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Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 3-0 NorthEast United

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 3-0 NorthEast United

Chennaiyin FC comfortably beat Northeast United 3-0 to earn their first win of the season. The home side, buoyed by fantastic home support put in a well-rounded performance to dispatch a Northeast side that did not offer much.

Here are 3 things we learned.

Raphael Augusto is vital for Chennaiyin

Brazilian midfielder Raphael Augusto has had a great start to the new ISL season. The dynamic midfielder was fantastic against Northeast United. Augusto seems to have picked up a penchant for scoring goals which is an important factor in Chennaiyin’s attack added to the pace up-front. Playing as a box to box midfielder, Augusto puts in a shift every game and gives his all for the team. His ability to cover distance, execute important interceptions and score goals make him an invaluable part of the Chennaiyin midfield. Augusto was able to take up a more advanced role against Northeast United as he was playing in midfield alongside the more defensive minded Dhanpal Ganesh and Bikramjit Singh, a combination which looked promising.

Midfield Combination offers solidity

When Chennaiyin lost their opening game to FC Goa, their midfield was easily bypassed by Goa’s attack, especially in the first half when they were unable to stop Goa from countering with pace. The game against Northeast provided a different scenario as John Gregory shook things up in the middle of the park. Bikramjit Singh started alongside the Chennai-born Dhanpal Ganesh. The Indian duo offered a much needed bite to the Chennayin midfield and shielded the defense from Northeast attacks. Bikramjit provided an instant injection of pace when he came on in the second half against Goa, and was offered the chance to cement his spot in the starting line-up, to which he put in an energetic performance. Dhanpal Ganesh did not feature in Chennaiyin’s first game but was put straight into the starting line-up against Northeast United. A local favorite, Ganesh is a powerful midfielder and standing at over 6 feet in height, he worked well in tandem with the shorter Bikramjit. The Indian duo can be expected to start the next game in light of their performance.

Right players in right positions ensure easy win for John Gregory’s men

Chennaiyin’s English coach John Gregory got his team wrong for their opening game against Goa, with many players positioned in roles they weren’t familiar with and an imbalance in the side. This time around, the former Aston Villa boss made up for his mistakes with a well disciplined and positioned starting eleven. Wholesome changes in midfield and defense ensured a clean sheet and a much required morale boost for Chennaiyin FC. With the Indian youngsters like Jerry Lalrinzuala, Bikramjit Singh and Dhanpal Ganesh impressing in addition to the technical ability of Raphael Augusto and Jeje, Gregory will definitely be pleased with the 3 points on the board. It’s certainly understandable if Gregory was unsure of each individual player’s preferred position on the pitch prior to the Goa game but the more the season progresses and the more time spent on the training ground, Gregory will have a better idea of his best starting eleven and ensure that each player selected by him is not played out of position.

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Hrishi Anand

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