Last time out…
Steve Coppell’s Jamshedpur came away with a 1-0 victory from a game that they were dominated throughout, yet a last-minute penalty from Goncalves gave them all the glory away at Bengaluru. The plaudits have to really go to Subrata Paul in Jamshedpur’s goal who decided he was an octopus as he kept absolutely everything that Bengaluru threw at him out and just to prove further how much Bengaluru were on top, they completed 409 passes to Jamshedpur’s 139, yet Coppell’s men made it six games with only one goal conceded. He’ll be looking to maintain that today.
Chennaiyin went top of the league with an entertaining 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters last time out, however, John Gregory will be bitterly disappointed that they couldn’t take all three points as they didn’t take the lead until the 89th minute when Rene Mihelic converted from the spot. Deep into injury time, Vineeth levelled for Kerala to give them a valuable point and looking at the stats from the game, Gregory will be making sure that they make their chances count this time around as he’ll not be wanting a repeat.
The press conferences…
Coppell is more than aware of the quality that Chennaiyin possess.
“They are at the top of the table not by accident but they are at the top because they have quality players and are playing well.”
When asked about what he thought of his team’s performances so far he had this to say:
“We are playing well. Every game is a different battle, different challenge. You have to respect the opposition. I look at each game individually. That’s the way I work.”
He added, regarding their lack of goals:
“We don’t go into games in a defensive mindset. So far we have done well. We are playing against a good side. We are aware that we are the home team. We know we have to play well.”
He closed the press conference off by saying that the pitch is better this time around;
“The pitch is improving. During the first game, it was terrible. There have been changes in the turf.”
In the away dugout is John Gregory who was quick to give Coppell’s side credit:
“All my players know exactly the kind of game they will play. It will be a tough game. They don’t concede many goals. Not scored many goals either, but the fact that their defence is very good, it will be a tight game.”
He also confirmed that he has a full complement to choose from.
“Everybody is fit to play. There are no injury concerns on my side.”
Gregory also commented on the state of the playing surface:
“When the pitch is bad it limits the quality of the game. But now it’s firm it looks good. Steve, I am sure will be happy now with the pitch.”
Gregory finished by answering a question about whether the game will be similar to that of an English game;
“You have a chance as both are English coaches.”
The game itself…
It’s no great secret that Jamshedpur are solid at the back whilst not offering a great deal going forward, but, if they can carry on churning out the results which are not too different to that of the Bengaluru game, then Coppell will be more than happy. Jamshedpur will be eager to improve on their form at home as they’ve only taken a solitary point from two games, so Coppell will be wanting to give the home fans something to cheer about.
Chennaiyin have taken six points from nine away from home which gives you some idea why they’re sitting at the top of the table, but, the two games they won away from home, against Bengaluru and Pune City respectively, they had less of the ball and you can’t really see that being the case, later on, today against Jamshedpur. An early goal will do Chennaiyin and the game in general, a world of good.
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 said that before the Bengaluru game if he won his battle with Miku then Jamshedpur will come away with the win and he did and Jamshedpur won, this time he will have to keep Jeje quiet and again if he does, it’s hard to look past the three points going to Jamshedpur.
Raphael Augusto – The ex-Fluminense man is an integral part of Gregory’s team and the pattern that seems to be forming is that if he doesn’t play well, then Chennaiyin tend not to, for example, it was no coincidence that the game Gregory opted for Mihelic over him, they came away from Mumbai City with absolutely nothing. Augusto, who is in his third season at Chennaiyin, tends to play the number ten role which means that everything goes through him but don’t be fooled by the fact he’s Brazilian, he loves to get involved in the ‘ugly’ side of the game as well, which is evident by the two yellow cards he has picked up already this campaign.
One more thing…
All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, I’d be backing under 1.5 goals @ 5/4.