Kerala Blasters vs Odisha: Preview and Prediction
There is nothing much to differentiate between the teams in terms of points in the standings, they will face each other in the final game of matchday 12, where Kerala Blasters welcome Odisha to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Kerala Blasters are undefeated for the last six games in the league, and they will be up for it against the Juggernauts to continue the impressive run of games.
Odisha aims to improve its away form to keep going and make progress towards the top six. The Juggernauts have been caught off guard in recent games, so Josep Gombau will be looking for consistency from his players when they face an in-form Kerala Blasters team.
Odisha and Kerala Blasters both have 19 points from 10 games in the Indian Super League, with the home team gaining a slight edge over Monday’s opponents in terms of goal difference.
The Blasters continue to impress with a six-game unbeaten run under their belt. Hence, they arrive as a formidable force and will be the favourites to win the game. The Blasters have quality all over the park and will hope to continue their winning streak.
Ivan Vukomanovic will hope that his midfield continues to dictate terms as they did against Bengaluru and Chennaiyin. The form and cohesion between Adrian Luna, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi and the forwards will be pivotal for them. They will look to exploit the Odisha defence that hasn’t enjoyed the best of seasons so far.
Odisha suffered a crushing loss against Goa in their second-last game at Fatorda after three back-to-back wins. The side lost the match by a margin of 3-0. They then drew ATK Mohun Bagan 0-0 after which they enjoyed a week’s break. Hence, the Juggernauts will eye getting back to winning ways right away against the Blasters on Sunday.
A win has the potential to set the motion on the right path after their quest for the top spot took a small detour after being punished at Goa. Thus, Sunday’s game against another table-topper contender is of paramount importance for the club going forward. Odisha is currently placed in sixth place on the points table with 19 points from ten games. A win will take them to 22 points and level them with second-placed Hyderabad.
Head to Head Record
Kerala Blasters and Odisha have played each other in 19 games of the Indian Super League. The Blasters hold a narrow advantage over the Juggernauts by winning seven encounters against Odisha’s five. Seven of these fixtures have also ended in draws.
Odisha however won the reverse fixture played between the two sides earlier this year by a margin of 2-1. The Blasters took the lead in the 35th minute courtesy of Harmanjot Singh Khabra. However, the Juggernauts came back strongly in the second half equalising in the 54th minute through Jerry Mawihmingthanga and then Pedro Martin sealed the game for the hosts in the 86th minute.
Kerala boss Ivan Vukomanovic will opt for the same line-up that has gotten him 16 points from their last six games. However, he might opt to change left-back Nishu Kumar who has suffered in the Blasters’ last two games and might be replaced by Jessel Carneiro.
For Odisha, Michael Soosairaj and Shubham Sarangi are out for long-term injuries. Raynier Fernandes might also not start but may come on as a substitute. However, vital cog Nandhakumar Sekar will return to the side after missing the ATK Mohun Bagan game as he saw a red card against Goa.
Odisha gaffer Josep Gambau might give Narender Gahlot a long run at the right-back position where he has looked promising. Aside from that, the Juggernauts are expected to play in their standard 4-3-3 formation, with Amrinder Singh in goal and a back-four of Narender, Osama Malik, Carlos Delgado, and Sahil Panwar.
Predicted Starting XIs
Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Prabhsukhan Gill; Sandeep Singh, Ruivah Hormipam, Marko Leskovic, Jessel Carneiro; Rahul KP, Jeakson Singh, Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, Sahal Abdul Samad; Dimitrios Diamantakos, Adrian Luna
Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Narender Gahlot, Osama Malik, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar; Nandhakumar Sekar, Victor Rodriguez, Thoiba Singh Moirangthem; Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Pedro Martin, Diego Mauricio
Kerala Blasters were unable to keep their winning streak going as their draw with Chennaiyin saw it end at five games. They will not be too disheartened by that result and will now look to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches as they host Odisha.
The visitors have failed to win either of their last two after drawing with ATK Mohun Bagan last time out but they have only lost one of their last five and with the two teams looking well-matched, a share of the spoils could be on the cards here.