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ISL Gameweek 5 Preview: Bengaluru travel east to Kolkata, Jamshedpur look to enter top four

Written by: Ajay A K


NorthEast United top the table with Goa and Bengaluru just a point behind.

Chennaiyin, FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos are yet to register a win as Gameweek five of the Indian Super League beckons. The former ISL champions especially, have looked uninspiring on the field. On the other end of the spectrum, Northeast looks to challenge for a playoff spot, with the Highlanders yet to lose a match. Their resilience was on full display in their last match when the side held Jamshedpur FC despite being down to 10 men for one whole half. FC Goa and Bengaluru FC have also started the season strong with dominating performances against Mumbai City and Pune City respectively.

In the following, we discuss the upcoming week of the Indian Super League (ISL) and the fixtures to come.

FC Goa vs FC Pune City

Date & Venue: 28th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD &Hotstar.

FC Goa has the perfect opportunity to gain a lead in the top-four with back-to-back home games. Things won’t be easy against the stubborn FC Pune City, but Goa’s attack is potent enough to blow away the toughest of teams. For FC Pune City, a trip to Goa has never been easy. They will have to tread carefully and play sensibly in order to gain anything, as even a point could be precious at this point.

In the eight games these two teams have faced off in so far, FC Goa and Pune City have won three games apiece. The other two games have been draws, as their fixtures are normally quite entertaining.

FC Goa definitely won’t tinker with their team if they manage to surge past Mumbai City earlier in the week.  The Gaurs know that their attacking prowess can be too hot to handle for Pune City and they will look to use their wingers and Coro’s movement to pressurizing the Stallions. The 4-2-3-1 formation is working wonders for them, and they’ll continue playing in that style to keep entertaining their fans.

FC Pune City will also continue with a 4-2-3-1 formation to counter the threat of the Gaurs. Pune could go with a more defensive approach because of the Gaurs attacking threat, but they have the players who can play the counter-attacking form very well. 

Ferran Corominas has remained as FC Goa’s go-to-man in attack and has started the season really brightly with three goals already. The striker has had a blast in his playing career so far in the ISL.

Marcelinho has had a surprisingly quiet start to the season but has all the tools to terrorize Goa’s shaky defence. The prolific attacker can be unstoppable on his day and will look to weave his magic to create something special against Goa.

Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters

Date & Venue: 29th October/ JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Jamshedpur come into this match having registered three consecutive draws since their season-opening victory against Mumbai City FC. Cesar Ferrando’s men are expected to go all out against the southerners, considering their draw against 10 man Northeast in Guwahati in the last game. Kerala Blasters are also yet to register a win after their season opener against ATK. The Yellow Army took the lead in both their second and third matches only to see the opposition equalise in the latter stages of the game. They will be looking to finish the game off this time around and make a statement to the rest of the league.

Jamshedpur has faced the Yellow Army twice during the last season. They ended up better of the two teams. The pair split the points in the first game in Kerala but the Men of Steel won the reverse fixture.

Against a counter-attacking side, Jamshedpur will be looking to put their dominance on the ball to good use. In a 4-2-3-1 formation, Cidoncha, Tiri, Mario Arques and Memo will be looking to move the ball fluidly from the defence to attack. Yumnam Raju and Robin Gurung will need to be energetic to support the attack and also to fall –back and prevent counter-attack from Blasters.

David James will see his side concede possession for the major part of the game and hope to hit on the counter. The English tactician will be relying on the pace of Narzary and Slavisa Stojanovic to ghost forward quickly and link with Poplatnik. Krcmarevic’s presence right in front of the defensive line will see him stop opposition forays and initiate attacks from his deep-lying midfield spot.  The defence, led by captain Jhingan is expected to soak up the pressure.

Mario Arques has acted as the midfield general for the Men of Steel. The Spaniard has been an imposing presence in both attack and defence for Jamshedpur. With one goal and two assists, the midfielder also leads the ISL in the number of passes made. He will have to be his usual dominating self to peg back Kerala and provide all three points to the Men of Steel.

Sandesh Jhingan has been part of Kerala Blasters since the inception of ISL. The defender has been rock solid throughout the years for the Yellow Army and this year the Indian international has been phenomenal for the Kerala side. His experience and maturity will be a key component if Kerala is to stop the likes of Cidoncha and Tim Cahill from causing problems.

Delhi Dynamos vs Northeast United

Date & Venue: 30th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

Delhi and Northeast were the underperformers of last season. But this season has started in contrasting fashion for both sides. Delhi has started the season poorly with three draws and one loss in four matches. The Lions are yet to win this season and will be hoping for a change of fortunes when Northeast arrives. The Highlanders are yet to lose this season and have produced stellar performances. Eelco Schattorie’s men showed great character when they erased a two –goal deficit twice to win against

The Lions hold the edge over the Highlanders having notched three wins compared to Northeast’s two. The eight matches between Delhi and Northeast also saw three draws.

Delhi will start with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Mihelic will occupy the #10 role behind striker Kaludjerovic. The pace and energy of Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal will be vital for Gombau’s side as they will aim to put pressure on the Northeast defence. Marcos Tebar joins Bikramjit in a double pivot defensive midfield. Gharami and Crespi will have their task cut out against Ogbeche. Chhangte and Nandakumar will be looking to keep the Highlanders’’ fullbacks on their toes and exploit any lapses in concentration.

Northeast will miss the services of Mislav Komorski who got sent off in the match against Jamshedpur. Gurwinder Singh will slot into the centre-back position. Rowlin Borges and Federico Gallego will look to dominate the Delhi midfield and exert their presence. Bartholomew Ogbeche’s physicality and presence would be key to Eelco Schattorie’s side getting all three points.

Pritam Kotal has been one of Delhi’s consistent performers this season. The full-back has been solid defensively for the Lions and offensively his overlapping runs have created problems for the opposition defences. Kotal has one goal and one assist in four games for Delhi. He also has 7 tackles and 9 blocks which speaks volumes of his importance on both sides of the field.

Federico Gallego leads the assist chart in this season’s ISL and his presence behind Ogbeche has been vital for Northeast. He has three assists in four games and the Uruguayan has also been an active part of Northeast’s build-up play.

ATK vs Bengaluru FC

Date & Venue: 31st October/ Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

ATK faces Bengaluru after registering a win against another Southern team.  Coppell’s side outplayed Chennaiyin in the Salt Lake Stadium with both Kalu Uche and former Bengaluru defender Johnson getting on the scoresheet. A win against the Blues can put the Kolkata side in a good position to secure a playoff spot.

Bengaluru arrive in Kolkata in roaring hot form. Carles Cuadrat’s side breezed past FC Pune City in Pune courtesy of a Chhetri brace and a goal from Miku. They will be looking to continue their dominance of the league from last year and maintain their unbeaten run.

Last season, saw Bengaluru dominate ATK in both the fixtures. The Blues defeated the Kolkata side 1-0 at home and outplayed the Red and whites in the Salt Lake Stadium in the reverse fixture.

Steve Coppell has fashioned a defending side that hits opponents on the counter. The Englishman will want Balwant and Komal to use their pace and skill to move the ball forward quickly and find Lanzarote or Kalu Uche.  Both Bikey and Johnson will need to stifle Miku’s and Chhetri’s movements in the final third to resist the quick Bengaluru attacks.

Carles Cuadrat favours his side to remain compact and release quickly when the ball is obtained. Erik Paartalu is a vital part of his system. The Australian who leads the league in tackles will be tasked with foiling ATK’s attacks and subsequently release the attacking players. The skill of Udanta Singh on the flank will also be a key component for the Blues. Serran and Juanan have to be solid and force Kalu Uche into submission.


Komal Thatal has belied his age with good performances in ISL so far. Steve Coppell believes in the youngster and has given him the responsibility to provide the goods for the Kolkata side. His pace and skill on the ball is going to be a threat for Bengaluru full-backs.

Bengaluru FC striker Miku is going from strength to strength with every coming match. The Venezuelan has formed a formidable partnership with Indian and Bengaluru icon Sunil Chhetri. The former Rayo Vallecano forward has two goals and an assist in three matches and will be looking forward to add to his tally against a shaky ATK defence.

Jamshedpur FC vs FC Goa

Date & Venue: 1st November/ JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar.

The JRD Tata Sports Complex will witness a fierce battle between two of the most competitive midfields in the league. Jamshedpur face the Gaurs in their second successive home game, hoping to break their jinx against Sergio Lobera’s side. Under Ferrando, Jamshedpur has been dominant on the ball, similar to FC Goa. Goa, on the other hand, arrive at Jamshedpur after two consecutive home games. They breezed past Mumbai City in the first of the two and will be looking to continue their winning run against the Red Miners.

Jamshedpur are yet to win a match against the Gaurs. They faced FC Goa in a playoff spot deciding match last season. The latter routed the Men of Steel, scoring three unanswered goals to clinch a playoff spot. Goa also got the better of them in the reverse fixture played in Goa.

Cesar Ferrando’s men will be looking to keep the ball and push the Goans back. Mario Arques and Memo will be looking to build up play from the back and link with Cidoncha to shift the ball upfront. Soosairaj and Jerry will be looking to exploit the spaces behind opposition full-backs.  The 4-2-3-1 formation could also see Tim Cahill and Cidoncha exchange roles.

Sergio Lobera’s side looks fearsome with their quick passes and fluid movement. The Gaurs have displayed an exceptional ability on the ball, moving it across the field, switching play with ease. Jahouh, the FC Goa midfield general dictates the tempo of the game and has acted as the connector between the defence and the attack during the build-up. Chinglensana Singh and Mourtada Fall have also portrayed amazing maturity while stopping opposition attacks. Coro and Edu Bedia will look to run at opposition defences and create spaces for each other.

In a battle of the best midfields' in the league, Memo aka Emerson will be a very important figure. The Brazilian has ably supported the versatile Mario Arques in the middle and he will need to be in his peak form to challenge the Goan midfield. Memo has an 82.69% passing accuracy and plays an exceptional 72 passes per game.

Ahmed Jahouh will look to be his influential self in the middle of the park. The Moroccan has been a key figure in the Gaur midfield, initiating his side’s attacks and foiling opposition counters. He will be looking to dictate his own terms against another very good midfield and his performance will be vital if FC Goa is to gain all three points.

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Published: Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:22 PM IST


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