Last time out…
It was the tale of two penalties in Steve Coppell’s side last game when the faced Chennaiyin at home as they went into the game knowing they would get to within a point of the away side with a victory. Despite having less possession throughout the game, the first-half did belong to Jamshedpur as they had more shots on goal, more corners, more everything really, apart from the only important stat, goals. With only four minutes to the interval Chennaiyin were awarded a penalty which was duly dispatched by the in-form Jeje to put the away side one to the good, however, in the third minute of first half stoppage time, Jamshedpur were given the luxury of a penalty as well, but, Belfort wasn’t able to convert it meaning that at half time, Chennaiyin were in the ascendancy. Gregory’s Chennaiyin saw out the second half brilliantly as they restricted the home team to only one shot on target and dominated in general, so Gregory came out victorious in the clash of the English managers.
Guimaraes’ Mumbai did a number on Delhi Dynamos as everyone expected, what wasn’t expected was how they did it. Let me explain, Mumbai won by four goals to nil without having the majority of possession, without having the most shots, without making the most passes etc, I could go on and on. Delhi, as usual, were masters of their own downfall as twelve minutes into the game, they gave away a penalty which Emana failed to hit the target with as the spotkick cannoned back off the post, but there was skipper, Goian to put away the rebound. Emana made amends for his earlier penalty miss when he teed up Everton Santos to make it two-nil before half time, before the whistle was blown for the break, it all got a bit ugly as both teams were reduced to ten men after Sehnaj took down Delhi’s Matias which then resulted in World War Three and both teams starting the second half with ten men apiece. Second half goals from Thiago Santos and the in-form Balwant Singh put the game to bed for Mumbai, who on another day could have lost this, such is the nature of the ISL.
Coppell is a man of mystery, it has to be said, Jamshedpur’s seven games so far have yielded the grand total of four goals, but, this is his plan to combat Mumbai:
“We must try and win the match by attacking as much as possible and score goals,”
If you say so, Steve. They’re still yet to score on home soil, something which he wants to change;
“I really hope we score tomorrow (Friday) at home. I am desperate just like the home fans. I am confident we will score goals. It is a big priority for us.”
He finished off with quite a bit of contradiction to say the least:
“It is difficult to play if the pitch isn’t perfect. It’s the same for both sides. We won’t complain but it’s a fact. The pitch contributes to goal scoring of course. The pitch was been difficult so far,”
In the away dugout we have Alexandre Guimaraes who knows that Coppell’s side will be difficult to break down:
“It’s going to be a tough game. We know they are very strong defensively. The entire team fight to recover the ball and fill spaces.”
Much like his opposing manager, Guimaraes is wary of the importance of this match;
“We are now reaching a phase of the tournament where we cannot lose points.”
He also heaped praise on Emana, despite his penalty miss last time out when he had this to say:
“We knew what he can do. He is playing as per our expectations. He covers a lot of ground distributing balls. Other players are slowly getting used to his style.”
Guimaraes concluded the press conference by saying his side would not miss Sehnaj:
“We have played games where he was not present. We have other players in our squad who can take his place,”
The game itself…
Mumbai scored as many goals in their last game as there has been in all of Jamshedpur’s games put together, so something is going to have to give in Jamshedpur. Both managers touched on the state of the pitch during their press conferences and Coppell will be hoping to banish those home demons as they are yet to score or win at home since the club was founded, which is quite staggering when you think about it. As we touched on the Chennaiyin game earlier, you have to think that if Belfort put that penalty away then the second half would have had a completely different overview, but it is what it is.
The visitors sit joint top of the five game form table as they have won three in four which has seen them move to the cusp of the playoff places. Six goals in their last two games has meant they have gone from looking like relegation fodder to contenders and all they did was beat the two basement sides in the division, so it will be a very interesting match up. I’m not convinced there will be goals in it, regardless of what Coppell says.
Ones to watch…
Andre Bikey – After getting sent off eight minutes into his debut for Jamshedpur it was easy to assume that Bikey was going to be consigned to the bench. However, Coppell has stuck with his man and he has proved to be an asset that Coppell knows he can be, having managed him when he was at Reading. I feature Bikey regularly in the one to watch for Jamshedpur because their defensive record is by far the best in the ISL and a lot of it has to do with Andre. He may well have is work cut out against Mumbai’s magic front three of Santos, Balwant and Santos, but if anyone can keep them quiet, you feel it will be Bikey.
Achille Emana – The Cameroonian international could well end up being the difference between these two sides as he is the player that Mumbai turn to when it comes to set pieces and that bit of magic which came turn a football match on a sixpence. In his last two games, he has set up four goals, five if you want to count the penalty coming off the post so it’s easy to see where it all starts for Mumbai. The front thee thrive on Emana’s work and the way you have to look at it is, if Emana gets it right once to set one of them free, Jamshedpur are going to find themselves in trouble.
One more thing…
All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, I’d be swerving this game because it’s tough to call, but for the purpose of the article, I’m going to go a little left field and recommend Mumbai to win & under 2.5 goals @ 10/3.