All-round Mumbai City FC start favourites against Kerala Blasters
Fatorda, December 18, 2021
Mumbai City FC will look to extend their four-game winning run when they take on Kerala Blasters FC in a 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.
Reigning champions Mumbai have been on a stellar run, steamrolling past teams more often than not by comprehensive margins. In their last outing, Des Buckingham's side were put to test by a defensively solid Chennaiyin FC but they kept at it and got the goal in the 86th minute.
Sitting pretty at the top of the heap with 15 points already from six matches, Mumbai will aim to virtually secure a playoff spot as early as they can and in that bid they will look to keep winning all the games.
At the heart of Mumbai's success has been Ahmed Jahouh. The Moroccan midfielder provided another assist in the last match taking his tally to five for the season. He has provided assists in five of six Mumbai City FC matches, and if he continues to do the same he will break his own and the league's record.
Mumbai have also been sharp from set-pieces, converting nine which is the most by any team so far this season. The Islanders' most effective set-piece weapon has been free-kicks with five of their nine goals coming from that source. Jahouh's dead-ball skills and work done on the training pitch has shown so far with the side benefiting from that a lot.
"I am happy where the players are. We were the last to start pre-season. But I am happy with the work we have done and adapted to as a unit," Buckingham said on the eve of the game.
"We have had a good start to the season but that's what it is. It's a 20- game season. We need to get better in every game. We need to have answers to different challenges," he added.
Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters are eighth in the table with just one win in their kitty. They drew their last game 1-1 with wooden-spooners SC East Bengal and will look to get back to winning ways against Mumbai City FC but for that, they will have to put their best foot forward.
"Everyone's trying to stay positive and be consistent. We want to fight for every game and every point," Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic said. "This is the type of game you want to play and look forward to," he said about taking on Mumbai.