ATK Mohun Bagan vs Kerala Blasters: Preview and Prediction
While it once seemed that ATK Mohun Bagan’s place in the top six is all but secured, they might now have started sweating after a string of poor results. With 28 points from 18 matches, the Mariners are placed fifth in the table.
On the other hand, Kerala Blasters have had a fairly decent campaign so far. The Tuskers have won 10 of the 18 matches they have played, and with 31 points in their account, they are placed third in the standings.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s campaign has been a tale of two halves. They had a good first half, where they lost only two of their first ten matches. During this run, Juan Ferrando’s men won six matches against Kerala Blasters, East Bengal, NorthEast United, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Jamshedpur.
But the second half of the season has been a downslide for the Mariners. They have lost four of their last eight matches against NorthEast United, Mumbai City, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Among the other four matches, they have drawn two and lost two matches.
Kerala Blasters’ story is completely the opposite as they had a poor start, losing three of their first four matches. However, Ivan Vukomanovic’s team then remained unbeaten for eight matches straight, winning seven of those games defeating Jamshedpur twice, and NorthEast United, Goa, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Odisha on one occasion each.
The performances in the last few matches have not been up to the mark for the Tuskers, as they have lost four of their last six matches against Mumbai City, Goa, East Bengal, and Bengaluru.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are totally inclined in favour of ATK Mohun Bagan. The Mariners have won four of the previous five league meetings against Kerala Blasters, while the only other game ended in a draw – meaning the Tuskers have never walked away with three points.
The first meeting of this season, which took place back in October, saw ATK Mohun Bagan winning by a 5-2 margin. A Dimitri Petratos hat-trick and strikes from Joni Kauko and Lenny Rodrigues comprised the Mariners’ five goals, while for the Tuskers, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi and Rahul KP were on the scoresheet.
The decision to switch to a 3-5-2 formation backfired for Ferrando, and hence, he is expected to revert to the 4-2-3-1 system in this match, Slavko Damjanovic could be benched with Pritam Kotal and Brendan Hamill playing in the heart of the defense, while having served his one-game suspension, Subhasish Bose is likely to be back in his left-back position.
Besides that, there could be an attacking switch as well. Liston Colaco has not been at his best for a few weeks, and in his place, youngster Kiyan Nassiri could be handed a start after a decent cameo against the Nizams.
On the other hand, Vukomanovic will be forced to make one change to the team that lost 0-1 against Bengaluru. Uruguayan attacker Adrian Luna will be unavailable for selection, as he needs to serve a one-game suspension after picking up four yellow cards.
In his place, Australian striker Apostolos Giannou could be handed a start. Besides that, Rahul KP might also be benched as he could barely have any influence against the Blues. He could be replaced by the young Bryce Miranda.
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-2-3-1): Vishal Kaith; Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Brendan Hamill, Subhasish Bose; Glan Martins, Puitea; Manvir Singh, Federico Gallego, Kiyan Nassiri; Dimitri Petratos.
Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Prabhsukhan Gill; Nishu Kumar, Ruivah Hormipam, Victor Mongil, Jessel Carneiro; Bryce Miranda, Jeakson Singh, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, Sahal Abdul Samad; Apostolos Giannou, Dimitrios Diamantakos.
While ATK Mohun Bagan enjoys the upper hand on head-to-head records, Kerala Blasters have comparatively performed better this season. Given the Mariners’ injury troubles, we have predicted the Tuskers to win this match.