East Bengal vs Odisha: Preview and Prediction
East Bengal will not be happy with the start they have got, but signs of improvement are visible in their gameplay. The Torchbearers have won two of their first six games, and are occupying the eighth position in the standings with six points.
Odisha, on the other hand, has had a much better start as compared to what it produced in the 2021-22 ISL season. Having won three of their first five matches and picked up nine points, they are placed in the sixth position.
East Bengal’s start was horrendous, as they lost both their first two matches – a 1-3 away defeat against Kerala Blasters, followed by a 1-2 home defeat against Goa. However, they bounced back with a spirited 3-1 victory over NorthEast United.
For the second time, Stephen Constantine’s men embarked on a two-game losing spree – this time losing out 0-2 against ATK Mohun Bagan and 0-1 against Chennaiyin. That being said, the Torchbearers are coming into this match on the back of a stunning 1-0 win over Bengaluru.
Unlike their opposition, Odisha had a fantastic start to their campaign, as they overturned a deficit to secure a 3-2 win in their first match against Jamshedpur. However, in their second match, Josep Gambau’s men were handed a 0-1 defeat by Mumbai City.
The Kalinga Warriors bounced back once again with two back-to-back victories – a 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters, and then a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bengaluru. However, in their last match, Odisha succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against defending champions Hyderabad.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are inclined in favour of Odisha. They have won three of the previous four meetings between these two sides, with East Bengal winning the other tie. Interestingly, 28 goals have been scored in these four matches.
The last meeting ended in a 2-1 victory for the Kalinga Warriors. Jonathas and Javi Hernandez scored for Odisha, while for East Bengal, their former Croatian striker Antonio Perosevic was the solitary goal-scorer.
Given that his team produced a good performance against Bengaluru, there are chances that Constantine will field an unchanged starting XI. While first-choice right-back Sarthak Golui will be available for selection after serving his one-game suspension, it seems Ankit Mukherjee will retain his place after putting in a shift and a half against the Blues.
Besides that, VP Suhair is a candidate to be dropped, as he has not got going at all this season. However, with the alternative option in Aniket Jadhav just returning from an injury, it seems unlikely that the latter will be rushed into the starting XI.
Gambau, on the contrary, is expected to make changes to the Odisha starting XI. One of the tweaks could be forced, as Reynier Fernandes sustained an injury in the match against Hyderabad. If he does not recover in time, Isaac Vanmalsawma could replace him.
Besides that, Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio had an outing to forget against the Nizams, and Odisha looked much better when he was replaced by Pedro Martin. Hence, the former Atletico Madrid forward could be handed a starting XI role in this match.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Ankit Mukherjee, Ivan Gonzalez, Lalchungnunga, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Naorem Mahesh Singh, Jordan O’Doherty, Charalampos Kyriakou, VP Suhair; Cleiton Silva, Thongkhosiem Haokip.
Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Denechandra Meitei, Carlos Delgado, Osama Malik, Sahil Panwar; Isaac Vanmalsawma, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Singh; Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Pedro Martin, Nandhakumar Sekar.
While Odisha has had a better start to their season and also has head-to-head records on their side, East Bengal will be buzzing with confidence after the win over Bengaluru. Hence, we have predicted a draw for this match.