Defending champions of the ISL, Chennaiyin FC will begin their title defence when they take on familiar foes in Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore on 30 September 2018.
Two-time champions Chennaiyin FC will look to do the unprecedented as they aim to win the Indian Super League title for a record three times and make it two for two in consecutive seasons, a feat achieved by no other club in the league.
We take a look at their squad ahead of the upcoming season of the ISL.
Chennaiyin FC ISL 2018-19 Squad
Goalkeepers: Karanjit Singh, Sanjiban Ghosh and Nikhil Bernard
Defenders: Eli Sabia, Hendry Antolay, Inigo Calderon, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Laldinliana Renthlei, Mailson Alves, Tondonba Singh and Zohmingliana Ralte
Midfielders: Sinivasan Pandiyan, Anirudh Thapa, Raphael Augusto, Andrea Orlandi, Francis Fernandes, Thoi Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Gregory Nelson, Germanpreet Singh, Zonunmawia, Bedashwor Singh
Strikers: Carlos Salom, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Baoringdao Bodo and Mohammed Rafi
Englishman John Gregory will continue to be at the helm of the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned franchise as he became the first Englishman last season to win the ISL title . Under the Englishman, the Chennaiyin FC side had a stable defensive lineup with a creative midfield ahead of them.
The Chennaiyin FC fans will hope that John Gregory will be able to manage the side and bring the cup to Chennai this time around as well.
Chennaiyin FC signed Spanish midfielder Andrea Orlandi to futher strengthen their midfield. Orlandi has played in the English Premier League for Swansea City and has made an appearance for Spanish champions FC Barcelona early in his career. Brazilian defender Eli Sabia will replace their skipper from last season Henrique Sereno and Palestinian striker Carlos Salom will add firepower to the attack.
Indian players Zohmingliana Ralte from Bengaluru FC and Sinivasan Pandiyan from Chennai City FC were signed by the Chennaiyin FC to add strength to the Indian base of the team.
Chennaiyin FC have managed to retain the core of their championship winning side and the likes of Anirudh Thapa, Germanpreet Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala are young players who impressed during their title run. Dhanpal Ganesh was a key feature for the team last season and his absence for the first half of the season could force the coach to alter the composition of the team.
The strike force is a bit of a concern for the Chennnayin FC side as apart from Jeje Lalpekhlua, the other two men – Baoringdao Bodo and Mohammed Rafi lack the killer instinct. The signing of Carlos Salom could be a welcome addition to their striking department.
SportzDose Prediction for Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC are a well-knit unit and the retention of core players from last season as well as the manager puts them in a prime position to defend their title. A playoffs finish is a very likely outcome for the Marina Machans.