ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses | OneFootball

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·30 January 2023

ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Article image:ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Chennaiyin FC's hopes of finishing in the top six of ISL 2022-23 are slowly starting to fade away following their 3-1 loss to Bengaluru FC on Saturday. Head coach Thomas Brdaric, who constantly encourages players from the touchline, sat down in the dugout hopelessly that evening for the first time this campaign.

Despite Marina Machan's burning desire to turn the tide during the second half, the damage was already done in the opening half -- wherein they conceded three goals due to individual mistakes.

During the first half, Chennaiyin FC were toothless in attack as Bengaluru's back five were able to deal with their opponents' threat conveniently. Hence, the German head coach made three changes at the stroke of half-time. Local boy Edwin Sydney opened his account for the Blues with a stunning finish, but that goal meant nothing to their playoff fortunes.

Silver Lining

We couldn't celebrate this last night, but we've all been waiting for@edwinsydney’s first #HeroISL goal, haven't we?

Why is a tactical change imperative for Chennaiyin FC?

Marina Machans are in dire need of a radical change in their approach to getting past the league stage this campaign. They are currently five points adrift of the playoff spot with five league games left.

They will face their playoff competitors including Odisha FC, Kerala Blasters and FC Goa in the coming weeks, but Brdaric's Blues must respond with a sequence of positive results to salvage the season.

It is imperative to extend the German head coach's contract irrespective of their progression to the next round. Since Owen Coyle's departure, the two-time Indian Super League champions have been 'soft opponents' and were easily beaten under the tutelage of Csaba Laszlo and Bozidar Bandovic.

But the current Chennaiyin FC coach broke the pattern and injected an abundance of energy and passion into this side. Despite the unfortunate results, his clear pattern of play has arrived as a source of encouragement for the Chennaiyin FC faithful for the first time in many years.

“We showed in the second half, that we are able to score and play better…”

Head coach Thomas reflects after tonight’s tough loss. 🗣️

However, there are numerous loopholes in this squad that need to be addressed in the coming days.

#5 Lack of pace and highline are not going hand in hand

Article image:ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Vafa Hakhamaneshi has not made a substantial improvement at the back for Chennaiyin FC. (Photo credits: ISL)

Chennaiyin FC have conceded 29 goals this campaign -- nearly 2 goals every game since the 2022-23 ISL kicked off. The two main reasons are the lack of pace and positional awareness in the backline.

Since Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Fallou Diagne, Ajith Kumar, and Akash Sangwan have been outpaced by opposition forwards on numerous occasions, they have struggled to track back and go toe-to-toe with them. Moreover, the highline, which forces them to stay up the field -- leaves them with the gigantic task of chasing opposing strikers. On top of that, individual mistakes have affected them drastically over the course of the campaign.

#4 Foreign centre-backs are not good enough

Article image:ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Fallou Diagne has underperformed for the Blues. (Image credits: ISL)

Chennaiyin FC procured the services of a quality foreign centre-back in Slavko Damjanovic the previous season. But they decided to release him when Thomas Brdaric brought in Senegalese centre-back Fallou Diagne.

The duo worked together at VIIaznia Shkoder in Albania. However, it is safe to say that the recruitment has failed. The 33-year-old has been shaky at the back for Marina Machans and has been unable to cut down on the leakage of goals.

Vafa Hakhamaneshi, on the other hand, must act as a squad player for the rest of the season. His mistakes at the back have proven costly. It won't be a surprise if Thomas Brdaric plays Gurmukh Singh and Fallou Diagne at the back until the end of the season as it frees up a spot for Kwame Karikari or Nasser El-Khayati in the attacking areas of the pitch.

Article image:ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Anirudh Thapa will be looking to end the season on a high for Chennaiyin FC. (Photo credits: ISL)

Anirudh Thapa was replaced by Edwin Sydney after the first half yesterday. The Chennaiyin FC captain has demonstrated his qualities in very few games but has failed to be consistent throughout the season. One of the most disappointing aspects of his season is the failure to score or assist despite playing as a roaming midfielder behind the striker. On the other hand, the other two midfielders have always been tasked with defensive duties.

It was a tough evening in Bangalore. For us. For you’ll. We weren’t close to being as good as we have, or can be.Thank you for coming out. It wasn’t the nicest thing to watch. We know that. But we promise to change that. #AllInForChennaiyin

Unexpectedly, Edwin Sydney looks more suited to the roaming midfielder role. Thapa, on the other hand, is better suited as a box-to-box midfielder. Given the current form, Edwin Sydney should start over Anirudh Thapa.

#2 Too much predictability with Petar Sliskovic upfront

Article image:ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Petar Sliskovic and Nasser El-Khayati have been the main source of goals for Thomas Brdaric's Chennaiyin. (Image credits: ISL)

Petar Sliskovic has contributed 11 goals to Chennaiyin FC by bagging 8 goals and contributing 3 assists from 15 games. But the Marina Machans look like a one-dimensional team with the Croat striker.

Although Sliskovic works incredibly hard to make things happen high up the pitch, his limitations slow down the tempo for Chennaiyin FC during counter-attacking situations. Akash Sangwan, who stows in crosses from the left attacking flank, has only benefited from the tall striker.

Other players such as Anirudh Thapa, Vincy Barretto, and Ninthoi are struggling to find their feet. Kwame Karikari or Nasser El-Khayati is likely to start with Petar Sliskovic up front for the rest of the season as the Marina Machans go in search of goals.

#1 Midfield is too soft

Article image:ISL 2022-23: Analyzing Chennaiyin FC's top 5 weaknesses

Julius Duker has been the main man for Chennaiyin FC in the midfield. (Photo credits: ISL)

One of their biggest concerns has been the lack of steel in the midfield. While Julius Duker has done his job on eight out of ten occasions, other midfielders are not stepping up to help him out when the midfield has been overrun.

The German international is the ninth best tackler in the Indian Super League, having won 22 tackles from 15 games. While Jiteshwor Singh, Sourav Das, and Edwin Sydney have won 13, 9 and 9 tackles, respectively, Anirudh Thapa is still in pursuit of a successful tackle this campaign. Chennaiyin FC must shore up their midfield department in the summer transfer window.

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