The Blues will be desperate to make the playoffs after two disappointing seasons.
Having bolstered their squad with some fine additions and a top coach in Simon Grayson, Bengaluru FC will eye the Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs after two long seasons. Grayson is the third coach in as many seasons for the Blues, who have made it to the ISL knockouts only once in three years, and none in the last two. In Grayson though Bengaluru FC have a coach, who has a track record of lifting teams from dire situations.
In just seven days, the Englishman guided Bengaluru FC to their first-ever Durand Cup title. This was also the club’s first trophy since the 2018-19 season. But the ultimate test for Simon Grayson and Bengaluru FC starts only when the ISL 2022-23 begins. Here let us take a look at Bengaluru FC’s predicted XI for ISL 2022-23.
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
He has been Bengaluru FC’s backbone for five seasons now having missed only a few games through injuries. The 30-year-old to date has represented Bengaluru FC in 92 ISL matches since 2017. He had a good outing at the Durand Cup and also made good saves against Vietnam in the international friendly although India suffered a heavy defeat.
Right Back: Prabir Das
Prabir Das after a successful stint with ATK Mohun Bagan made a move to Bengaluru FC. Das is known for his overlapping runs to the final third and delivering quality crosses through the right flank. His cross to David Williams against Bengaluru FC in ISL season 7 is just a reminder of what he can produce from the flanks.
At BFC, Prabir will also reunite with Roy Krishna who he assisted on several occasions during their time at ATK and later at ATK Mohun Bagan.
Centre-Back: Sandesh Jhingan
Yet another player from ATK Mohun Bagan, Sandesh has returned to Bengaluru FC for a second stint. He will form an integral part of the defence with Alan Costa. Jhingan has had good success with Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan and will continue to perform the same way in ISL 2022-23 as well.
Centre Back: Alan Costa
The 31-year-old from Brazil will form an integral part of both the offence and defensive section. Apart from his commanding presence at the back, Alan Costa is also a big threat from set-pieces. Costa scored the winner in the Durand Cup 2022 final taking Bengaluru FC to the title against Mumbai City FC.
Left Back: Roshan Naorem Singh
Having made his senior debut for Bengaluru FC in 2020, Naorem Roshan has not looked back. While the club struggled with inconsistency last season, Naorem took his game to a different level. He was the joint second-highest assist maker last season in the ISL, with seven assists. Apart from his pinch-perfect crosses, Roshan’s ability to cross with both feet makes him a lethal weapon for BFC.
Despite interest from other ISL clubs, the 23-year-old has signed a three-year extension with the Blues. He has already cemented his place as the first-choice full-back for both club and country. The target for Roshan will now be to score apart from also assisting.
Defensive Midfielder: Bruno Ramires
Bruno Ramires was adjudged the player of the match against Mumbai City FC in the Durand Cup 2022 final. He struggled last season under Marco Pezzaiuoli and was often caught out of position. This season though the Brazilian has come into his own. His performance in the Durand Cup was among the best. Bruno shielded the backline and also made progressive passes often finding the long runs of his forward with immaculate long balls.
He will be key for Grayson and Bengaluru FC in ISL 2022-23. And if his Durand Cup performance was anything to go by, Bruno Ramires has shown he can top it.
Central Midfielder: Suresh Wangjam
An injury cut short his Durand Cup just before the knockouts. Suresh also missed India’s friendlies against Vietnam and Singapore. However, he is expected to be fit for the season opener at the Kanteerava Stadium on October 8. He is key to Grayson’s playing style protecting the backline and making interceptions in midfield alongside Bruno Ramires.
Suresh did not perform up to the expectation last season where he couldn’t hold on to the ball while attacking and lost possession often. This season he will get back to his best and perform better.
Central Midfielder: Danish Farooq
Having joined Bengaluru FC from Real Kashmir, Danish Farooq burst into the scene last season, scoring three crucial goals and assisting twice. Despite it being his debut season, Danish became a key player under Marco Pezzaiuoli last season.
He would want to keep making progress and hone his finishing skills under Grayson. He will certainly not be a regular under Grayson with Jayesh Rane and Rohit Kumar also competing for this position.
Attacking Midfielder: Javi Hernandez
After a successful stint at Odisha FC, Bengaluru FC was quick to latch on to Javi after looking at his abilities. Javi was one of the positives for Odisha FC last season scoring goals and providing quality assists, but couldn’t help the team reach the playoffs.
This season Javi has two quality forwards up front and providing them with assists will be his primary job. He can also score goals having netter nine already in three seasons. Six of those goals came last season at Odisha FC where he occasionally also played as a No. #9. He would not have to play as a striker at BFC with four strikers in the camp. But Javi can also shift in as a second striker in a 3-5-2 or a 4-2-4-1 formation.
Centre Forward: Roy Krishna
Roy Krishna is ATK Mohun Bagan’s top goalscorer in ISL history, with 21 goals. With 12 assists, he is also their highest assist-maker in the ISL. This season though the Fiji fireman has a new ISL club. After much debate, discussion and speculations, Krishna finally joined Bengaluru FC. He has already lifted the Durand Cup title with them. The 35-year-old scored three times, including a last-minute match winner in the quarter-finals against Odisha FC.
Despite an injury-laden campaign last year, he ended the season with seven goals and four assists. Grayson and Bengaluru FC fans will hope, he stays fit. Because a fit Krishna is a threat to every other rival.
Centre Forward: Sunil Chettri
The second-highest goalscorer in ISL history, Sunil Chettri will play his seventh ISL season this year and fifth with Bengaluru FC. The recent Durand Cup win completed his trophy cabinet. Chhetri also looks to be back at his best again in club football. He scored in three consecutive matches at the Durand Cup.
He has carried the burden of scoring goals for both Bengaluru FC and the Indian national team and Chhetri doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The 38-year-old struggled last season going without a goal contribution for 11 consecutive games.
He was dropped and played as a substitute. But came back firing towards the end of the campaign with four goals. He has Roy Krishna by his side now, so the shoulders will feel a little lighter.