The Blues have a pretty good team this season consisting of the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Miku.
Last Season’s Performance
Bengaluru FC came into the 2017-2018 ISL campaign with huge doubts surrounding their ability to cut it in a league wherein which each team was well-backed financially and thus had true quality in their squad.
However, the Blues silenced their critics with their irresistible approach to games which found them in the final of the competition in their very first season. BFC faltered in the showpiece against Chennaiyin FC, but nonetheless, gave a very good account of themselves in their first ISL season.
Bengaluru began their pre-season with a camp in Spain, where they faced Atletico Saguntino against whom they suffered a 2-1 defeat. The Blues were then the victims of a 5-1 drubbing by UAE Pro League team Shabab Al-Ahli. Games against Villareal B and Barcelona B also ended in defeat for the southerners, who returned to India after a winless run in Spain.
The side enjoyed a far more successful run of games back home where they defeated MEG 7-0 and Chennai City 5-0. Bengaluru concluded their pre-season with a 2-1 loss to Chennai City in the reverse clash.
The former Galatasaray assistant will hope to have success similar to that which his mentor and predecessor Albert Roca enjoyed at the club
Carles Cuadrat took the step up from assistant manager of the club to the position of head coach, following Albert Roca’s unfortunate departure. The former Galatasaray assistant will take charge of the side for his first season at the helm and will hope to have success similar to that which his mentor and his predecessor enjoyed at the club.
Bengaluru FC saw a massive exodus from the Kanteerava stadium prior to the start of the 2018-2019 season with no less than 12 departures indicating a squad overhaul.
Xisco Hernandez, Kean Lewis and Chencho Gyltshen form the attacking contingent of the Blues’ arrivals, who have devoted most of their transfer budget to strengthening in defence. Albert Serran, Gursimrat Singh Gill and Rino Anto have all been recruited to shore up the Blues’ backline. Goalkeeper Soram Anganba will also be joining the Bengaluru outfit for the 2018-2019 season.
A defensive overhaul means that a lot of Bengaluru FC regulars will not be part of the squad for the upcoming season. The list of players having left the club is as follows: Daniel Segovia, John Johnson, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Subashish Bose, Zohmingliana Ralte, Lenny Rodrigues, Malsawmzuala, Alwyn George, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Abhra Mondal, Victor Perez and Toni Dovale.
Formation and tactics
Xisco and Paartalu are expected to dictate the game from the middle of the park for the Blues this season
Under Roca, Bengaluru were a side that was focussed on the team as a whole rather than an individual’s skill or ability. They scored a massive 35 goals last season, thanks in no small part to their prolific frontline. It is expected that Cuadrat will employ a similar system as he takes over the reigns of the club. BFC will adopt a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation with Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal. The new look defensive line will feature Anto at left-back, a center-back pairing of Juanan and Rahul Bheke, along with Nishu at right-back.
With the departure of Lenny Rodrigues, Xisco Hernandez along with Erik Paartalu will form a newlook midfield base for the Blues. Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh will slot in on either side of Dimas Delgado, who will play in the #10 position behind Miku upfront.
Cuadrat has set up his side to provide goalscoring support to the front three, while also addressing the defensive issues they faced last season. Chhetri will look to use his pace and marksman-like finishing abilities to stretch the opposition, allowing for the likes of Miku to find themselves in positions of goalscoring promise.
The Blues’ strength lies very much in their attacking capabilities. Chettri, an Indian legend and the captain of the national team provides a guarantee of goals and a far more potent attacking threat. He is joined in attack by Miku, who partnered the little man to perfection as the duo helped BFC on their way to scoring 35 league goals last season.
While Bengaluru did have a prolific attack, they did not receive too much help from midfield. Rodrigues, who failed to deliver for his side was not retained for the upcoming season and was replaced with more creative and attack-minded players in an attempt to rectify this.
The Blues will be approaching the new season with an entirely new centre-back pairing that might take a little time to adapt to life together, making the southern outfit vulnerable to opposition attacks.
A Southern Derby to get things going ????
@bengalurufc will entertain champions @ChennaiyinFC in a repeat of last season’s final for their #HeroISL 2018-19 opener!
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) August 25, 2018
Players to Watch
The captain of the Indian national team registered a staggering 20 goals in just 25 games in the 2017-2018 season, along with three assists. The 33-year-old will continue to be an inspiration for his side and the fans of the Indian game and is set to be Bengaluru’s main attacking threat for the upcoming campaign.
The veteran Venezuelan striker was deadly in front of goal with 21 goals in 24 games last season. He was often the star turn that his side needed to overcome their opponents. Miku will hope that his prolific partnership with Sunil Chhetri will continue into the new term as well.
The versatile defender was one of the few defenders that Bengaluru opted to retain for the 2018-2019 season, on the back of his impressive performances for the club. His ability to slot comfortably into any one of the defensive roles, makes him a dream player for any manager.
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What to Expect
With Cuadrat taking up his first senior management role at the club, Bengaluru could undergo a period of adjustment in their second season in the ISL. However, the signings that have been made over the off-season were well thought out and address weak spots in the side. As such, yet another playoff spot could be waiting for the Blues this season.