Following a surprisingly quiet first half of the transfer window, Chennaiyin FC has now come out all guns blazing, determined to build a title contender squad. Chennaiyin had a poor season last time under Csaba Laszlo, with the bulk of their troubles stemming from the foreigners they signed and the coach’s tactics. However, Bosko Bandovic, the new coach, has already been appointed to rectify that. With regards to foreigners, Chennaiyin has dispensed with all of them save Rafael Crivellaro. Mirlan Murzaev, Slavko Damjanovic, and Ariel Borysiuk have already been signed. The latter, for most of his career, has played in the Polish league Ekstraklasa, with a loan move to Queens Park Ranger standing out on his CV.
Here, IFTWC takes a look at Ariel Borysiuk and how he can become an essential player in Bosko’s team.
In his last stint as Buriram United‘s manager, Bosko Bandovic used a very hybrid set-up. Bosko’s preferred formation for a back three was a 5-3-2, with two box-to-box midfielders and one holding midfielder at the centre. Rattanakorn Maikami and Korean midfielder Jeong Jae Yong served as the holding midfielders or No. 6 in Buriram United between the 2018/19 and 19/20 seasons. The latter, however, featured at the Thai club for a very brief period. Bandovic wanted his defensive-midfielder not just to sit in front of the defensive line but also to participate in attacks. Buriram’s AFC Champions League clips from the 2019 season have given us a good idea about what Bosko wants from his No.6.
Below are clips from Buriram’s match against Ho Chi Minh City in the AFC Champions League. Jae Yong played as Bosko’s holding midfielder while Muenta and Sarachat were the box-to-box midfielders.
In the 5-3-2 formation implemented by Bosko, CDM Jeing Jae Yong is positioned just outside the box during a Buriram United attack. In contrast to traditional No.6s, Yong repeatedly advanced to the opposition box to aid the Buriram attack.
These two pictures once again demonstrate how Bosko Bandovic wants his holding midfielder to play high.
There is more security when there are three men at the back, which is one of the reasons why Bosko wants his defensive midfielder to play high. It is evident from the player profiles of Maikami and Yong that they are both fast midfielders since they need to cover some ground during counterattacks.
Bosko very well laid out the defensive strategy for his No 6. Yong and Maikami were both seen following the same setup- without the ball, both players followed rigorous man-marking tactics. Some instances have been pictured above.
Bosko also wanted aggressive play from his players. Instead of waiting for the ball, Yong goes aggressively after it. Buriram successfully counter-attacks as a result.
It may help us to understand better why Chennaiyin FC signed Ariel Borysiuk and what he can offer the Marina Machans if we understand how Bosko wants his defensive midfielder to play.
Ariel has been playing as a No.6 for Jagiellonia Bialystok for over a year. Previously, he played for clubs like Sheriff Tiraspol and Wisla Plock in the same league.
We saw above that the No 6 in Bosko’s team needs to be adept offensively and defensively. Ariel Borysiuk could very well be the perfect choice for this position. Even though Ariel doesn’t have many goals or assists to his name, the defensive midfielder of Jagiellonia has been quite impressive offensively.
Unlike traditional defensive midfielders who like to sit back, Ariel makes a superb run into the box to pick up his teammate’s cross.
For a traditional No 6, Ariel again occupies a very high position in the field here.
As we see here, Ariel yet again shows the same willingness to make runs, taking part in a quick Jagiellonia counter-attack. The player receives the ball, beats the opposing player’s press, and unleashes a powerful shot. This attack resulted in a fantastic long-range goal.
Yet, this isn’t his only instance of scoring such long-rangers. Over the years, the majority of his goals have come from long-range shots. Borysiuk may benefit from Bosko Bandovic’s positioning of his No. 6 in an advanced position, right outside the box, as he can unleash powerful strikes from there.
Due to his good offensive awareness, Ariel has a natural tendency to make runs and participate in his team’s attack, which can be helpful for Bandovic. As we have seen previously, Bandovic likes his No. 6 to be offensive, so it is no wonder that Ariel has been acquired keeping his interests in mind.
He also has an excellent defensive record, with his percentile rank in interceptions and ball recoveries relatively high compared to other midfielders in Ekstraklasa. Ariel also has an aggressive defending style- something that Bandovic will definitely demand from his No.6. Borysiuk’s poor aerial duels percentile below can be attributed to his short stature, but he compensated for that with his on-ground defensive work.
Overall, it appears that the Chennaiyin scouts have done well to find the ideal defensive midfielder for Bozidar Bandovic. Ariel Borysiuk ticks roughly every box necessary to qualify as Chennaiyin’s new No.6 this season.
Chennaiyin has undoubtedly taken a risk by replacing the experienced Memo Moura in the centre of the field with a new player unfamiliar with the ISL. However, on paper, the addition of Ariel to the likes of Anirudh Thapa and Rafael Crivellaro in Chennaiyin makes for an intriguing midfield. But now, it remains to be seen how quickly Ariel can adapt to a new league and manager.
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