The defending league winners, FC Goa have went through a total overhaul with changes in the coaching front as well as in the playing squadron. The Gaurs have had a very crucial transfer window ahead of their continental debut later up in the season. With the addition of some impressive young guns and almost a full Spanish foreign contingent, Goa has done some serious business in totality.
Famous for their Spanish Tiki taka style football, the team loves to attack. Building their attacks from the back, FC Goa will seemingly showcase a lateral – high pressing gameplay under their new head coach Juan Ferrando, who would be definitively riding high on expectations.
Lets address the elephant in the room i.e What will be FC Goa’s Probable Playing XI in the upcoming edition of the Indian top flight league without any further ado.
Goalkeeper : Mohammad Nawaz
Nawaz has been the mainstay Goalkeeper for the Goan side for almost two long seasons. Tremendous athleticism, solid experience and a Keeper who’s unorthodoxly good with his feet gave Nawaz an edge over his peers. His role in the new-look FC Go will be quite pivotal as building attacks from back has been in the blood of the Gaurs. Standing 5’9″ tall Nawaz has been proving his mettle albeit being just 20 years old. Having conceded just over a goal (per match) in his ISL career Nawaz will continue to be the Mr. Dependable for FCG in our probable XI.
Defense : Seriton Fernandes (RB), Ivan Gonzales (CB-Spain), James Donachie (CB-Australia), Saviour Gama (LB)
The Back 4 will have only one of the regulars who will be carrying forward his hold in the defense from the last season. Seriton Fernandes has almost cemented his name on the teamsheet as the Right Back.
The 2 new additions in the likes of the Spaniard Ivan Gonzalez and Australian James Donachie will be key for guarding the center. Ivan comes with baggage of experience in Spain having graduated from the Real Madrid youth setup. Whereas James ‘Don’achie who recently joined FC Goa on a loan, will be very crucial citing his tremendous experience at the continental stage with as much as 20 appearances in the Champions league. How well the Don-Ivan duo gels together is an important aspect for the continent trotters as they might comfortably fit in the gap of Pena and Fall.
LB was the particular position which never went through any conundrum for almost an eternity at FC Goa. The ex captain Mandar Rao Desai seemed to have owned the spot. As he announced his departure from his home side, we could foresee a big hollow which is yet to be fortified. The youngster Saviour Gama has shown the glimpses of what he brings to the table for quite a few occasions and this might just be a huge opportunity for him to step up. Having scored an instrumental goal in the dying minutes of the semi finals last season, Gama can fancy his chances to break through into the starting XI as a regular.
The center back duo with Lenny as a pivot would help the pacy wing back to press high up against the opposition, enabling the attackers to chip in the empty pockets and hunt for opportunities while the defenders guard the backline nullifying any chances of the counter attacks. This keeps the whole Goan identity of their attacking brand intact for the coming season.
Midfield : Lenny Rodrigues (CDM), Edu Bedia (CDM- Spain), Brandon Fernandes (LM), Alberto Noguera (CAM- Spain), Redeem Tlang (RM)
Coach Juan Ferrando will have choices aplenty in the midfield but the pre defined chemistry within the likes of Lenny-Edu-Brandon will offer him a settled core. Lenny has been performing day in day out for the Goan outfit and is rated as one of the better defensive midfielders India has produced. He will have his responsibility doubled up as he will be marshalling in a holding position alongside Edu Bedia who will be plying his trade in the orange jersey for the third consecutive year. They both would pair up in a double pivot which would pretty much solidify and add up another dimension to the box to box trait of Goa.
Moving on to the offense, Brandon-Noguera-Redeem can arguably formulate one of the best attacks in the league. Redeem has been in an inspired form for the Highlanders scoring 3 goals for the team last season. The winger from Shillong can be the next big thing in Indian football and it took no longer for the FC Goa management to identify the same and to rope him in. Redeem has got it all what it takes to dominate the Right wing, he can hug the line and take the ball to the final third as well as move into the box and poach a goal or two.
The departure of Hugo Boumous had created a huge void in the midfield for the gaurs, but the appointment of Alberto Noguera, a seasoned Spanish campaigner is reportedly a like to like replacement. Again, Juan can toss up between Jorge Ortiz and Noguera, but the latter has better chances owing to his experience as the number 10. It would be quite interesting to see how Noguera and Angulo get together as their chemistry will be bankable for FCG.
Coming to Brandon Fernandes, he has been the best find for FC Goa. Set pieces, constructing attacks, and his distribution in the final third is second to none according to what we have seen till now. Predominantly being a central midfielder, Brandon can also double up with his prowess over the left wing. Will Brandon step up and bring the inexorable trophy to the Goan coasts? Definitely a talking point for the season to come.
Attack : Igor Angulo (ST – Spain)
The Main Man, Igor Angulo who’s landing into the ISL after conquering the Polish top tier with his goalscoring instincts, will be THE player to watch out for. Angulo the Spaniard might take no time to amalgamate with the squad having familiar faces around. He owes to keep scoring for the Gaur army who will be fighting for all the titles and entering the Champions League on a high note. The talismanic striker is all confident about his stay at Goa and the fans would also look forward to the same.
FC GOA PROBABLE MATCHDAY 11
Substitutions : Naveen Kumar (GK), Alberto Noguera, Ishan Pandita, Len Doungel, Makan Chothe, Phrangki Buam, Devendra Murgaonkar, Leander D Cunha
Bench strength is the key; walking into a long season. With ISL possibly implementing the 5 substitutions rule, it will be a very crucial aspect to have a good set of players who are willing to level up and make their way into the starting 11. Impressive young talents in the likes of Ishan Pandita who has a Spanish experience and a couple of rising stars in the likes of Devendra and Phrangki, FC Goa is all geared up to make it big in the upcoming season.
What would be your Playing XI let us know in the comments below!