Khalid Jamil guided North East United FC to a third-place finish in the league table last season but they are yet to get anywhere near that form this season. The Highlanders will look to bounce back from the disappointing start when they host Chennaiyin FC in the twelfth match of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season.
Chennaiyin FC will like to continue their winning run
Chennaiyin FC grabbed full three points in Bozidar Bandovic's first game in charge as the new manager. The Marina Machans will be aiming that they can build on that result and continue their winning run. But for that their performance needs to be far better than the opening game.
Busy day for NEUFC full-backs
Both the NEUFC full-backs haven't looked very sturdy in the first two games. Al though Provat Lakra had a decent game against Kerala Blasters, but the other full-back Gurjinder Kumar has been caught out of the position several times and this is the one area where CFC would like to capitalize on.
The NEUFC full-backs have to be at their very best while facing Chennaiyin as their wingers, Mirlan Murzaev and Lallianzuala Chhangte love to dribble with the ball. They are capable of causing a lot of harm if they are given free space and time to do so.
Return of Federico Gallego
Federico Gallego was a big absentee for Khalid Jamil's side in the first two games. He is the lynchpin of North East's defence and there is no doubt that the team lacked quality and creativity in the midfield in his absence.
The Uruguayan midfielder is very committed to the Highlanders and this is his fourth season with them. The 31-year-old midfielder has registered 9 goals and 12 assists in 46 games for the team so far.
Will Lukasz Gikiewicz get his first start?
The four foreigners' rule in the playing XI has made the job of the managers a little bit difficult this season. The Chennaiyin boss left Lukasz Gikiewicz on the bench and went with Rahim Ali as the lone striker against Hyderabad FC. But the Indian international failed to make an impact in front of the goal.
The two-time ISL champions signed Lukasz from East Riffa on a one-year deal. The striker has 49 goals and 21 assists to his name and has played in the Champions League and the Europa League. His presence from the beginning of the game can cause serious damage to NEUFC's defence.
But, it will be very interesting to see if the manager hands Lukasz his first start in Indian football or stick with Rahim Ali.
Can Mathias Coureur fill the void of Deshorn Brown?
Mathias Coureur was on the score sheet against Bengaluru FC but was left on the bench in the second half as the Indian manager went with foreigner CB pairing. He will be leading the line in the absence of injured Brown.
The Martiniquais forward will get the chance to prove his worth and has a huge opportunity to claim for the number nine role.
Probable Starting Lineups:
North East United FC (4-3-3): Subhasish Roy Chowdhury; Provat Lakra, Hernan Santana, Mohammad Irshad, Gurjinder Kumar; Khassa Camara, Pragyan Gogoi, Federico Gallego; Lalkhawpuimawia, Mathias Coureur, V. P. Suhair
Chennaiyin FC (4-3-3): Vishal Kaith; Reagan Singh, Salam Ranjan Singh, Slavko Damjanovic, Narayan Das; Ariel Borysiuk, Anirudh Thapa, Vladimir Koman; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rahim Ali, Mirlan Murzaev
Matches Played: 14
North East United FC Won: 6
Chennaiyin FC Won: 3