New Delhi, January 9: Delhi Dynamos started the season with a bang, beating FC Pune City 3-2 in their opening match. But that was way back on November 22. In the seven matches played since then, they have lost six and drawn one - and find themselves rock-bottom in the Indian Super League table.
Another club that wasn't expected to be caught in the quagmire of the bottom three is Kerala Blasters, but they are placed 8th - a disappointing start has seen them recall David James as head coach. His first job will be to secure a victory after a run of three matches without one.
The team landed in Delhi yesterday night and was greeted by some passionate fans despite the cold weather.— Kerala Blasters FC (@KeralaBlasters) January 9, 2018
We are proud to have fans like these!#KeralaBlasters #IniKaliMaarum #LetsFootball pic.twitter.com/SKWXHlbDcY
The Dynamos continue to hog possession and stitch up good passing play - but their failure to win has left fans exasperated. Whether the excuse of good performances with nothing to show for it will stand the test of time will be interesting.
"Kerala are strong in defence and very experienced. They are compact and difficult to break down. But it is also difficult for them against us," Dynamos' head coach Miguel Angel Portugal said.
"At home it is most important that we win. I think we have an opportunity to win. A point is important for confidence though," he added before mentioning that he realised a new coach was in the mix with James coming in.
"I know about David James as a goalkeeper for England. I don't know about him as a manager," he added with a chuckle.
A post shared by David James (@jamo1dj) on Jan 8, 2018 at 5:41am PST
James meanwhile, sounded confident and praised the depth of the Kerala Blasters side. He did mention that there will be late fitness tests for some, but at the same time, said that all the players were available as far as he was concerned.
"My first job was to familiarise myself with the players. There could be a tendency to watch differently than as a fan. I would be disappointed if we didn't get the results. We have to get results as quickly as possible. I'm confident, players are confident and that is good for me and it is a challenge," he said.
The Lions are giving their all during the training session. Looking forward to their clash with Kerala Blasters, tomorrow. #RoarWithTheLions— Delhi Dynamos FC (@DelhiDynamos) January 9, 2018
Book your tickets: https://t.co/Sn4XasAXH6 pic.twitter.com/XHSLygFEp4
Kerala have traditionally been late bloomers in the league and have even managed to make it to the playoffs with a negative goal difference in the past. In James' first game last week against Pune City, a more direct approach was seen and he even took off Dimitar Berbatov to suit his style of play.
This will be a battle of huge consequences with both teams struggling as the league is approaching its half way mark. The pressure will certainly be on - as after the 90 minutes of game on Wednesday (January 10), both sides could get into panic situation.
Delhi Dynamos vs Kerala Blasters
Indian Super League
Live at 8 pm
On Star Sports 2 and Hotstar
Source: ISL Media