Hero Indian Super League (ISL) commence as Kerala Blasters(KBFC) prepare to go up against ATK Mohun Bagan at GMC Stadium in Bambolim in this season opener. We will look at the Tactical Preview of both sides.
ATK-Mohun Bagan is likely to opt the setup of 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2.
Ever dependable, Arindam Bhattacharya will be the last man standing for ATK-Mohun Bagan defensive backline. Tiri (LCB), Sandesh Jhinghan (CB) & Pritam kotal (RCB) are likely to occupy three-man backline, provided they have to be a very well-drilled unit, combining the qualities of traditional centre-backs (Aerial, close co-ordination, good tackling) with those of full-backs (mobility, ability carry and pass the ball). Sometimes they have to shuffle over together and allow the wing-backs to fill the space that leaves on the flank, but the left and right centre-backs also need to be ready to act independently in case of lack of defensive covers. These 3 are best in Business to fulfil this role. Keeping in mind Jhingan is coming back from a big injury ATK Mohun Bagan might not look to rush just gradually set him in the team. In this case, Subhashish Bose will take his place.
Carl McHugh is likely to operate as left Centre Midfielder(LCM) and he is likely to be allotted the role of Number 6. Provided that he likely to protect the defensive backline, drops between the centre-backs to start the attack and distribute the ball, later link up the play between the defence and midfield, and to tackle and intercept the ball as necessary to disrupt any attacks from the opposition,
dictate the pace of play, he is most likely to cover the entire park & most likely to remain the busiest player in the pitch. In case if Carl is provided with an advance role, Pronay Haldar job will be solely to restrict screening the line and play the role of blocker.
After an impressive performance in I-League, SK Sahil is expected to operate at Right centre Midfielder role(RCM). Provided his athleticism, he looks versatile in his role, from playing the role of ball-winning midfielder, to the recovery of the ball in the midfield and his ability to track back, and he is a good ball distributor too. Given he is one of the top prospects in the Indian Footballing circuit. He is most likely to flourish in the role of false 6. Green and Maroon have great depth in Midfield position, So we can expect Antonio Habas to rotate his squad.
The right wing-back Prabir Das and the left wing-back Michael Soosairaj interestingly had different roles last year, Prabir Das had the task to provide effective crosses in the box chiefly aimed at Roy Krishna, provided he had bagged 5 assists last season. With great stability in midfield, Edu García is likely to start as Number 10 and his primary role will be to provide support to the Wingbacks and overload one side of the field. Given his credentials to take shots from outside the box and consistently to hit back of the net, he is most likely to an instrumental asset for Mariners.
Roy Krishna and David Williams will slot in as two striking partners and they will look to carry their form from last season. The duo scored 22 goals last season, they have great chemistry understanding between themselves, their individual’s ability has set them apart.
David Williams is one of complete forward in Indian Super League(ISL), he can play in multiple roles, he can play as the second striker, drop deep in the midfield and link up with Krishna, Edu and Prabir, and hold up the play. On other hand Roy Krishna despite he does not look physically tough, but he possesses enough muscle power to overcome the physical dual, he is a specialist in breaking the line and beating the offside trap. Whenever these two play together they look even more threatening.
Now let’s have a look at the Kerala Blasters FC. KBFC is expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 set up. Albino is expected to start under the bar and will take part in the build-ups. Bakery Kone and Costa Nhamoniesu will start in the heart of Kerala defence. They will look to start the build-up and break the first line of ATK Mohun Bagan press with their line-breaking passes. Jessel Carneiro and Nishu Kumar will start in Left and right back position to complete the 4 man defence. Jessel had a great season last time. He will be given full freedom to overlap and cross for Hooper. He will combine with Naorem and Facundo to make a triangle and overload one side. Nishu Kumar, the Indian International will look to overlap from the right side and exploit the vacant space left behind by Soosairaj and identically will make a triangle with Rahul KP and Facundo to overload the right side.
In the double Pivot, we expect Vicente to start with Jeakson. Vicente is the key for the Blasters in the midfield. During the attacking phase, he will drop down between the Centre backs and create and a 3 man backline to give the defence more stability. He will distribute the ball and try to switch the play whenever the fullbacks/wingers are given space. Jeakson will have to work as the engine of this team. He will start the press in midfield, snatch the ball and connect the defence and offence.
Facundo Will take the no.10 spot. He will combine with wingers and side backs to overload aside. This will create space on the opposite side. Blasters will look to build around him. Keeping in mind Facundo just joined the preseason a few days ago, we might see Cido playing in the no.10 position. Nongdamba Naorem will start in left-wing as an inverted winger. He will combine with Jessel and Facundo and whenever given a chance, he will look to cut inside and shoot. Rahul KP will start in the opposite flank will and look to break the ATK Mohun Bagan defence with his electric pace. Kibu likes his wingers to interchange positions in between the game, so we might see them playing in the opposite flank in a phase of the game.
Gary Hooper, the former Wellington Phoenix striker will be the focal point of Kerala Blasters attack. He will combine with Facundo and will hold up the play to bring his wingers into the game. Keeping in mind Jessel and Nishu both are superb crossers, Hooper will get many goo deliveries coming towards him from both flanks.
Prediction: We predict a Close Win for ATK-Mohun Bagan given their bench strength and both of them are coming from a long break so we expect a rusty match in the season opener.