NorthEast United vs Chennaiyin: Preview and Prediction
NorthEast United continue to look for their first win of the season as Marco Balbul’s men showed signs of resurgence with an improved performance in the last outing. With the new signing, striker Wilmar Jordan is expected to start as the team looks to change their fortunes.
Chennaiyin, on the other hand, looks to break a dry spell of results and return to their winning ways. With a victory against NorthEast United, the Marina Machans would move to the top half of the table. Thomas Brdaric would be urging his men to get all three points against a leaky NorthEast United defense that has conceded 18 goals this season.
The situation is bleak for NorthEast United but they can take inspiration from the past as they have a very good record at home against Chennaiyin. The Highlanders have lost just once to the two-time champions in Guwahati in six matches while winning four of those contests. With Chennaiyin having a wobble in the last match, this presents them with a good chance to open their account.
NorthEast United have been dismal in each of their eight games played in the Indian Super League. The Highlanders lost 2-1 most recently to Odisha in the last match week after Nandhakumar Sekar scored his fourth goal of the season to put the Juggernauts in front in the 25th minute.
Substitute Rochharzela scored with his first touch to make it all square in the 60th minute but Jerry Mawihmingthanga scored Odisha’s 99th ISL goal in the 78th minute to lift the Juggernauts up into second place.
Chennaiyin too is heading into the game after going down to Hyderabad 3-1 in the last match week. Halicharan Narzary, Chinglensana Singh, and substitute Borja Herrera struck in the second half to push the defending champions back into second place.
Meanwhile, the Marina Machans pulled one back when El Khayati’s cross from the left was headed in from close range by Petar Sliskovic.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head record between NorthEast United and Chennaiyin is slightly inclined in the Highlanders’ favour with the two sides playing each other in 16 games with the former winning six times while the latter winning five. Five of the games between the two sides have ended in draws.
Last season, however, the Marina Machans recorded a double over the Highlanders. Both these games ended in a 2-1 margin in favour of the team from south of India. The last game that was played in January earlier this year saw Ariel Borysiuk and Vladimir Koman score for the Marina Machans while Laldanmawia Ralte scored for the Highlanders.
NorthEast have a fully fit squad at their disposal. Arindam Bhattacharya will be the custodian for the Highlanders with Michael Jakobsen, Gaurav Bora, Mohammed Irshad, and Gurjinder Kumar forming the back four of NorthEast United’s defense.
The troika of Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Jon Gaztañaga, and Romain Philippoteaux will be dictating the play in NorthEast’s midfield whilst the trio of Rochharzela, Matt Derbyshire, and Jithin Madathil will lead the attack.
Thomas Brdaric might leave out the duo of Iranian centre-back Vafa Hakhamaneshi and Narayan Das and may replace them with Mohammad Sajid Dhot and Aakash Sangwan respectively.
Given that an overseas slot will be opened up, Brdaric could use Dutch winger Nasser El Khayati in Prasanth Karuthadathkuni’s place. The return of skipper Anirudh Thapa is also in question marks, given he has not played for the Marina Machans in the side’s last three games.
Predicted Playing XI
NorthEast United (4-3-3): Arindam Bhattacharya; Michael Jakobsen, Gaurav Bora, Mohammed Irshad, Gurjinder Kumar; Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Jon Gaztanaga, Romain Philippoteaux; Rochharzela, Matt Derbyshire, Jithin Madathil
Chennaiyin (4-2-3-1): Debjit Majumder; Ajith Kumar, Mohammad Sajid Dhot, Fallou Diagne, Akash Sangwan; Julius Duker, Sajal Bag; Jiteshwor Singh, Nasser El Khayati, Vincy Barretto; Petar Sliskovic
It is now eight successive losses to begin the season for NorthEast United after they went down to Odisha. It has been a dreadful start to the campaign and they will be desperate to end their losing streak in this clash with Chennaiyin.
The visitors have lost three of their last four after they were beaten by Hyderabad but they have won two of their three away games so far this season and they should be able to earn at least a point from this encounter.