East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan: Preview and Prediction
The penultimate league phase match of the 2022-23 Indian Super League will see two arch-rivals, East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan, lock horns in one of the most anticipated fixtures of the season – the Kolkata Derby. The match will be played in Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
While this fixture has great historical significance, any possible outcome will not have a considerable impact on the league standings. East Bengal is already out of the top six race and will have nothing but pride to play for. With six wins and 19 points from 19 games, the Torchbearers are placed tenth in the standings.
On the other hand, ATK Mohun Bagan has already qualified for the next round of the competition. The Mariners have won nine of their 19 matches and have 31 points to their name. For them, the main target will be to maintain their third place in the points table.
East Bengal had a very poor start to their season where they won only one of their first five matches, but the next three fixtures saw them racking up two wins – against Bengaluru and Jamshedpur. However, that run was followed by a horrific phase, where Stephen Constantine’s men lost six out of seven matches – twice against Hyderabad and once each against Mumbai City, Odisha, Jamshedpur and Goa.
Their top six hopes had all but extinguished by then, but the Torchbearers have managed to find form this month. They have lost only one out of four games, drawn as many, and have also won two games – against Kerala Blasters and Mumbai City.
ATK Mohun Bagan had an opposite start as they lost only two of their first 10 matches. During this phase, Juan Ferrando’s men secured six wins – against Kerala Blasters, East Bengal, NorthEast United, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur.
The turn of the calendar brought about misfortune for the Mariners as they won only one of their next four fixtures, and while they came back with a win against Odisha, it was followed by another streak of three winless games. However, a 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters in the last match helped ATK Mohun Bagan secure their berth in the next round.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are completely inclined in favour of ATK Mohun Bagan. These two teams have crossed paths on five occasions in this competition and the Mariners have won all of those games.
The first meeting of this season, which took place back in October, saw Ferrando’s team securing a 2-0 win. After a goalless first half, Hugo Boumous and Manvir Singh were on the scoresheet for ATK Mohun Bagan in the second half.
Given that his team had a great day at the office against Mumbai City in the last match, Constantine is unlikely to make any chances. With Kamaljit Singh in goal, the backline is likely to comprise Sarthak Golui, Lalchungnunga, Charalampos Kyriakou, and Jerry Lalrinzuala.
Alex Lima and Mobashir Rahman will man the midfield, with VP Suhair and Naorem Mahesh Singh on the flanks. The onus of scoring goals will be on the overseas strike pairing of Brazilian Cleiton Silva and Englishman Jake Jervis.
Although ATK Mohun Bagan won their last match against Kerala Blasters 2-1, it will not be surprising to see Ferrando making one change to his starting XI. Ashique Kuruniyan was not very effective against the Tuskers and could get the axe for this match.
In his place, Liston Colaco could be re-introduced into the team. Besides that, Boumous also had a poor outing against Kerala Blasters and was substituted at half-time. With the playoffs coming up, the Frenchman could be rested with Federico Gallego taking his place.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Sarthak Golui. Lalchungnunga, Charalampos Kyriakou, Jerry Lalrinzuala; VP Suhair, Alex Lima, Mobashir Rahman, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Jake Jervis, Cleiton Silva.
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-2-3-1): Vishal Kaith; Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Brendan Hamill, Subhasish Bose; Carl McHugh, Glan Martins; Manvir Singh, Federico Gallego, Liston Colaco; Dimitri Petratos.
ATK Mohun Bagan not only enjoys the upper hand on head-to-head records, but they also have a better squad as compared to their opponents. Hence, we have predicted the Mariners to end their league phase campaign with a win.