As we all know it’s October month and football season is about to kick-start in India after a busy transfer window.
Every club had separate plans for the player transfer window considering their previous season run in Indian Super League. ISL is set to kick-off by October 20th at Kochi, where Kerala Blasters will face off against two-time champions ATK.
Let’s now take a look at Chennaiyin FC squad strength and weakness ahead of the Indian Super League season-six.
Head coach: John Gregory (England)
Karanjit Singh, Vishal Kaith, Sanjiban Ghosh.
Eli Sabia (Brazil), Hendry Antonay, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Laldinliana Renthlei, Lucian Goian (Romania), Tondonba Singh, Masih Saighani (Afghanistan), Reamsochung Aimol, Zohmingliana Ralte, Edwin Vanspaul.
Deepak Tangri, Anirudh Thapa, Dhanpal Ganesh, Dragos Firtulescu (Romania), Thoi Singh, Germanpreet Singh, Rafael Crivellaro (Brazil), Lallianzuala Chhangte.
Jeje Lalpekhlua, Rahim Ali, Andre Schembri (Malta), Nerijus Valskis (Lithuania).
Chennaiyin FC’s veteran shot-stopper Karanjit Singh will have a different role this time under John Gregory as he takes charge as goalkeeping coach come player for the two-time champions. Along side Karanjit Singh former Jamshedpur FC goalie Sanjiban Ghosh stays with Chennaiyin FC for another season. However, Sanjiban will be third choice keeper after a new recruit for the position.
Vishal Kaith of Hyderabad FC (formerly known as FC Pune City) joined Chennaiyin FC on a free transfer this August. Vishal Kaith might be the first choice goalkeeper for the Chennai based club with ageing Karanjit Singh (33) on the other hand. Vishal Kaith made just four appearances for his former club FC Pune City last season in Indian Super League.
Chennaiyin FC parted ways with many of their key and star players ahead of this new season, who have been performing consistently well in the past for the club. Chennaiyin FC skipper for 2018-19 season, Mailson Alves was also one of the player to part ways with the club after being associated with the club for three years.
Chennaiyin FC replaced Mailson Alves by bringing in Romanian and former Mumbai City FC defender Lucian Goian. He’s expected to lead the side from front, which he has done in past. Brazilian defender Eli Sabia decided to stay with the Champions for another year.
Hendry Antonay and Aimol are the two defenders promoted from the reserve side. Former Aizawl defender, Masih Saighani returns to India after a stint with Bangladesh club Dhaka Abhani. Versatile Tamil Nadu player Edwin Vanspaul joined his mother club Chennaiyin FC from Chennai City FC. Edwin can play as a right-back and in the midfield as well similar to Masih Saighani. It’ll be interesting to see how Gregory utilizes these versatile players.
Two-time champions Chennaiyin FC’s midfield is known for the Brazilian Raphael Augusto. The Brazilian joined fellow rival club Bengaluru FC on a free transfer. Chennaiyin FC brought in Brazilian Rafael Crivellaro to replace the spot left by the Augusto. Deepak Tangri joins the club from Indian Arrows and Tangri can also be played as a centre-back at defense.
Romanian Dragos Firtulescu joins the club after his last stint with Dunav Ruse. He’s known for his pace and dribbles and hence we can expect him to create good chances inside the box. Apart from familiar Indian midfielders like Anirudh Thapa, Thoi Singh, German Singh and Ganesh, there’s a new name in the house. It’s none other than Indian International winger Lallianzuala Chhangte, who previously donned Delhi Dynamos jersey.
The 22-year-old winger signed a multiple year contract with the club for around 90 Lakh INR. Chhangte will be a key player for Gregory in the left flank.
Former Aston Villa manager John Gregory has bolstered his attack by bringing in some lethal strikers. Chennaiyin FC didn’t have a season to be proud of in 2018-19 season by finishing at the bottom of the table below Kerala Blasters. Mizo Sniper Jeje Lalpekhlua is back from injury and can expect him to be back in his form.
Former Maltese skipper Andre Schembri joins the club for this season alongside Lithuanian forward Nerijus Valskis. Gregory needs to check out all permutations and combinations to get his forward settle in quickly as the set up is new apart from Jeje. Rahim Ali also joins the Chennai based club from Indian Arrows. Rahim Ali had a good season in I-League with one goal and assist to his name in his 14 appearances for the club.
Chennaiyin FC decided to have their pre-season journey in India. Gregory’s side played their first pre-season friendly against ARA FC in Ahmedabad. The gamed ended in favour of Chennaiyin FC with score line 1-3, where Andre Schembri, Rahim Ali and Nerijus Valskis found the net.
After arriving to their home land, Chennaiyin FC faced recently concluded Durand Cup champions Gokulam Kerala FC in Chennai. Both the clubs shared the spoils, which saw 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes. Rafael Crivellaro scored from the spot for Chennaiyin FC.
Chennaiyin FC has good goal scoring options up front and can upset the opposition with goals, while defense is still a doubt.
Total Squad Rating: 7.5/10