Jamshedpur FC will host Chennaiyin FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Saturday, in Matchweek 14 of the Indian Super League.
Jamshedpur FC currently sits in 10th place with five points on board, whereas Chennaiyin FC sits in 7th place with 14 points on the board and a chance to challenge both FC Goa and Odisha FC for their playoff spots after both teams have dropped points in recent weeks.
Chennaiyin has a game in hand against both these teams and two wins in its next two games could propel them straight into the playoffs zone on the standings.
However, both sides in this fixture are coming in on the back of losses. Jamshedpur FC lost 3-1 in Kochi to an inspired Kerala Blasters side, and Chennaiyin FC toiled hard before succumbing to a 2-1 loss to in-form Mumbai City FC.
Despite sticking to the back-three formation that earned them a point against FC Goa two weeks ago, Jamshedpur FC could not hold Kerala Blasters’ high-press approach last week.
It remains to be seen if its head coach Aidy Boothroyd will stick with this formation in the upcoming game or tinker further.
Boothroyd suggested that his side needs to start games a lot better in his pre-match press conference.
“It’s clearly something that will make a big difference to our points and, therefore, our place in the table if we stop conceding these ridiculous goals at key times in a match,” he said.
Chennaiyin FC hasn’t won a game since its dominant 7-3 win over NorthEast United FC on December 10.
Abdelnasser El Khayati was in supreme form on the day. He scored a hat-trick in that match and is still leading the ISL goalscoring charts, alongside Cleiton Silva and Lallianzuala Chhangte, with seven goals.
With him in the side, Chennaiyin FC poses a threat to every team in the league.
Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric played down the expectations when asked about top-4 and title-winning ambitions in his pre-match press conferences.
“We came here to develop, and we start from zero - from the beginning. We build a team, we develop a team, and we are competitive,” he said.
The two sides have faced each other 11 times. Chennaiyin FC hold the upper hand in the head-to-head meetings with five wins, three losses, and three draws.
When the two sides met in November, Chennaiyin FC won 3-1. Peter Sliskovic, Vincy Barretto, and El Khayati were on target for Chennaiyin FC, whereas Ishan Pandita scored the only goal for Jamshedpur FC.
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