Chennaiyin FC was founded in August 2014 and kicked off their Indian Super League campaign on October 15th by locking horns with FC Goa. The two times ISL winners matched the Atletico de Kolkata’s record of winning the league title twice when they beat Bengaluru FC to lift their second title. It seems like that their logo of Dhristi Bommai has helped them to let go of negativity as they went on winning the title after having their worst season in the third edition of ISL. The ownership of Chennaiyin FC has been divided among Vita Dani, Abhishek Bachchan and Indian world cup winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Indian Super League History:
2014 – 2015
The inaugural campaign saw Chennaiyin FC playing their first match on October 15, 2014. They faced FC Goa and registered a comfortable victory over them. In their clash against FC Goa, Balwant Singh scored the winner and became the first ever Indian to score a goal in the Indian Super League. They signed former world cup winner Alessandro Nesta, breaking his retirement to join the Super Machans. After an impressive run they finished on the top position on the points table and faced off Kerala Blasters FC in the semis. They could have made the greatest comeback in the history of ISL in the semi final after going down 3-0 in the first leg, they pulled back 3 goals in the second leg but when the game went on to the extra time where they conceded the winner to Kerala Blasters FC, ending their hopes for the season.
2015 – 2016
In the second edition of the Indian Super League, Chennaiyin FC hold on to retain six players from the previous campaign and they were Balwant Singh, Jayesh Rane, Dhanachandra Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra and Abhishek Das. They brought along foreign players to strengthen their squad but theu had a poor start to the season and was scratched off early in the season as one of the bottlers. Unlike their cricket counterpart, who dominated the Indian Premier League, they failed to leave an impact. After losing their first two games in the season, they won two games and lost three more games resulting to end up on the last position on the points table. They had all hopes down but they continued on with more effort, more passion and more desperately they won four matches in a row to make it in the play-offs. They lift their first ever league title after beating FC Goa in the final.
2016 – 2017
Their third season started with retaining 6 more players from the winning team hoping that Chennayin FC would want to repeat the same heroics of the previous season. They retained Harmanjot Khabra, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Dhanachandra Singh, Jayesh Rane, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Abhishek Das and Thoi Singh. They even got John Arne Riise as their marquee player for the season. They looked positive as they kicked off their third campaign against ATK in their opening game. However, their tactics and changes didn’t bring much change to their fate as they failed to win more than only three games in the season. They finished on the 7th position after the season which ensured the departure of Marco Materazzi.
Last Indian Super League performance
2017 – 2018
After the bittersweet memories with Marco Materazzi’s, Chennaiyin FC looked up to former Aston Villa manager John Gregory as the head coach to make a new start to their ISL campaign. Under Gregory’s guidance Chennaiyin FC learned to defense and take control of the midfield but they lack good finishers. It was depicted in their opening games as well but they finally managed to get past NorthEast United FC, FC Pune City and ATK. That helped them to get into the play-offs facing off against Kerala Blasters FC. From there they reached the finals to take on Bengaluru FC and went on winning their second league title.
This season could not have started any worse for Chennaiyin FC as they have to deal with the fact that their star midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh would be out for the first half of the season because of his injury and it would not be that impactful, according to their coach Gregory. The coach further added that the players would not be in pressure as defending champions because they dealt the same pressure last time out and yet performed very well to lift the trophy. Their aim, however, is to successfully defend the league title for the first time in the history of Indian Super League.
Chennaiyin FC Full Squad:
Goalkeepers: Nikhil Bernard, Sanjiban Ghosh, Karanjit Singh
Defenders: Zohmingliana Ralte, Tondonba Singh, Mailson Alves, Ladinliana Renthlei, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Inigo Calderon, Hendry Antolay, Eli Sabia
Midfielders: Bedashwor Singh, Zonunmawia, Germanpreet Singh, Gergeory Nelson, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Thoi Singh, Francis Fernandes, Andrea Orlandi, Raphael Augusto, Anirudh Thapa, Sinivasan Pandiyan
Forwards: Mohammed Rafi, Baoringdao Bodo, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Carlos Salom
(As of August 2018)
What is CFC's playing formation?
Chennaiyin FC filed their lineup in a 4-4-1-1 formation, making them solid in the back and the one attacking midfielder is to channel the attack from the center to the lone striker.
Last Playing XI:
Paul Rachubka (GK); Rino Anto, Sandesh Jhingan, Wes Brown, Lalruatthara; Deependra Negi, Arata Izumi, Milan Singh, C K Vineeth; Jackichand Singh, Gudjon Baldvinsson
IndiaFantasy Picks from CFC:
Jeje Lalpekhlua has been the top goal scorer for Chennaiyin FC the last time out and we are backing him to be the lead scorer in this season as well. He has 9 goals in the 19 matches he played in the last campaign.
Gregory Nelson has been crucial for Chennaiyin FC in their league title chase. He created so many chances but the ones that were converted did the job. He provided 5 assists in the 19 matches he played.
Karanjit Singh has been very impressive on the goal for Chennaiyin FC in the last season as kept 7 clean sheets in the 20 games he played in the season; making 51 saves in total to help Chennaiyin FC lift the league title for the second time.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Chennaiyin FC football team?
Chennaiyin FC have retained most of their first team players who won them their second Indian Super League title the last time out and would want to do so. They have the talent and the potential to be one of the top teams in ISL and the last season was just a glimpse of that. They have got Sinivasan Pandiyan as well to team up with Anirudh Thapa, Germanpreet Singh and Jerry Lalrinzuala, increasing the Indian contingent in the squad.
The only department Chennaiyin FC struggled the last time out was their attack. They have got the world class defenders and midfielders but they simply lack a good attacking player or two who would create more chances for them.
Coach: David James
Stadium: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai
If CFC can win the trophy this time out then they would be the first ever team to lift the ISL trophy thrice.