Last time out…
Mumbai made it two wins out of three as they beat NorthEast United 2-0 in their own backyard as Balwant Singh scored a brace to take his tally to four for the season. He scored either side of the half-time whistle in what was a very evenly matched contest, the only difference really being that NorthEast couldn’t convert their chances which was down a combination of good goalkeeping and shoddy finishing in front of goal. It moved them to two points of the playoffs and a win against basement side Delhi Dynamos would see them jump to second place in the ISL.
Delhi succumbed to their fifth loss in a row as Robbie Keane got off the mark for ATK and that was the only goal of the game as Delhi’s abysmal record continued. Similar to Mumbai’s last game, it was an even contest but Delhi were just lacking the cutting edge, but if they are to make the playoffs like they did last season, they really need to start making a move up the table. One of the things that Delhi need to work on is the accuracy of their passes because they misplaced 146 of them against ATK so that’s where they need to start if they are to make a charge for the playoffs.
Alexandre Guimares in the home dugout is keen to make it two wins in a row:
“We have to play with a lot of seriousness and focus and I hope we learn that as the games go by. For us, it is really important to make it two wins in a row,’’
He’s also aware how important consistency is in terms of team selection;
“As soon as we can get the consistency to try to win back-to-back, then we can try to figure out that this is the situation we always want.’’
Guimares looks at Abinash Ruidas as one of his shining lights of this season and had this to say about the defender:
“Ruidas has been around from the beginning and he’s getting better. We know that he has had to adjust his defensive posture. Last game he attacked well, playing first like full-back and then like a winger.”
He concluded by saying his side won’t be underestimating Delhi Dynamos:
“I know that tomorrow Delhi Dynamos will come here to fight very hard because they cannot afford to lose as it will be very difficult for them to recover. We are sure that we have to show seriousness and focus without underestimating anyone,’’
Delhi’s assistant manager, Shakti Chauhan, took press conference duties and began by touching on their poor form in front of goal;
“The only thing which isn’t working is the kind of thrust we are putting in the final third. Also, the finishing isn’t up to the mark, we need to work on it.’’
He was also keen to say that their defence hasn’t been that bad;
‘’From the 15 goals we have conceded, we conceded five against FC Goa and four against Bengaluru FC. If you see our games except for these two matches, we haven’t been that bad in defence,’’
He closed by saying that they’ll be paying particular attention to Balwant Singh;
“We do not have a special plan for any particular individual but looking at Balwant (Singh)’s form, we will definitely have something for him,’’
The game itself…
The onus is really on Delhi to try and get the three points in Mumbai, but with the way things are going, you can’t look any further than a home win which will propel Mumbai to second in the table. One thing that Mumbai will be keen to achieve in their game today is to win back to back games for what would be the first time this season and you have to feel with them facing the team who is propping up the ISL, they won’t get a better chance.
Delhi just need a shot to go in off someone’s backside or the Mumbai keeper to have a mare as it just seems like they’re stuck in a rut and it will have to be something of luck or an individual moment of brilliance which will put them on the right track. You have to think they may well have their work cut out against the attacking prowess of Balwant Singh, though.
Ones to watch…
Balwant Singh – He has been nothing short of sensational so far this season as his goals have earned Mumbai four points already this season and he’s only played six games which sort of gives you an indication of how integral he is to the Mumbai side. Playing on the left side, he will be causing havoc from the off as he is just as likely to become provider than he is to get on the scoresheet himself. Balwant could prove to be a real thorn in Delhi’s side.
Paulinho Dias – Whilst Delhi’s performances have not been anywhere near the levels they should have been, one player who does tend to be rather consistent is Paulinho as he breaks the opposition’s play up and distributes the ball to those who are deemed more creative around him. If he can dominate the midfield then Delhi may well have a chance, but without putting too much pressure on the Brazilian, its all down to him.
One more thing…
All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, I’d be backing Mumbai @ 4/5 – put the house on it!