As we approach the halfway mark of the ISL 2022-23 edition of the Indian Super League, Mumbai City FC are leading the charts. An undefeated campaign so far for Des Buckingham’s side has seen six comprehensive victories and three draws, meaning the Islanders sit atop the ISL table with 21 points in 9 games. Mumbai City will not feature in Matchweek 10 and are currently on a well-earned hiatus with action resuming for the Islanders on the 16th of December, where they take on East Bengal FC at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata.
Des Buckingham, who recently became the longest-serving head coach of Mumbai City FC in terms of games in charge, has built a well-oiled unit over his tenure of 14 months and counting. The Islanders, who retained a significant core of the side that ended the 2021-22 season by creating history in the 2022 AFC Champions League, were bolstered by some astute additions to the squad.
In the ongoing 2022-23 ISL season, the Islanders lead the charts in terms of goals (27), successful passes (3478), shots (144) and touches (5763), proving the collective prowess of the squad not just up front but in defence as well.
Argentine striker Jorge Pereyra Díaz, who arrived in the summer, has notched up 7 goals and 5 assists for the Islanders so far and 6 of those goals have come in the ISL, leading the league’s scoring charts.
“It’s been a great start to the season so far for us and for me but we have a long way to go. After not having fans in the stands last year, it has been great to play in front of them this year. I love playing at the Mumbai Football Arena! The atmosphere has been electric, so much so that it spills onto the pitch and we can barely hear each other. I hope we can continue the way we are going and I can score more goals for our fans”, said Díaz on Mumbai City’s strong start to the season.
Alongside the Argentine, among the goals have been his Indian wingmen Lallianzuala Chhangte and Bipin Singh who have scored four goals each so far in the ongoing 2022/23 ISL. While the Islanders have been lethal in the final third, their success has been sustained by top-quality service. New summer signing Greg Stewart has made his immense quality felt on the pitch. The Scotsman currently leads the charts for assists (6), shots on target (18) and has the highest average rating of 8.31 across the ISL after nine games.
“The fans have welcomed me with open arms and it’s a pleasure to play for them. All of us, we put in a lot of effort behind the scenes in training and I am glad that we have been getting results so far. I hope we can capitalise on the momentum and keep moving forward because we have a long way to go before we achieve something, and we want to achieve important things at this football club”, asserted Stewart, who was the Hero of the League in the 2021-22 season of the ISL.
The attacking output has been a by-product of Des Buckingham’s principles in possession and out of possession. Rostyn Griffiths (422 successful passes), Ahmed Jahouh (414 successful passes) and Mehtab Singh (392 successful passes) have expertly controlled games putting the ball to good use in possession, while Rahul Bheke with 16 interceptions and Jahouh with 14 interceptions and a league-high of 21 successful tackles have ensured solidity out of possession as well.
Mumbai City FC, who will not feature in Matchweek 10 of the ongoing ISL season, will be raring to get back in action rejuvenated and focused. The Islanders will travel to Kolkata next to take on East Bengal FC at the VYBK Stadium on December 16, 2022.