Bengaluru vs East Bengal: Preview and Prediction
Bengaluru has not had the start it would have desired after the change in management. Players are yet to adapt to Simon Grayson’s style of play, as the Blues have won only one of their four matches and are placed in the eighth position in the standings.
As for East Bengal, their condition is much worse. The Torchbearers have only won only one match, but they have played five matches and have succumbed to defeats in four of those matches. Stephen Constantine’s team is occupying the tenth position.
The start Bengaluru had was not too convincing, as the Blues had to work harder than they would have thought against a comparatively weaker NorthEast United team, but they did manage to secure a 1-0 win. However, they have not won a match ever since.
The second match against Chennaiyin ended in a 1-1 stalemate, while against defending champions Hyderabad, Grayson’s team suffered a 0-1 defeat. The result was exactly the same in the Blues’ last match against Odisha.
East Bengal had a horrendous start to their season, as they lost 1-3 in their first match against Kerala Blasters. In their second match against Goa, Constantine’s men put out a more impressive show but still ended up losing 1-2.
The third match against NorthEast United is the only time East Bengal was seen at their best, as they won that match 3-1. In the last couple of games, the Torchbearers lost 0-1 against ATK Mohun Bagan and 0-1 against Chennaiyin.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are inclined in Bengaluru’s favour, but only by the slightest of margins. These two teams have met four times previously, of which the Blues have won two. East Bengal won one match, while the other fixture ended in a draw.
The last meeting between Bengaluru and East Bengal produced a 1-0 victory for the Blues. Skipper Sunil Chhetri’s 24th-minute strike proved to be enough for his team to secure all three points, as the Torchbearers could not retaliate.
After two consecutive defeats, it is likely that Grayson will make changes to his starting XI. Aleksandar Jovanovic did not look convincing against Odisha, and the Australian central defender is expected to make way for Alan Costa.
In midfield, Jayesh Rane could be asked to make way for Suresh Singh, while there might also be an attacking switch. Sivasakthi Narayanan suffered an injury against the Kalinga Warriors, and if he cannot regain fitness in time, Udanta Singh could be handed a rare start.
Constantine is also expected to make changes to his starting XI, but at least one change will be forced rather than a tactical switch. Right-back Sarthak Golui will be unavailable after picking up a red card in the last match. In his place, Ankit Mukherjee could be given a start.
Besides that, the English tactician could also make an attacking switch. Naorem Mahesh Singh had a day to forget against Chennaiyin, and coming on as a second-half substitute, Himanshu Jangra looked much livelier. The youngster is expected to play from the start of this match.
Bengaluru (4-3-3): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Namgyal Bhutia, Alan Costa, Sandesh Jhingan, Roshan Naorem; Leon Augustine, Bruno Ramires, Suresh Singh; Udanta Singh, Roy Krishna, Sunil Chhetri.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Ankit Mukherjee, Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez, Jerry Lalrinzuala; VP Suhair, Charalampos Kyriakou, Jordan O’Doherty, Himanshu Jangra; Cleiton Silva, Thongkhosiem Haokip.
While they might not have started the season well, Bengaluru still has a much better squad than East Bengal, while the head-to-head records also favor them. Hence, we have predicted the Blues to take all three points from this fixture.