Mumbai City vs Mohun Bagan Super Giant: Preview and Prediction
These two teams inadvertently start every competition as the title favorites, but neither can claim they have been the best team so far in this edition of the ISL. Mumbai City is among the only three teams to have remained unbeaten so far, but they have been rather misfiring. Out of 8 matches, the Islanders have drawn only four games while the other four ended in draws. With 16 points, they are placed in fifth position.
On the other hand, Mohun Bagan Super Giant has not always been mighty impressive, but they have been doing just about enough to churn the wins game after game. The Mariners have won six and drawn one of their 7 games so far, and with 19 points, they are placed third in the league standings.
Mumbai City started their campaign with a 2-1 win over NorthEast United but then were held to a 2-2 draw by Odisha. The Islanders bounced back again with a 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters but failed to get two consecutive wins under their belt once again, as they could only play out a 1-1 stalemate in their fourth match against Hyderabad.
The next couple of matches went well for the team that is now managed by Petr Kratky after Des Buckingham recently left for Oxford United. They defeated Punjab 2-1 and Bengaluru 4-0 in these two matches, but have once again lost the momentum, as they will come into this match on the back of two consecutive 0-0 draws against Goa and East Bengal.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant started their season with a 3-1 win over Punjab, and while the challenge was tougher in their second match against Bengaluru, Juan Ferrando’s team somehow managed to get a 1-0 win. They bounced back to their usual selves in the third game, where they handed Chennaiyin a 3-1 defeat.
Jamshedpur posed a much bigger threat to the Mariners than anyone would have expected, but yet again, they managed to come out with a 3-2 win. After defeating Hyderabad 2-0, Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s winning streak came to an end when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Odisha, but they got back on track by trouncing NorthEast United 3-1 in their last match.
Head to Head Record
When it comes to head-to-head records, there is absolutely no competition between the two teams as Mumbai City is miles ahead of their opponents. Out of the seven times these teams have met, the Islanders have won five games, while the other two games ended in a draw. The Mariners are yet to get a win in this fixture.
The last meeting, which was played at Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s home in Kolkata earlier this year, saw Mumbai City emerging as 1-0 winners. Lallianzuala Chhangte scored the lone goal in that match.
With Kratky settling in at Mumbai City, one can expect multiple changes every match and Lallianzuala Chhangte hasn’t been handed a start in the first two matches and might get to start against the Mariners. Otherwise, the Islanders boast a clean health bill.
On the other hand, the Mariners are slowly witnessing their players returning to the fold as Manvir Singh, Dimitrios Petratos, and Hugo Boumous came off the bench in the win against NorthEast United.
Sahal Abdul Samad is also nearing a return to full fitness and might return to the substitutes bench as Juan Ferrando would be hoping to give his best creative midfielder some minutes ahead of the clash with table-toppers Goa.
Anwar Ali and Ashique Kuruniyan continue to be long-term absentees for the Kolkata-based side. While the former is expected to return to action in March, Kuruniyan could be seen taking the field next season.
Predicted Starting XIs
Mumbai City (4-2-3-1): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke, Rostyn Griffiths, Mehtab Singh, Akash Singh; Apuia; Yoell van Nieff, Bipin Singh, Greg Stewart, Lallianzuala Chhangte; Jorge Pereyra Diaz.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant (3-4-3): Vishal Kaith; Brendan Hamill, Hector Yuste, Subhasish Bose; Asish Rai, Anirudh Thapa, Deepak Tangri, Liston Colaco; Manvir Singh, Jason Cummings, Dimitri Petratos.
Although the head-to-head records are inclined in Mumbai City’s favor, they are a team going through a transition phase, after the departure of a successful coach. Meanwhile, the Mariners have just found their rhythm back after a poor AFC Cup campaign and will be looking to sustain the momentum. Hence, the visitors will start this match as the favorites.