Old faces, new challenges for Odisha FC ahead of new season


Odisha FC are heading into their fourth Hero ISL season under head coach Josep Gombau. This is his second stint at the club after leading the juggernauts in their debut season finishing sixth in the standings, their best in Hero ISL so far. Odisha FC will be hoping for a change in fortunes after enduring two horrid seasons finishing 11th and 7th on the points table respectively.

After a forgettable season, they reeled off two wins in a row under Kiko Ramirez beating Bengaluru FC and East Bengal in style. Kerala Blasters drew the first blood out of them in the third game from which they bounced back quickly beating Northeast United FC.

After winning three out of the first four games, their initial fire subsided and their lack of versatility became evident in the game against the red miners as they conceded four without any response. Pain pretty much explained the rest of their season winning only three games out of sixteen and that resulted in the sacking of Kiko Ramirez.

About the manager

Gombau is one of the most respected coaches in the Indian Football fraternity. The Spaniard was in charge of Odisha FC in the 2019-20 season, where he received a ton of love for the entertaining game style his team played. He is a trustworthy figure in the development of youngsters as well. Josep Gombau likes his players to take challenges and accountability.

The 46-year-old tactician likes to switch between 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 depending on the opponents without compromising the attacking threat his team possess. There is an enormous amount of optimism among the fans with their beloved gaffer taking charge once again.

Transfers roundup

The team from Bhubaneswar had a very busy summer window, even though there was an initial unrest seeing the exits of fan favourites like Javi Hernandez, Jonathas and Arshdeep Singh. The hullabaloo quickly settled down once their alternates were announced.

Incomings: Carlos Delgado, Víctor Rodríguez, Amrinder Singh, Diego Maurício, Raynier Fernandes (loan), Saúl Crespo, Narender Gahlot, Osama Malik, Pedro Martín, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Michael Soosairaj, Niraj Kumar, Nikhil Prabhu, Denechandra Meitei (loan).

Outgoings: Javi Hernandez, Victor Mongil, Hector Rodas, Aridai Cabrera, Jonathas, Ankit Bhuyan, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Arshdeep Singh, Gaurav Bora, Ravi Kumar, George D’Souza, Baoringdao Bodo, Premjit Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Saurabh Meher, Vinit Rai (loan), Kamalpreet Singh.

Strengths

  • The Juggernauts have a balanced team this year with a mixture of young and experienced players.
  • Their biggest strength might be their attacking arsenal. To the already existing threats like Jerry and Isak, they’ve added the likes of Diego Mauricio, Soosairaj Michael and Pedro Martin. Stopping these speedsters could be a nightmare to the opponent defenders.
  • The performance in the Durand Cup showed clear evidence of their rock-solid defence as they only conceded two goals from five games. Somehow they need to be much more reliable when it comes to ISL.

Weaknesses

  • Players like Michael Soosairaj, Nandhakumar Sekhar, Denenchandra Meitei and Amrinder Singh finding their old form might be the key point. If they fail to do so, it might be tough for Odisha FC to strike a balance in the starting eleven.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Niraj Kumar

Defenders: Narendar Gahlot, Nikhil Prabhu, Carlos Delgado, Osama Malik, Subham Sarangi, Lalruatthara, Denechandra Meitei, Sahil Panwar, Sebastian Zo.

Midfielders: Paul Ramfangzuva, Raynier Fernandez, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Moirangthem, victor Rodriguez, Isaac Vanmalsawma.

Forwards: Diego Mauricio, Pedro Martin, Nandhakumar Sekhar, Jerry Mawia, Isak Ralte, Michael Soosairaj, Akshunna Tyagi.

Best XI





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