Mumbai City FC returns to the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 action after over a month as they gear up to face Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium. The Islanders will have to deal with the departure of head coach Des Buckingham as he decided to take over the reins at his boyhood club Oxford United FC last month. The incumbent League Winners, identified as Buckingham's Blue Army, had completely bought into the British tactician's ideas, philosophy, and playing style in the last two years. He propelled them to great success, being at the helm for the longest duration at the Club, becoming the fastest to get to 100+ goals in the league, and also the youngest head coach ever to win the League Shield. Jamshedpur FC 2–2 Chennaiyin FC, ISL 2023–24: Daniel Chima Chukwu’s Header Helps Red Miners Share Points With Marina Machans.
Replacing someone of that calibre appears to be a tough task, with assistant coach Anthony Fernandes and Hiyoshi Miyazawa carrying out the duties on an interim basis for the time being. However, the Islanders have to reclaim their domestic supremacy at the moment, after losing all six of their AFC Champions League group stage matches.
With no other commitments midway, they can bring back the focus completely on the ISL, where they currently hold the fifth spot in the standings after garnering 11 points from five games. They are eight points behind the top-placed FC Goa (19), who have also played two additional games (7).
However, having had a good start to the season, Mumbai City FC would know that they cannot be dropping points early on in their pursuit of defending the shield. Intrigue over the new head coach aside, the team has to pull off their duties flawlessly on the field and the Blues will be waiting to pounce upon this moment of uncertainty in the Mumbai City FC camp.
The Simon Grayson-coached side has drawn their last three league fixtures, and never before has the club been on a longer streak of draws in the ISL. Bengaluru FC have some impeccable attacking talent in their ranks, and it was prevalent in the way they came back to get level 3-3 with Punjab FC last week. Sreenidi Deccan FC 0–0 Real Kashmir, I-League 2023–24: Deccan Warriors Move to Second Spot on Table After Goalless Draw With Sheeni Seh.
Mumbai City FC have lost just once in their last 13 away games in the ISL, which was incidentally against Bengaluru FC during this very fixture in the league. They have emerged as one of the tougher teams to take on, and their tackle success rate of 60 per cent testifies to the same. Rest assured, Bengaluru FC will not be handing a free pass to the Islanders in the middle of the park. Mumbai City FC build passing triangles at the centre, and their wingers play a critical role in stretching the opposition's backline and delivering precise passes into the box for Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
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