Mon, 02 Oct 2023

New Delhi [India], September 18 (ANI): Mumbai City FC were in stellar form in the Indian Super League (ISL) last season when they went 18 games unbeaten, the longest-ever unbeaten streak in the league's history en route to winning the ISL League Shield. They also qualified for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League forthe second time in their history by defeating Jamshedpur FC in the Club Playoffs.

Taking inspiration from the high standards they set for themselves last season with a massive winning streak and ISL Shield win, Mumbai City FC will hope to go all the way in the tournament to secure both the ISL Cup and Shield this season, as they did in 2020-21.

Des Buckingham has been key in making Mumbai City FC a dominant team in ISL. His first season with the Islanders was not particularly special as the team finished in fifth position. The 2022-23 season saw Buckingham turning Mumbai into a dominant attacking unit which was reflected in their attacking stats. Mumbai City were the highest-scoring team in the 2022-23 season with 54 goals, a record for the league stage, as per an ISL press release.

With a slightly tweaked squad, Mumbai City FC will hope to continue on the path to glory this season and also perform in the AFC Champions League along with the ISL.

Performance in ISL so farMumbai City FC have slowly improved their performances in the ISL after their lowest-ever finish in the inaugural season in 2014 when they finished seventh out of eight teams. However, the club have picked up their performances ever since reaching the semi-finals for the first time in 2016 when they finished top of the table and went on to win the League and Cup double in 2020-21, before the League Shield triumph in 2022-23.

Team composition and transfer dealingsMumbai City FC have used the transfer market to change the dynamics of the squad in certain key positions and to buy promising youngsters to develop their team.

Some key players left their team to join different clubs after the end of the 2022-23 season with the most notable ones being Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall, both of whom have joined Odisha FC.

Yoell van Nieff, Akash Mishra, Tiri and Jayesh Rane have been some of the key arrivals.

Ins: Akash Mishra, Yoell Van Nieff, Tiri, Vinit Rai, Seilenthang Lotjem, Franklin Robin Nazareth, Nathan Asher Rodriguez, Jayesh Rane, Gyamar Nikum.

Outs: Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall, Raynier Fernandes, Mandar Rao Desai, Jackichand Singh, Gursimrat Singh Gill, Asif Khan, Vignesh D.

Key Players-Jorge Pereyra DiazThe Argentine striker is one of the most lethal finishers in the ISL. He has been extremely consistent in his two seasons in the ISL where he tallied 11 goals in 20 appearances for Mumbai City FC in 2022-23 and eight goals in 21 appearances for Kerala Blasters FC the season before. Thanks to his constant and clever movements, he will once again prove to be a nuisance to defenders especially with a talented attack ready to supply him with chances.

-Yoell van NieffWith the departure of Ahmed Jahouh, the onus to keep the Islanders' midfield ticking will be on Van Nieff. The Dutch midfielder has a wealth of experience playing in Europe and dished out some solid performances in the recently-concluded Durand Cup. He looks like a fine addition to their squad and seems like someone who will be a fine asset for Mumbai City FC this season.

FixturesDes Buckingham's side start their season against Northeast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on September 24. Their next game is against Odisha FC in the Kalinga stadium.

They open their home campaign in October against Kerala Blasters FC. (ANI)

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