NorthEast United have assembled a very strong outfit as compared to last season for the seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL), which is all set to be played in Goa.
The Highlanders released some key players from last season and have built the roster from scratch under the guidance of Aizawl FC’s I-League winning coach Khalid Jamil.
Jamil has brought in some experienced Indian players from the I-League who can spring a surprise or two this season. Young NorthEast United head coach Gerard Nus also has a point to prove as far as his coaching credentials are concerned.
NorthEast United FC key players
Federico Gallego: The Uruguayan is set to continue playing the key role for NorthEast United for the third season running. Gallego was one of the main reasons behind NEUFC’s maiden ISL play-off qualification in the 2018-19 season.
Gallego’s ability to give the perfect through balls, set up goals and score are pivotal to NorthEast United FC’s chances in the ISL. He will play behind the main striker and be the pivot of the attacking line-up of Gerard Nus’ side.
Luis Machado: Accompanying Federico Gallego on the left will be Portuguese left-winger Luis Machado, who has featured in Portugal’s top-flight league in the recent few years.
Machado is a dynamic winger, who can drift central if Gallego looks to play as the second striker. Despite, Machado playing as the main striker for his previous teams, he may be deployed on the wings to solidify NEUFC’s supply line.
Benjamin Lambot: Benjamin Lambot is a sturdy central defender, with the Belgian having ample experience of marshalling defences in Europe.
He would like to replicate the same here and be the leader of the defence at NorthEast United. Lambot is expected to partner Wayne Vaz in central defence.
NorthEast United FC probable line-up
Khassa Camara’s role as a defensive midfielder will be key to determining NorthEast United’s line-up. Camara’s presence in the centre will allow Rochharzela and Gallego to play their natural games.
The set-up should see Gerard Nus resorting to a balanced 4-1-4-1 structure which may convert to 4-5-1 as the game progresses.
(4-1-4-1): Subhasish Roy Chowdhary, Ashutosh Mehta, Wayne Vaz, Benjamin Lambot, Gurjinder Kumar, Khassa Camara, Britto PM, Federico Gallego, Rochharzela, Luis Machado, Idrissa Sylla
NorthEast United FC full squad
Goalkeepers: Gurmeet Singh, Nikhil Deka, Subhasish Roy Chowdhary, Sanjiban Ghosh
Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Rakesh Pradhan, Wayne Vaz
Midfielders: Federico Gallego, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Rochharzela, Imran Khan
Forwards: Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoi, Kwesi Appiah, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhair VP
NorthEast United FC fixtures (Till Round 10)
21st November – NorthEast United FC vs Mumbai City FC
26th November – Kerala Blasters vs NorthEast United FC
30th November – FC Goa vs NorthEast United FC
05th December – NorthEast United FC vs SC East Bengal
08th December – Bengaluru FC vs NorthEast United FC
13th December – NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC
18th December – NorthEast United FC vs Jamshedpur FC
22nd December – Odisha FC vs NorthEast United FC
03rd January – ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United FC
08th January – NorthEast United FC vs Hyderabad FC
NorthEast United FC season prediction
NorthEast United FC’s Indian roster is young and mostly untested as far the ISL is concerned. Majority of the squad is growing and is in its most important stages – career-wise.
However, the Highlanders may fall short of depth in the squad and fatigue can come into play in hampering the John Abraham-owned franchise.
NorthEast United FC predicted finish: 10th