The hosts are unbeaten ever since their defeat in the season opener against Kerala Blasters.
Mumbai City FC will travel to Kolkata to face table-toppers ATK in a very crucial encounter for Jorge Costa’s side. Both these teams have endured contrasting fortunes so far this season, as Antonio Habas’ side have notched up 10 points from five games and are five points ahead of the seventh-placed Islanders.
After a run of subdued form so far, Mumbai simply cannot afford to concede points in this match. On the other hand, ATK would be keen to build on their momentum and attain a sense of consistency with a victory over an already depleted Mumbai City FC. Home advantage could play a massive role for ATK, as the Islanders are now winless in their last four encounters in the ISL.
Since their loss in the opening game of the season against Kerala Blasters, ATK have managed to milk out 10 points from four games, which included a 5-0 thrashing of Hyderabad FC.
Their last match against Odisha FC concluded in a goalless draw, but it is safe to say that Habas’ team were the more dominant one throughout the course of the 90 minutes. ATK would be hoping to notch three points from this match, considering that Mumbai City haven’t been in the best of form recently. That means that the home team would have an added opportunity to pile on Costa’s misery and safeguard their position at the very top of the points table.
Mumbai City FC
After a landmark announcement that the majority of Mumbai City FC’s shares were bought by the City Football Group, the franchise needs to do well to impress their new investors . They have had a very subdued start to the season and the recent draw against NorthEast United means that they have more ground to cover in terms of points.
Such a bleak phase at the commencement of the campaign means that Mumbai have some glaring issues to resolve. But, the threats that ATK’s forward line would put up could possibly turn out to be too much to handle for the visitors. Especially, at a time when they are playing an all-Indian backline, that hasn’t reaped the required rewards so far.
Habas’ side would turn up with a similar three-man backline formation, but would possibly miss the services of their defensive midfielder, Pronay Halder. He had suffered a shoulder injury during India’s World Cup qualifier against Oman and except him, the squad and the playing XI is most probably expected to be fit for the upcoming encounter.
Mumbai City FC
Rowlin Borges returned to the lineup in the match in Guwahati and he is expected to play a pivotal role, whilst shielding the defensive line against the rampage that ATK’s forwards tend to put up. There are no signs or signals of the return of Mato Grgic. So, Pratik Chaudhari will partner Sarthak Golui in the centre-back positions. Sourav Das continues to be an absentee, as his return to the side is also eagerly awaited by Mumbai City FC.
Modou Sougou was back to start the game against NEUFC and his recovery from injury is a promising sign for the team.
ATK and Mumbai City FC have faced each other 12 times in the history of the Indian Super League. Mumbai have been the dominant unit with five victories to their name, whilst ATK have won four times. Three of the matches ended in a draw. By the current run of form of both these teams, ATK look to have the upper hand and could extend their tally of wins to five matches tomorrow.
Men to Watch
David Williams (ATK)
Despite ATK failing to put a goal past the opposition custodian in the match against Odisha, David Williams was a constant threat from the left flank, as he provided crosses and passes in abundance. Unfortunately, the likes of Roy Krishna were unable to convert those into goals.
Against Mumbai, Williams would look to torment Sauvik Chakrabarti, who didn’t have the best of games against NEUFC. The 31-year-old has scored three goals and registered one assist in the league so far.
Amine Chermiti (Mumbai City)
Mumbai have found a reliable forward in Amine Chermiti, who bagged a brace in their last game. He has notched three goals in the five games until now. But, the most impressive aspect about him was that even in the losses against Odisha and Goa, he always looked to drop deep, interlink and setup the play for his teammates. Being a natural goalscorer, he can score plenty of them, if the right service is provided to him.
Arindam; Kotal, Agus, Anas; Prabir, Rane, McHugh, Soosairaj; Hernandez; Krishna, Williams
Mumbai City FC
Amrinder; Sauvik, Sarthak, Pratik, Bose, Rowlin, Raynier, Larbi; Carlos, Modou, Chermiti
Did You Know?
- Though Mumbai have won more matches against ATK in the past; when it mattered the most, ATK triumphed over them by an aggregate of 3-2 in the playoffs of the 2016 edition of the league. Both these sides had met each other on four occasions in that season.
- Both these teams played their first match of this season against the Blasters. ATK lost their game, while Mumbai won theirs. The interesting facet of this story is that ATK have not lost even one of the four matches after that; whereas Mumbai have failed to win any game thereafter,
- Arindam Bhattacharya, who has been in fine form for ATK since last season, was a player of Mumbai City FC in the 2017 season and even represented the first-team on two occasions.
The match will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network from 7:30 PM IST on Saturday. It will also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.
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