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I-League Week 6 Preview: Arrows face EB and NEROCA, Mohun Bagan host Aizawl

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Nongdamba Naorem may be the talk of the town, but Khalid Jamil will certainly leave no stone unturned to ensure silence from the Indian Arrows. Read the preview of the exciting Game Week 6. 

The I-League saw a very exciting Game Week 5. Right from the league having new leaders in East Bengal to Nongdemba Naorem’s wonder goal against Shillong Lajong, it’s been yet another pulsating week in the competition. The league is getting quite crowded at the top and if the past few weeks are anything to go by, it definitely looks like the top position will be closely contested.

The last game week saw Minerva Punjab pick up their first-ever loss of the season against the defending champions Aizawl FC. This saw the Punjabi outfit lose their top position to East Bengal who won their game against I-League debutants Gokulam Kerala FC.  The Mariners dropped points yet again against 10-men Indian Arrows and have now accumulated the highest number of draws (4) in the league. It’s still early days into the season and there’s still a lot of ground to be covered. So, let’s dive into the preview for Game Week 6 of the I-League.

Indian Arrows vs. East Bengal

Date & Venue: 2nd January/ Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi.

Time & Broadcast: 02:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

The Indian Arrows are coming on the back of an exquisite result that they pulled out against giants Mohun Bagan. Having drawn the game 1-1 after having their captain Amarjit Kiyam one sent off is a testament to their hard work and grit. The young boys look very good after having a poor start to the season. The last two games have yielded a win and a draw for the Arrows and they will look to keep this form going into the New Year.

With every passing game, East Bengal are looking more formidable. They started the season with a draw followed by a loss to their arch rivals Mohun Bagan. Ever since that defeat, they’ve bettered their record by winning four on the trot. Their game against NEROCA FC ended in a draw after the debutants equalized in the dying moments of the game. Having increased their lead at the top by a point, Khalid Jamil’s men have responded well to their slow start to the season. 

Katsumi Yusa in enjoying his football at the moment and a lot of their success this season has to be directly linked to the Japanese international. Given their current form, they should have no problem beating the resurgent Arrows but given the recent results, anything can happen.

Mohun Bagan vs. Chennai City

Date & Venue: 2nd January/ Kolkata Maidan, Kolkata.

Time & Broadcast: 05:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Things have not gone as planned for the Mariners this season. Even though they are yet to pick up a loss this season, the amount of draws that they have accumulated this season has hurt them. Their recent string of results has been quite bizarre. Their barren run of 3 draws on the trot has dropped them down to 4th place, 6 behind leaders East Bengal with a game in hand. This is not the position Mohun Bagan wanted to be in and thus, they will look to make amends against the misfiring Chennai City FC.

Chennai City FC are languishing in the bottom of the league with just 1 win on board so far in 6 games. To their credit, their star striker Junior Joachim has been scoring a lot of goals for the team. Their winger, Murilo has also been quite good as he showed in the game against Churchill. They will look to their captain Soosai Raj for inspiration and they will look to get a result out of this fixture having started the season in a very poor manner.  


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NEROCA FC vs. Indian Arrows

Date & Venue: 5th January/ Khuman Lampak Main Stadium, Manipur.

Time & Broadcast: 02:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

NEROCA have undoubtedly been this season’s dark horses and probably have an outside chance to make their own Aizawl story this season. Having secured 10 points and at the 3rd position currently, they have thrown the pre-season predictions out of the window. They have stars all over the pitch and some stand out players like Williams, Chidi and Saran Singh have been great for the Manipuri outfit with their contributions all over the field. Coming on the back of a strong performance against East Bengal, they will look to get their season back on track against the Arrows.

Indian Arrows manager De Matos will have trouble replacing his star GK Dheeraj Singh

The Indian Arrows have shown glimpses of what they’re capable of this season. Their win against Shillong and their performance against Mohun Bagan showed how they’ve matured since the beginning of the season. Nongdemba & Amarjit have been terrific for the Arrows. The young colts will be thoroughly tested against this side, both defensively and offensively. The visitors will look to continue their run against the season’s dark horses and close the gap to the top.

Shillong Lajong vs. Chennai City

Date & Venue: 5th January/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Meghalaya.

Time & Broadcast: 05:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Shillong Lajong could not capitalise against Indian Arrows and faced a 3-0 defear last week

Shillong, who started the season in good fashion, have lost their form recently. They faced two back to back defeats at the hands of NEROCA and Indian Arrows, a game that produced one of the finest goals in Indian football from Nongdemba Naorem. The loss has brought them to 5th position with 10 points in the bag. A win against Chennai City seems vital for the side as they look to rediscover their form which they had in the beginning of the I-League season.

Chennai City, on the other hand, have been plain unlucky this season. Sitting at 9th, they have failed to capitalize on their chances. As lethal as he seems, Junior Joachim has been missing a lot of clear-cut chances that could put Chennai in a position to get something out of the match. The squad is a young and promising one and they have definitely under-achieved so far this season. A win against Shillong will do them a world of good.

Gokulam Kerala FC vs. Minerva Punjab

Date & Venue: 6th January/ EMS Stadium, Kerala.

Time & Broadcast: 05:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Newcomers Gokulam Kerala FC have started their season in a predictable manner. They’re still acclimatizing to the league and it looks like, with every growing game, they’re gaining confidence. They’ve only scored 3 goals in the 5 fixtures so far and their defence has not been all that good as well. Since the game is being played at home, the massive crowds can give them a much-needed lift against the 2nd placed Minerva Punjab who are having a very good season in the league.

Minerva Punjab, like mentioned before, are having a fabulous season in the League. Their first loss came at the hands of the defending champions Aizawl FC which saw them lose their top spot to East Bengal. With a game in hand over East Bengal and with just a one-point gap to overcome, Minerva will go into the game all hands on deck and will look to come out with three points in the bag. Asiedu and Chencho have been great revelations for the team and they will look to these two to fire the attack.

Mohun Bagan vs. Aizawl FC

Date & Venue: 7th January/ Kolkata Maidan, Kolkata.

Time & Broadcast: 02:00PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Mohun Bagan were held by Indian Arrows with a 1-1 draw in the last game week

The Mariners lock horns with defending champions Aizawl FC. Both teams have not started the season the way that they would’ve initially expected. Sitting at 4th, Mohun Bagan will look to improve their record of 2 wins and 4 draws and hold on to their positive of not facing any defeat so far. The team has been riddled with injuries and Aizawl are no easy opponents considering that they beat league leaders Minerva Punjab to knock them off the throne.

Mohun Bagan have previously won 2 out of the 4 games that they have faced against the Mizo-based outfit. Should they make it 3 out of 5, it’ll be a good boost to their stuttering start to the season. Meanwhile, Aizawl FC have struggled with consistency this season. Having pulled off a good result against East Bengal in their first fixture and having beat Churchill brothers, they succumbed to a defeat to Shillong Lajong. Menezes’s men have been very strong at the back, having conceded just 4 goals, which is the 2nd best record in the league.

Aizawl face Gokulam Kerala before this fixture and should they win, they will be coming into this game with good form and confidence and Mohun Bagan will need to be varying of their opposition’s strengths. Aizawl FC could not have found a better time to face Mohun Bagan as they’re in a bit of a dry patch. Should they pick up a result against the Mariners, it is now.

Published: Mon Jan 01, 2018 06:32 PM IST

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