The Blues will be looking to re-assert their dominance after a difficult previous campaign.
One of the powerhouses when it comes to Indian football, Bengaluru FC are regarded widely for their performances in the last couple of seasons. They have won both the I-League and the Indian Super League over the last few years and are always in contention to be among the title challengers.
Led by an astute tactician in Carles Cuadrat, the pressure is always high on the Blues to perform better than last year and fans are always demanding for more. However, the competition at the top seems to be intensifying with new entrants and rival competitors making good signings. This begs the question, who are the players on whom Bengaluru FC will rely upon to make a stronger claim for the title in the upcoming season?
Khel Now takes a look at the top five players who will play crucial roles for the club in the 2020-21 season of the Indian Super League (ISL):
5. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is an obvious choice in this list. He is crucial to the solid defensive performances of Bengaluru FC and is regarded as one of the best Indian goalkeepers around. His shot-stopping capabilities and command over his backline make him standout from the rest. His massive frame is the cherry on top and helps him pluck crosses from the air.
Gurpreet held the record for most clean-sheets last season with 11 and has 25 overall shutouts in 58 games in the ISL. This number will only rise in the 2020-21 season.
4. Erik Paartalu
Erik Paartalu is the orchestrator in the heart of the midfield for Bengaluru FC. He can defend, has incredible passing range, an eye for blocking passing lines and making crucial interceptions, along with initiating quick turnovers by feeding the ball to the wingers during counter-attacks. The midfielder can do it all and his contributions from set-pieces cannot be overlooked either.
The Australian was to be moving to ATK Mohun Bagan in a big-money move to join his former A-League counterparts Roy Krishna and David Williams. However, he changed his mind to the delight of the fans and penned a new two-year deal to stay with his current employers. He will certainly help Carles Cuadrat’s men to mount a title challenge.
3. Udanta Singh
Udanta Singh still remains among India’s most exciting wingers. His blistering pace troubles opposition full-backs and he has a knack of finding space behind the backline too. However, with high potential also comes the burden of high expectations.
Sometimes, it can be frustrating to watch Udanta. He definitely needs to work on his finishing and be more confident in front of goal. He only managed one goal in 19 matches for the Blues last campaign and needs to improve on his end-product. Clearly, the club hierarchy believe in his talent, as he was handed a new three-year contract earlier in 2020.
2. Sunil Chhetri
The brilliance and influence of Sunil Chhetri in Indian football is known to everyone. He has always been crucial to the success of Bengaluru FC and will continue to play that role in the 2020-21 season. The skipper might have lost some pace now, but age is merely a number for Chhetri, who is still fit as a fiddle.
The talisman has adapted his game perfectly and likes to drift into a central position, while starting games mostly from the left flank in a front-three attacking setup. His technical brilliance enables him to find runners using his through balls and he always remains an ever-present threat from free-kicks and corners. With nine goals, he was the highest-scoring Indian player last season.
1. Kristian Opseth
One of the most interesting signings ahead of the new ISL campaign has to be Kristian Opseth. Bengaluru FC had a problematic experience in the striker role with all three of Manuel Onwu, Kevaughn Frater and Deshorn Brown under-performing. Now, the responsibility of leading the attack will fall on the Norwegian forward who has been signed on a free. His performances will largely decide the fate of the Blues in the ISL.
Kristian Opseth was most recently with Adelaide United in the A-League and will look to set the competition alight like his former counterparts in the Australian top flight, Krishna and Williams. He scored six goals and provided two assists in Australia and will look to improve on his performance when he leads the attack for Bengaluru in the 2020-21 season.