Owen Coyle turned around Chennaiyin FC’s fortunes and now the two-time champion finds itself in the Indian Super League final.
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Ahead of Saturday’s final against ATK, Sportstar has done a SWOT analysis of the Marina Machans.
The confidence in the team is probably its biggest strength right now. In its last ten games, it has lost only once – the second leg playoff defeat to FC Goa – and won seven.
The team slowly gathered momentum to gatecrash the top-four and seal its spot in the final.
The Blues have also been scoring goals with ease. In those ten games, they have scored 37 goals – with the goal-scoring burden equally shared between the attackers.
Chennaiyin’s defence has been porous throughout the season. While a prolific attack has made sure the spotlight hasn’t been on the other end, Coyle will be hoping his defenders have a good day in office on the biggest game of the season.
Of the four teams to have qualified for the play-offs, Chennaiyin conceded the most (26) and it has kept only four cleansheets in the season.
In the second leg of the playoff against FC Goa, its defence opened up with ease and nearly cost the team a place in the final.
Chennaiyin’s midfield is almost the ideal mix any manager could ask for.
A hard-working, combative midfielder (Edwin Vanspaul) is paired with a creative midfielder (Anirudh Thapa) who has the arsenal to pull strings from the middle of the pitch.
The two wingers -- Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andre Schembri -- have been productive in front of the goal and are diligent in tracking back to help the team in defending.
In between the two wingers is a creative Brazilian -- Rafael Crivellaro -- who has all the tricks in the book to get his teammates to tick.
While both ATK and Chennaiyin have strikers in the hunt for the golden boot, Nerijus Valskis has the edge over Roy Krishna with his all-round style.
No other striker has more assists to his name than the Lithuanian (6) and he does well as a target man too, winning physical battles and occupying the opposition’s defenders, which opens up space on the pitch for those around him.