Jamshedpur vs Kerala Blasters: Preview and Prediction
Jamshedpur welcomes Kerala Blasters after a two-week break for Ivan Vukomanovic’s side. This fixture is the repeat of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season semi-final, where Kerala Blasters went past the League Shield winners and prevented them from having a shot at the double. The Yellow Army with that win also stopped the seven-match winning run of the Red Miners, which is still the record in the Indian Super League.
The odds are different this time, as Jamshedpur under Aidy Boothroyd is struggling to repeat the past glory. The frequent injuries are not helping the cause. The head coach acknowledged that the team conceded too many in the first half. The duo of Dimitri Diamantakos and Adrian Luna would like to test the defense early in the match.
On the other hand, Kerala Blasters are finding their winning way after the initial glitches. Kerala Blasters lost three out of the four initial matches but came out victorious in the last three matches against NorthEast United, Hyderabad and Goa. The tactical flexibility of Ivan Vukomanovic is once again going to be tested as he faces the Red Miners who are pretty good at playing long balls and counter-attacking. A win is essential for both teams to boost their playoff hopes.
Jamshedpur is currently languishing second last in the points table with four points in their kitty from their first seven games of the season. Jamshedpur started the season with a 2-3 loss at home to Odisha and then followed that with a 1-1 draw against Mumbai City. In their next game against NorthEast United, the Red Miners registered their first and only win of the season when they defeated the Highlanders 1-0.
Since then, Jamshedpur has lost their next four games on the bounce that started with a 3-0 loss against Goa away, a 1-0 slender loss to defending champions Hyderabad at home, another thrashing at the hands of Chennaiyin while on the road while losing last game to East Bengal by a 3-1 margin.
Kerala Blasters, meanwhile, have had a roller-coaster of a season and are currently in the fifth position in the points table with four wins and three losses in seven games this season.
The Tuskers started their campaign with a 3-1 win over East Bengal in their opening fixture but were thrashed by ATK Mohun Bagan in their next encounter. The team from the South of India suffered another loss after going down to Odisha 2-1 whilst playing away while following those two losses with another loss against Mumbai City 2-0.
Since then, fortunes have changed for Kerala who now has won registered three wins on the bounce. They first beat NorthEast United 3-0 and then followed that up with a 3-1 win over Goa at home. They recently defeated defending champions Hyderabad 1-0 on the road to make their case for the playoffs.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head record between Jamshedpur and Kerala Blasters is slightly inclined in the Red Miners’ favour with the two sides playing each other in 12 games with the former winning thrice while the latter winning two encounters. Seven of these games between the two sides have ended in draws.
Last season both these sides were involved in four games. The first encounter between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw while Jamshedpur won the next fixture 3-0 in the league stages. These two sides also played each other in the playoffs with Kerala defeating the Steelers 1-0 while drawing the next one 1-1 to progress to the finals.
Aidy Boothroyd is expected to start Rehenesh Paramba in front of the goal whilst Pratik Chaudhuri will partner Peter Hartley in central defence. They are expected to be flanked by Laldinliana Renthlei and Ricky Lallawmawma as full-backs.
Jitendra Singh will partner with the creative Jay Emanuel Thomas in midfield and will be joined by Harry Sawyer and Boris Singh in the wings. The duo of Daniel Chima Chukwu and Ishan Pandita will be tasked with leading the line for the Red Miners.
The Tuskers will line up with Prabhsukhan Gill present between the sticks whilst the quartet of Sandeep Singh, Hormipam Ruivah, Marko Leskovic, and Nishu Kumar are expected to marshall the defence line.
Jeakson Singh will partner Ivan Kalyuzhnyi in the middle of the park trying to tick the Blasters’ midfield while the duo will be joined by Sahal Samad and Rahul KP who will be a threat on the wings. Meanwhile, Adrian Luna and Dimitrios Diamantakos will be tasked with the tough ask of breaching the Nizams’ fortress.
Predicted Starting XIs
Jamshedpur (4-4-2): Rehenesh Paramba; Laldinliana Renthlei, Pratik Chaudhuri, Peter Hartley, Ricky Lallawmawma; Harry Sawyer, Jitendra Singh, Jay Emanuel Thomas, Boris Singh; Daniel Chima Chukwu, Ishan Pandita
Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Prabhsukhan Gill; Sandeep Singh, Hormipam Ruivah, Marko Leskovic, Nishu Kumar; Sahal Samad, Jeakson Singh, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, Rahul KP; Adrian Luna, Dimitrios Diamantakos
These two teams are trending in opposite directions and it could be evident as they go head-to-head. Jamshedpur has lost their last four games after suffering a defeat to East Bengal last week.
They conceded three goals for the third time in those four games in that loss and their defensive issues could be exposed by Kerala Blasters. The visitors have won their last three after getting the better of reigning champions Hyderabad in a repeat of last season’s final and a fourth straight win is surely on the cards for them in this one.