu.
Mumbai City (4-2-3-1): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke, Mehtab Singh, Rostyn Griffiths, Mandar Rao Desai; Lalengmawia Ralte, Ahmed Jahouh, Bipin Singh, Greg Stewart, Lallianzuala Chhangte; Jorge Pereyra Diaz
Given the stark contrast in fortunes of these sides, the Islanders will be expected to go back with all three points in the bag. Boothroyd’s side will be cheered on by the home support, but given their recent woes, it will be huge ask for the Men of Steel to spring up a surprise against an in-form Sky Blues unit.