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ISL Week 13 Preview: Chennai and Bengaluru faceoff as Mumbai host Pune in second Maha Derby

Written by: Sourav Neogi

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Elsewhere, ATK and Kerala Blasters renew rivalries while Pune travel to NorthEast United.

After an action-packed weekend in the Indian Super League (ISL), the tournament is all set to be back with more interesting fixtures in the upcoming gameweek. The new set of games will go off with table toppers Bengaluru FC travelling to Tamil Nadu to face Chennaiyin FC. The fixture will be followed by the Stallions, FC Pune City travelling all the way to Guwahati to face NorthEast United FC on Wednesday. The next two days will see defending champions ATK taking on Kerala Blasters on Thursday and FC Goa travelling to Bengaluru to face the current league leaders at their den. Let’s take a more detailed look at these game, shall we?

Chennaiyin FC Vs Bengaluru FC

Date & Venue: 6th February/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

The high flying Southerners are having a great time in the top half of the Indian Super League (ISL) table this season. The Marina Machans defeated the defending champions ATK in their previous game and are looking forward to extending their winning streak to two games against the league newcomers Bengaluru FC on Tuesday.

Chennaiyin are determined to slim the gap aty the top of the table

The hosts are four points behind league leaders Bengaluru FC currently and given a win, Chennaiyin would be only a point behind the Blues and will have a chance to go to the top. However, the visitors are currently in a well-matched rhythm, being undefeated in their last five games – which will be a problem for Head Coach John Gregory and his men on Tuesday.

Although an attacking side, Chennaiyin have shown momentary lapses in their attacking gameplay in the season. Among the current top four, the Chennai Franchise have scored the second least numbers of goals (19) which might be an advantage to Albert Roca and the travelling Blues. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC have shown resilience on all fronts, scoring the second most numbers of goals (25) in the league this season and also displaying a magnificent defensive display till now.

NorthEast United Vs FC Pune City

Date & Venue: 7th February/ Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

Although another disappointing season for the Northerners, it is safe to say they have emerged as a giant-killer franchise. However, the last time these two sides met – FC Pune City managed to put five past the NEUFC custodian Rehenesh TP, which remain as their biggest defeat this season.

The hosts are currently sitting in the bottom half of the table in the ninth position whereas the visitors FC Pune City have emerged as a well-oiled outfit and are gunning for the league title effectively. Avram Grant, the newly appointed NorthEast United head coach have used some impressive tactics since he took charge which have helped the Northerners to put up a fight and earn some points on the way. On the other hand, Pune’s long-serving coach Ranko Popovic’s attacking gameplay have produced results with the help of forward duo Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho and are expected to deploy an identical strategy against the hosts.

ATK Vs Kerala Blasters

Date & Venue: 8th February/ Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

A clash of disappointed behemoths. Both the defending champions and last year’s runners-up have been enduring a nightmarish season this time around. Having sacked their respective head coaches mid-season, both the franchises are aiming for a higher league finish and a chance to remedy the damage done.

ATK are desperate to get back to winning ways

The hosts, ATK, were defeated at their own backyard in the last Indian Super League (ISL) game week by leaders Bengaluru FC which extended their losing spree to four games. The Kolkata franchise have scored the least numbers of goals (8) in the tournament this year and their scoring incapability will be a headache for interim coach Ashley Westwood. On the front, the Blasters had secured all three points in their previous game against Delhi Dynamos FC and will be looking forward to extending it to a streak.

The hosts used a long ball and aerial attacking strategy when the season began. However, since the sacking of Teddy Sheringham and the appointment of Ashley Westwood as the head coach has seen the gameplay changing into a free-flowing strategy. On the other hand, David James’ judgment making capabilities have helped the Kerala franchise unearth another young talent in Deependra Singh Negi who is expected to be an integral part of the visitor’s gameplay on Thursday.


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Bengaluru FC Vs FC Goa

Date & Venue: 9th February/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

A tiring week for the league leaders. The Indian Super League (ISL) newcomers will be plying their trade for the second time in a span of three days, which opens up windows for failures. However, the Bengaluru side have proved to be resilient to the fatigue and are expected to provide a tough fight to FC Goa on Friday.

         Goa will want to cement their place in the playoffs

Under the coaching of Sergio Lobera, FC Goa have provided the spectators with a string of mouthwatering performances. Despite being the highest scoring side (29) in the tournament this year, the Gaurs have been comparatively weak at the back as they have also conceded the second most numbers of goals (23). Unlike the visitors, Bengaluru FC have been solid at the back with the partnership of John Johnson and Juanan and are expected to create a challenge for Coro and co. in this gameweek.

Albert Roca’s primary concern would be to stop the raging threats of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote. While Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri is currently the highest scorer of the tournament, Lanzarote has scored the same number of goals, with a game to spare and will be the prime threat to contend on Friday.

Jamshedpur FC Vs NorthEast United

Date & Venue: 10th February/ JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Steve Coppell’s boys have been in an amazing form lately. The Indian Super League (ISL) newcomers have won two back to back game since their defeat against high flying FC Pune City last month. The Men of Steel have been riding on their defensive abilities since the beginning of the season and although a slow process, they have been able to land themselves in the playoffs spot in their inaugural season.

On the other hand, NorthEast United’s title dreams have vanished with their string of disappointing performances. The Highlanders currently are holed up in the ninth position in the standings, having won only three times this season. The Northerners have scored only 10 goals since the beginning of the season and are at a massive disadvantage against a defensive unit such as Jamshedpur FC.

Mumbai City FC vs FC Pune City

Date & Venue: 11th February/ Mumbai Football Arena

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

The previous game week had been a tough one for the Islanders. The Mumbai franchise were defeated by league newcomers Jamshedpur FC and are determined to come back to the winning ways this week against FC Pune City. Since the beginning of the season consistency has been a headache for Alexandre Guimaraes and FC Pune City will be a worthy opponent to check it.

 The Islanders are determined to mount one last push for the top four

Although Mumbai City FC have played some eye-catching football at times, their inability to produce an end product have hurt the side and their title dream. On the other hand, Ranko Popovic has changed the Pune side into a daring and high scoring behemoth who are looking forward to cementing their place in the playoffs positions. The visitors have emerged as one of the highest scoring sides in the tournament and with their unique playing style, the fixture is going to get only exciting.

Alexandre Guimaraes’ primary concern will be to stop the attacking duo of Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho whereas Popovic is expected to concentrate on the Mumbai midfield. The Mumbai City FC attacking lineup depends heavily on the supply line up from the centre of the pitch, neutralizing would be a masterstroke from the opposition head coach.

Delhi Dynamos Vs Chennaiyin FC

Date & Venue: 11th February/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.

Time & Broadcast: 08:00 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Since the beginning of the season, the Dynamos have been misfiring left, right and centre. The Delhi franchise have gone down to the bottom of the Indian Super League (ISL) registering only two points under their belt. Their opponents, Chennaiyin have gone up the ladder and are sitting comfortably in the second position following Bengaluru FC.

Since the season started, Delhi Dynamos’ many outings have proved again and again about the nonexistence team chemistry among the capital side. Miguel Angel Portugal, the Dynamos’ head coach has failed to deliver what was expected of him and as a result, a disastrous season presented itself to the franchise. In the most recent edition of the ISL, Delhi have conceded the most numbers of goals (29) which speaks volume of their defence. Their opponents, on the other hand, Chennaiyin have a more than decent scoring record which will surely haunt the Dynamos on Sunday.

Published: Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:50 AM IST

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