Founded: August 28, 2014.
Ground: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.
Owner(s): Abhishek Bachchan, MS Dhoni, Vita Dani.
Manager: John Gregory
League: Indian Super League
2017–18: ISL League: 2nd (10 teams)
ISL Playoff Finals: Champions
Chennaiyin has retained the Indian core of their team from last season. Youngsters Anirudh Thapa, Germanpreet Singh, and Jerry Lalrinzuala impressed during their title run last year. They also added Sinivasan Pandiyan in midfield – the local lad who made his way up from the lower leagues to be recognized as a player for the Chennai team.
However, the loss of Dhanpal Ganesh to injury is a big blow for the team. Ganesh will miss the first half of the season.
While the backline will be led by skipper Mailson Alves, alongside Spaniard Iñigo Calderón, the frontline attack of Chennaiyin looks a bit thin. Jeje Lalpekhlua remains the main striker, while Mohammed Rafi and Baoringdao Bodo are his backups. They have also signed Palestinian striker Carlos Salom on loan to assist Jeje in goalscoring duties.
However, the departure of defender Henrique Sereno, midfielder Rene Mihelic, and forward Bikramjit Singh may also prove to be a set back in the new season.
John Gregory led Chennaiyin to their second ISL title last season. The Englishman is one of the two coaches who retained his role as a coach from last season.
The former England midfielder has had coaching stints in Israel and Kazakhstan before taking up the job at Chennaiyin. His best years as a coach were in England for clubs like Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers, and more recently, Crawley Town.
Despite their indifferent preseason match results, the Chennai franchise is among the favorites to win the title. However, there is the distraction of the AFC Cup, a tournament which the team has not had any experience in.
The additional matches could provide Gregory a challenge to manage the fitness of his best players for the league and the cup run.