After a season full of praises and winning the hearts of the fans by playing amazing possession-based football and giving young players like Akash Mishra plenty of game time, Hyderabad FC won’t be stopping with this. The Nizams missed out on the playoffs spot last season by one goal and this time they will make sure they will fight hard till the end to get to the playoffs.
Assessment of Hyderabad FC’s transfer window
Hyderabad FC hasn’t done many changes for this season compared to what they did last season. They have replaced four of their last season’s foreign signings with three ISL experienced players and one young striker who has previously trained under Manolo Marquez. Juanan Gonzalez, Edu Garcia, Bartholomew Ogbeche are the three ISL experienced foreign signings of Hyderabad FC.
Javi Siverio is the fourth foreign signing of the Nizams, Javi came to India on a free transfer from Las Palmas B, he previously trained under Manolo Marquez. The fans will be looking forward to him scoring goals donning the Yellow and Black jersey.
The Nizams have strengthened their defense will the inclusion of Nim Dorjee from NorthEast United FC, they have also signed goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh from the same team. Pritam Singh is another defender (left-back) who has joined Hyderabad this season. Abdul Rabeeh, Aaren D’Silva and Aniket Jadhav are the three players who were signed by HFC for attacking positions.
Just like last season, HFC might use Laxmikant Kattimani for most of the games, they will also be giving ample game time to Gurmeet Singh. Goalkeeper Subrata Paul has not been registered for the season so the Nizams have only three goalkeepers in their ISL squad this time Laxmikant Kattimani, Gurmeet Singh and Jongte.
Hyderabad FC had one of the best defensive line-ups last season, this season is not going to be any different as Juanan Gonzalez has replaced Odei Onaindia. Juanan Gonzalez is an experienced ISL player who will play a huge role for the Nizams in their defence, Juanan can win aerial duels, tackle players and stop the opponent forwards from scoring goals by attracting fewer cards and fouls.
The other starting players would be as usual Akash Mishra, Sana Singh and Asish Rai. All these three defenders have proved what they are capable of by donning both the HFC jersey and the National team jersey. Most of the offseason was spent in national team camps, they have gained a lot of experience since then. So all the three defenders will be stronger and fitter than last season to give their best for HFC.
Defenders Nim Dorjee and Nikhil Prabhu will be getting ample time this season along with left-back Pritam Singh. With Sana Singh spending most of the time in the national camp, Nim Dorjee and Nikhil Prabhu have gotten plenty of game time for the friendlies which HFC has played during the offseason.
The Nizams midfield was one of the main reasons why they got all the praise last season, possession-based game with both slow and fast build-up combined is what made HFC the obvious contender for the playoffs. We won’t be seeing much difference with their midfield this time except Edu Garcia taking up the position of Joel Chianese in the CAM position.
Both Edu and Joel will be playing in the same position, one might start and the other will get substituted in the second half. The Assamese speedster Halicharan Narzary and Mohammad Yasir will be retaining their left-wing and right-wing positions. Joao Victor and Hitesh Sharma will be playing in their usual defensive midfield positions, Souvik Chakraborthy and Sahil Tavora both will play as substitutes for defensive midfield.
Hyderabad has plenty of options in the midfield and wing. Aniket Jadhav, Abdul Rabeeh, Rohit Danu, Nikhil Poojary are the options for the Nizams to play in the wings. Mohammad Yasir can also play as an attacking midfielder.
Hyderabad’s midfield looks strong just like last season and with the inclusion of former ATK Mohun Bagan custodian Edu Garcia, HFC’s midfield is stronger than ever.
Hyderabad FC had Aridane Santana as their main striker last season who scored 10 goals, he was the lead goal scorer for the club. Fran Sandaza was also another option for the Nizams but due to injuries he couldn’t get much game time but he surely had an impact when he was on the pitch.
This season the Nizam’s clearly have an upgrade over the last season’s strikers, Bartholomew Ogbeche has replaced Aridane Santana and the 23-year-old Javi Siverio has replaced Fransisco Sandaza. Bartholomew Ogbeche needs no introduction, he is playing his 4th ISL season and every season he has proved what he is capable of. Javi Siverio has previously trained under Manolo Marquez when they were at Las Palmas.
Joel Chianese also played as a striker last season when HFC used 4-4-2 formation, so this season HFC again has three foreign players to play as strikers. Aaren D’Silva, Rohit Danu and Aniket Jadhav are the three other players who can play as strikers too.
Possible line up
Strengths and weaknesses
Hyderabad FC’s major weakness last season was key foreign players like Lluis Sastre, Fran Sandaza and Joel Chianese getting injured which led them to use young Indian players in those key positions and concede late goals, leading to 11 draws by the end of the season. Another weak spot which the Nizams had last season was not finding the net after having so many chances. Aridane Santana, Joel Chianese, Liston Colaco, Halicharan Narzary and other players got plenty of goal-scoring opportunities but they failed in putting the ball behind the net.
This weakness has been turned into strength now as Hyderabad FC has signed Bartholomew Ogbeche, Javier Siverio, Aaren D’Silva and Aniket Jadhav for the striker position. Ogbeche and Siverio are the best replacements for Aridane and Sandaza, they will surely impress fans by scoring many goals and winning the games.
The weak spot for HFC this season might be the centre-back position, with Odei Onaindia ending his contract with the club, the Nizams have signed Juanan Gonzalez as their replacement. Last season Juanan has missed six games due to a muscle injury which he picked up in the second leg game against HFC. This might be a concern for the Nizams this season as they don’t have a perfect replacement in case Juanan gets injured.
Probable finish in the league table
The Nizams were one of the top contenders for the playoffs spot last season, they missed it by one goal. Hyderabad FC has a great team with young Indian players, ISL experienced foreign contingent and a tactically sound coach Manolo Marquez. They are one of the best teams on paper, just like last season they will give their best, fight for the playoffs spot and also will win everyone’s hearts again with their awe-inspiring play using young players like Rohit Danu, Abdul Rabeeh, Mark Zothanpuia and others.
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