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ISL 2021-22 Odisha FC Preview: Reinforced Kalinga Warriors Look to Rise from the Worst

Odisha FC had a horror last season where they finished last and won two out of their 20 matches. That led to a massive overhaul at the club where they changed the president, appointed David Villa as the head of global operation and had a number of personnel changes. Odisha FC have a new coach and a whole new set of foreigners. Not only that, Odisha FC also let go of a number of their Indians and reinforced their Indian personnel with some fresh faces. The signings of Lalruatthara and Isaac Vanmalsawma have lent some experience to their young Indians. With major changes at the club and a new coach, Odisha will be hoping for better performances and at least a mid-table finish.

STRENGTHS

Odisha FC have a wonderful forward line this time around and if Jonathas, Aridai and Jerry can work together, they can turn out to be a handful for other teams. Apart from that, Odisha have signed the likes of Victor Mongil and Javi Hernandez who have both proven themselves with ATK Mohun Bagan and can be expected to lead this young Odisha side ably.

WEAKNESS

If there is one area that Odisha have left unattended it’s their goalkeeping department and that is where Odisha can find themselves weak. While Arshdeep has been decent with the club, he has mistakes in him and Kamaljit does not inspire much confidence as well. That leaves Odisha tentative between the sticks.

Also, the massive change in personnel means they would need some time to click together and that may make it slightly difficult for them in the beginning of the season.

ISL 2020-21 PERFORMANCE

Odisha FC had the worst defensive record last season where they conceded 44 goals, eight more than the next worst (Kerala Blasters). They finished at the bottom of the table and endured 12 losses in 20 matches. In terms of scoring the goals as well, Odisha were in the bottom half.

Position: 11th

Wins: 2

Draws: 6

Losses: 12

Points: 12

MOST NOTABLE NEW SIGNINGS

Aridai Cabrera: Aridai Cabrera is a right-winger that Odisha signed ahead of this season. The 33-year-old has largely played in Spain and is expected to take the ISL by storm. Based on what the industry insiders are speaking of him, he can give FC Goa’s Jorge Ortiz a run for his money.

Jonathas Cristian De Jesus: 32-year-old Jonathas is a Brazilian centre-forward and Odisha have brought him in to find the back of the net. Jonathas is largely a goal-hanger but with Aridai and Jerry around him, he can be expected to score some crucial goals for the club and help them to rise from their terrible performance last season.

HISTORY IN ISL

In their first season as Odisha FC, they finished sixth and were decent overall but it all fell apart for them in the ISL 2020-21. Odisha FC have been in existence (in their current name and state – previously Delhi Dynamos) for just two years and have been a mixed bag.

CHANCES/PREDICTION

Odisha FC have undergone major changes to try and current the wrongs of the previous season. Having strengthened themselves in all of the defence, midfield and forward line, Odisha FC can finish mid-table.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Kamaljit Singh, Arshdeep Singh, Ravi Kumar

Defenders: Gaurav Bora, Lalruathara, Sahil Panwar, Hendry Antonay, Lalhrezuala Sailung, Sebastian Thangmuansang, Deven Sawhney, Victor Mongil, Hector Rodas

Midfielders: Thoiba Singh Moirangthem, Vinit Rai, Paul Ramfangzauva, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Liridon Krasniqi, Javi Hernandez, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Nandhakumar Sekar, CVL Remtluanga, Nikhil Raj

Forwards: Akshunna Tyagi, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Aridai Cabrera, Jonathas Cristian De Jesus

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