With a rejuvenated squad, Chennaiyin FC are once again all set to take the ground in Hero ISL 2022/23. Under new Head Coach Thomas Brdaric, the club named their first team for the Durand Cup. The side’s journey ended after bowing out in the Quarter Final against Mumbai City FC. Last season, under the tutelage of Bozidar Bandovic, Chennaiyin FC finished eighth in the league – leaving a lot to draw once again.
For the new season, the club has appointed German manager Thomas Brdaric. Thomas has previously coached the junior sides of Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg. His previous project was as a head coach of Albanian First-tier team KF Vllaznia. The club lost out on the league title only by one goal difference. He doesn’t have a rigid formation so a few variations in layouts are expected.
Chennaiyin FC are going in with a whole new set of foreigners in the squad. In defense, Vafa Hakhamaneshi and Fallou Diagne are the new names. Julius Düker will be the one orchestrating the midfield. In comparison, Kwame Karikari and Petar Sliskovic will lead the attack up front. Rafael Crivellaro was supposed to stay but the club decided otherwise at the very death and replaced him with a free agent, Nasser El Khayati.
New Domestic Signings
The club has some well-known Indian Footballers on its roster. They have added some more in the form of Ajith Kumar, Vincy Barreto, and Prasanth KP. Ajith came from Bengaluru FC while the two wingers joined from Kerala Blasters FC. Vincy was involved in a paid transfer whereas Prasanth joined the Southern rivals after terminating his contract with the Blasters only recently.
The domestic roster too had an overhaul as the club saw the departure of Chhangte, Germanpreet Singh, Reagan Singh, Deepak Devrani, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Vishal Kaith. One of their replacements is a very similar profile to the wingers, Romario Jesuraj.
From the I-League, Chennaiyin FC signed Akash Sangwan from RG Punjab FC and Gurmukh Singh from Rajasthan United FC. Both of them got to play in the recently concluded Durand Cup. The club also further managed to rope in Jiteshwor Singh, Lijo Francis, Monotosh Chakladar, Mohammed Rafique, and Sourav Das.
Top Three Signings
German midfield signing Julius Düker can play anywhere in the midfield. He provides in the attack as well as in buildups. Keeping in mind the other signings, Düker is much likely to continue his role as a deeper creator and play alongside Thapa and, as it seems, Sajal Bag. Given his versatility, he definitely is the most vital signing of the season.
Irani Centre Back Vafa H. is the other defensive signing alongside Fallou. With the defence the side currently has, Vafa could be the standout player with his solidity at the back. He started all the three Asian Champions League games for his former club Ratchaburi in 2021.
Chennaiyin FC are not a side known to spend much money on players. But the notion seemed to be disturbed when they paid Kerala Blasters for their winger Vincy Barreto. He didn’t play in the Durand Cup but for sure will be contention for the starting eleven in the ISL. He can play on both wings and with the pace and physicality he possesses, he can be much more useful down the Right Flank.
The midfield of Julius Düker and Anirudh Thapa is going to be one of the most influential duos in the league this season. They definitely are going to be the most vital cog on Brdaric’s side. The 19-year-old Sajal Bag showed tremendous performance in the Durand Cup alongside the two – almost making the third midfield spot his own.
Defense of this side has been quite sloppy. Most of the time it’s been a danger to their own side when the defenders play out from the back. To reduce the threat, Düker drops deep which reduces the influence in the final third. This is something to be taken care of, especially, against teams with high pressing.
The team also showed a lack of stamina in the Quarter Final where they let in three goals in the Extra Time. On paper, however, that should get better with passing games and practice.
Chennaiyin FC 22-23 Possible XI
Chennaiyin FC may not be looking like a title contender straightaway. Their luck with strikers needs to be better than the last few editions. For that, Petar Sliskovic, Kwame Karikari, Rahim Ali, and Jobby Justin need to step up. There may be sloppiness in the defensive third. To emerge as a contender for any piece of silverware, they need to address all this and get better with every game.
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