ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United: Preview and Prediction
Though not flawless, ATK Mohun Bagan has had a fairly decent start to their campaign. They have won two of their first four matches while losing and drawing one game apiece. With seven points, they are placed fifth in the standings.
NorthEast United, on the other hand, have had the worst start that they could have imagined. They have played five matches and have lost all of those games, hence sitting in the last place in the table. They are also the only team yet to open their points tally.
ATK Mohun Bagan had a disappointing start, as against a comparatively weaker team in Chennaiyin, they threw away a one-goal advantage to lose 1-2 in their first match. However, the Mariners successfully turned things around and have not lost a game ever since.
In their next two matches, Juan Ferrando’s men defeated Kerala Blasters and East Bengal by 5-2 and 2-0 margins respectively. In their previous outing, ATK Mohun Bagan came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw against Mumbai City.
The first match against Bengaluru is probably the only instance where NorthEast United put up a commendable fight, as they went down by the narrowest of margins, succumbing to a 0-1 defeat. Since then, things have only gone down for the Highlanders.
Marco Balbul’s side lost 0-3 against Hyderabad in their second fixture, before losing 1-3 to East Bengal. In their last two fixtures, NorthEast United lost 0-1 against Jamshedpur and 0-3 against Kerala Blasters.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are inclined in favour of ATK Mohun Bagan. These two teams have met six times in this competition, of which the Mariners have won four games. The Highlanders have won only once, with the other match resulting in a draw.
The last clash between ATK Mohun Bagan and NorthEast United saw the former securing a 3-1 victory. Joni Kauko, Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh scored for the Mariners, while for the Highlanders, VP Suhair was the lone scorer.
Ideally, Ferrando might have wanted to make changes to his starting XI, but options will be limited for this match. Deepak Tangri had a poor outing against Mumbai City, but he is expected to retain his place as his natural replacement, Lenny Rodrigues was handed marching orders in that match.
However, Subhasish Bose might not be as fortunate as Tangri. The Mariners’ left-back had a difficult time keeping Bipin Singh quiet in the last game, and in his place, the Spanish tactician could use Ashique Kuruniyan.
Balbul deployed ultra-defensive tactics against Kerala Blasters, using five defenders. Given that the move backfired and the Highlanders have now reached a stage where they are desperate for points, the Israeli tactician could switch to a 4-4-2 set-up.
Gaurav Bora, the young centre-back who is having a season to forget, might get the axe if Balbul opts to have an extra attacker in Imran Khan. Besides that, Joe Zoherliana might have to make way for the new signing, Rupert Nongrum.
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-4-2): Vishal Kaith; Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Brendan Hamill, Ashique Kuruniyan; Deepak Tangri, Hugo Boumous, Joni Kauko; Manvir Singh, Dimitri Petratos, Liston Colaco.
NorthEast United (4-2-3-1): Mirshad Michu; Rupert Nongrum, Mashoor Shereef, Michael Jakobsen, Gurjinder Kumar; Emil Benny, Jon Gaztanaga, Romain Philippoteaux, Imran Khan; Matt Derbyshire, Jithin MS.
Be it the head-to-head records, current form or strength on paper – ATK Mohun Bagan is ahead of NorthEast United in every single aspect. Hence, we have predicted the Mariners to have an easy victory in this fixture.