East Bengal vs Bengaluru: Preview and Prediction
In the third match of matchday 13 of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season, East Bengal will be up against Bengaluru. The fixture will be played out at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.
Both teams will be desperate to get a positive result from this match, as it is about time for them to turn their season around if they want to remain in the hunt for a playoffs place. Having won only three matches and accumulated 9 points from 10 matches, East Bengal is placed 9th in the standings.
Bengaluru, on the other hand, has not been much better either. The Blues have also won only three matches, but they have also drawn a match, courtesy of which they have 11 points in their account and are placed 8th in the points table.
East Bengal had a rather poor start to their campaign, as they lost both of their first two matches against Kerala Blasters and Goa. While the streak ended when they defeated NorthEast United 3-1 in their third fixture, that match was followed by two more defeats – against ATK Mohun Bagan and Chennaiyin.
The Torchbearers then enjoyed a comparatively better phase, as they won two of their next three matches – against Bengaluru and Jamshedpur, and lost against Odisha. However, Stephen Constantine’s men will come into this game on the back of two back-to-back defeats – against Hyderabad and Mumbai City.
Bengaluru’s start to the campaign was much better, as they were unbeaten in their first couple of matches – beating NorthEast United 1-0 and drawing 1-1 against Chennaiyin. However, Simon Grayson’s team then suffered four consecutive losses – against Hyderabad, Odisha, East Bengal and Mumbai City.
The run finally ended when they handed Goa a 2-0 defeat, but it was followed by defeats against ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters. While the Blues once again made a comeback by beating Jamshedpur 1-0, all of their good work was undone when they got handed a 0-3 drubbing by Hyderabad in the last outing.
Head to Head Record
There is absolutely nothing to separate the two teams based on head-to-head records. In the past five league meetings between East Bengal and Bengaluru, both teams won two games apiece, with the other fixture resulting in a draw.
The reverse fixture, which was played a month ago, saw the Torchbearers securing a 1-0 victory. After a goalless first half, former Bengaluru striker Cleiton Silva scored the winner for Constantine’s team in the 69th minute.
Given how his team performed in the last few matches, it seems certain that Constantine will make changes to his starting XI. The British tactician could finally switch to an all-overseas forward combination, dropping Thongkhosiem Haokip for Eliandro Dos Santos.
But for that to happen, he will also need to bench Charalampos Kyriakou for Souvik Chakrabarti, so as to maintain the overseas count to four. Besides that, VP Suhair could be dropped to the bench after a poor outing against Mumbai City, with Aniket Jadhav taking his place.
Similarly, Grayson is also expected to tweak his team after a disappointing 0-3 defeat against Hyderabad. Prabir Das is expected to return to defence and replace Namgyal Bhutia, while Roshan Naorem could be switched to a full-back by benching Parag Shrivas.
Australian centre-back Aleksandar Jovanovic hardly got anything right against the Nizams, and hence, he might have to make way for Alan Costa in this match. Pablo Perez could replace Danish Farooq in the midfield, while in attack, Udanta Singh could join Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Ankit Mukherjee, Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Aniket Jadhav, Souvik Chakrabarti, Alex Lima, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Cleiton Silva, Eliandro Dos Santos.
Bengaluru (4-3-3): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan, Alan Costa, Roshan Naorem; Suresh Singh Wangjam, Javi Hernandez, Pablo Perez; Udanta Singh, Roy Krishna, Sunil Chhetri.
While the two teams are on the same page on both current form and head-to-head records, Bengaluru has a slightly better squad on paper. Hence, we have predicted the Blues to secure three points from this match.