East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan: Preview and Prediction
West Bengal gets split into two halves a minimum of twice every year, and one such occurrence will be on Saturday when East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan will lock horns in what is one of Asia’s biggest, and certainly India’s biggest rivalry.
East Bengal will look to register their first win of Indian Super League 2021-22 season after starting their season with a gritty 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC.
On the other hand, ATK Mohun Bagan started their title charge with a thumping 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters. The Mariners finished last season in agony as they missed the title by a whisker. On a mission to redeem themselves, Antonio Lopez Habas’ men have got the perfect start and will look to continue their winning form in the Kolkata Derby, with not only three points but pride and bragging rights also at stake.
How have they done so far?
SC East Bengal had a horrible debut campaign in ISL as they only managed a ninth-place finish in the league table. The Red and Golds could only secure three wins and eight draws, amassing a total of 17 points. This season, however, they have had a promising start drawing their first game 1-1 against Jamshedpur putting in a spirited performance that showed desire and resilience.
ATK Mohun Bagan had a superb last season as they finished second in the league phase and also ended as runners-up, after losing to Mumbai City in the finals. However, the Mariners have started their 2021-22 campaign with a bang. New star signing Hugo Boumous scored a brilliant brace in the season opener while Roy Krishna and fellow new signing Liston Colaco also joined the party in the 4-2 riot against Kerala Blasters.
Head to Head Record
Having joined the ISL only last season, the two Kolkata giants have crossed paths twice so far. ATK Mohun Bagan dominated the Red and Golds on both occasions, winning 2-0 in the first game of the season and then backing it up with a brilliant 3-1 win. Krishna ran riot in both the matches with Indian striker Manvir Singh also playing a crucial role.
Considering they had very little time to prepare for the season, the Red and Golds looked fairly organized in the first game against the Red Miners, with the midfield being their major area of concern. Players like Wahengbam Angousana and Sourav Das, who were deployed at the centre of the park by Diaz, failed to control the tempo of the game, as the absence of a creative midfielder was pretty evident. In a bid to bring stability in the midfield, the former Real Madrid Castilla manager might start either Amir Dervisevic or Darren Sidoel. Barring that, we can expect an unchanged starting XI from the last game.
ATK Mohun Bagan’s Spanish centre back Tiri is still injured and will miss the historic derby. However, Habas will have the services of Michael Soosairaj, who is making a return after a long spell at the treatment room. The Spanish manager likes to have a well-settled first-choice XI and hence might field the same lineup, but there is room for a change, as Carl McHugh was not very convincing against the Tuskers.
Predicted Starting Lineups
SC East Bengal (4-2-3-1): Arindam Bhattacharja; Mohammed Rafique, Tomislav Mrcela, Franjo Prce, Hira Mondal; Sourav Das, Angoussana Wahengbam; Bikash Jairu, Amir Dervisevic, Jackichand Singh, Antonio Perosevic.
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Pritam Kotal, Deepak Tangri, Carl McHugh, Subhasish Bose; Manvir Singh, Lenny Rodrigues, Joni Kauko, Hugo Boumous; Roy Krishna, Liston Colaco.
Fans will hope to see a more closely-contested Kolkata derby than what was on offer last season with the Red and Golds having players capable of challenging Habas’ superstars. Diaz’s boys will look to take advantage of their ‘underdogs’ tag but ATK Mohun Bagan has one of the strongest rosters in Indian football guided by a fantastic tactical mastermind.
Hence, despite their new requisitions, it will be pretty difficult for the Torchbearers to go home with anything from this match. We have predicted a 2-1 win for the Mariners in the first Kolkata Derby of the season.