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ISL Gameweek 2 Preview: Heavyweights vow to bounce back after lackluster opening

Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar


The first few matches of the season saw many shocking results in the cash-rich league.

The opening week of the Indian Super League (ISL) was packed with excitement and quite a few surprises as well. It was a week in which the South-Indian teams tasted a lot of success and was filled with some impressive away victories. Some teams consolidated themselves as formidable contenders with their superb opening week victories, while poor performances from some others proved how much work is cut out for them. The ISL will have its first International break next week, but before that, some mouth-watering fixtures are cut out for the fans. Here is our preview for week two of the Indian Super League.

ATK vs NorthEast United FC

Date & Venue: 04th October/ Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

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

ATK will look to register their first win of the season

After a disappointing opening-day defeat to Kerala Blasters, ATK  need to recover quickly.  This is going to be ATK’s last home match before a barrage of away fixtures, so a victory could be crucial into inserting motivation into the squad. NorthEast are fully aware of ATK’s dwindling form right now and a win could be crucial to giving them the kick-start they need to be in playoffs contention this season.

ATK hold the advantage in the head to head record between these two teams. They’ve won five out of the eight games played against NorthEast, who have only won two and drawn once with ATK in ISL history.

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NorthEast United looks like an entirely changed squad this term

Steve Coppell will probably make a few changes to the side that went down against Kerala Blasters on Saturday. Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Kalu Uche are both available for selection and will start their first games of the season. While Coppell will persist with his 4-2-3-1 formation, he’ll need his wingers to be more creative and hope for Manuel Lanzarote to inspire a win for the home side.

NorthEast United will make minimalistic changes to their side, with Robert Lalthlamuana expected to replace the injured Keegan Perreira. Like ATK, Eelco Schattorie also likes to play a 4-2-3-1 formation and will look to cause problems for their defense with their fluid, fast-paced attacks. He’ll hope for Redeem TLang and Nikhil Kadam to come up with the creative goods again and allow Ogbeche and Galleco to terrorize ATK’s defense.

Kalu Uche will be someone ATK will pin their hopes onto against NorthEast United. Uche only played a few minutes against Kerala but is not ready to go from the second match. The striker scored 13 goals for Delhi Dynamos last season and will look to prove his deadly eye for goal and get ATK their first win on Thursday.

Nikhil Kadam is someone who is well accustomed to the Salt Lake Stadium having played in it so many times with Mohun Bagan. The tricky winger looked menacing at times against FC Goa but should be more comfortable at a well-known field. He could cause all sorts of problems for ATK through the left and his terrorizing crosses will be something to be wary of.

Kerala Blasters vs Mumbai City FC

Date & Venue: 05th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.

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

The Blasters will look forward to make their home a fortress this season

Kerala Blasters started their season with a resounding win but will look to keep the momentum going before the International break. With much expectations from their home fans, Kerala will aim to play attractive football to repay the fans faith in them and will look to maintain their position at the top of the table with a win. Mumbai City FC on the other hand, are still looking for a point and Jorge Costa will be under pressure to deliver the first points of the season to make sure the Islanders don’t fall behind.

Both sides have won two games each in the eight times they’ve met in the ISL so far. They’ve drawn four of their games, which proves how their bouts are often tight affairs.

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Mumbai City have started their season with a loss

Kerala Blasters are expected to make one change, with Courage Perkuson returning to the team. While Cyril Kali’s inclusion is still a doubt, David James will persist with a 4-1-4-1 formation which worked wonders against ATK. Their two powerful strikers in Matej Poplatnik and Slavisa Stojanovic ran riot the other day and The Blasters look to be a dangerous unit this time with their sleek movement and possession-based game.

Mumbai City FC was overwhelmed in midfield by Jamshedpur FC and new-signing Raynier Fernandes should come into the team against Kerala. The Islanders will mostly play a 4-3-2-1 formation and will need to work hard to contain Kerala’s threat. But some brilliant individuals in the attack could help Jorge Costa make them play a counter-attacking game and try to steal a win in a difficult venue.

Slavisa Stojanovic will again be a man to be wary off as he proved his impressive eye-for-goal with an absolutely stunning strike. The Slovenian striker’s dangerous movement and creativity in the attack has helped Kerala’s attack a force to be reckoned with. He is someone Mumbai will need to contain well, as giving him the tiniest of spaces can prove lethal.

Modou Sougou was Mumbai’s most dangerous attacking outlet against Jamshedpur FC and is someone who can really light up things for them. The winger’s movement and goal-scoring ability is yet to be shown, but his promising display the other day proved that he isn’t far from reaching top form.


Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa

Date & Venue: 06th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.

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

The Marina Machans will also look forward to register their first win of the season

Chennaiyin FC didn’t really get their ISL season off the way they wanted and in their first home match, they’ll want to set things straight. The defending champions need to win against a side like FC Goa to prove their ability as a top team in the league and bring some joy to their fans. FC Goa stuttered a bit against NorthEast United, but will look to pile the misery on Chennaiyin. A win against the defending champions could be huge for them and give them an early lead in the play-offs race.

Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa have faced each other 11 times so far, with Chennaiyin holding the advantage. The defending champs have won six games to Goa’s four and only one games has been drawn in their bouts so far.

The Marina Machans are expected to go with an unchanged unit, as they didn’t really play that badly against Bengaluru FC. John Gregory will keep the 4-2-3-1 formation which has worked for him so well and hopes his dazzling wingers can create more. Chennaiyin’s attacking prowess is well known, but they’ll have to be defensively strong to contain the terrorizing Goan attack.

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The defending champions fell short to Miku's strike in their opening game

FC Goa will also retain the same formation and starting line-up against Chennaiyin and will not be afraid of playing their fluid, attacking game. Sergio Lobera’s side was very impressive against NorthEast United and could cause real problems for the defending champions if they play with that kind of pace and fluidity.

Jeje Lalpekhlua has been the man for the big occasions at Chennaiyin and will look to get his season started against Goa. Jeje wasn’t that effective against Bengaluru, but knowing his influential nature over Chennaiyin’s game and goal-scoring tendency, it’s only a matter of time before he gets on the scoreboard.

Hugo Boumous has been a key link to Goa’s impressive system under Sergio Lobera and he’ll be one to keep an eye on for Chennaiyin. Boumous hard-working ability in the final third and creativity make him a big threat for any side, as he’ll look to neutralize Chennaiyin’s possession in the middle as well as create chances for his side.

Bengaluru FC vs Jamshedpur FC

Date & Venue: 07th October/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.

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

Despite a win, the Blues looked unconvincing in their first game of the season

It’s going to be “Chhetri vs Cahill” in what is going to be the Australian striker’s debut game in ISL, but Bengaluru FC will look to spoil all the fun. Bengaluru will look to continue their impressive home form and further make it a fortress by downing the resurgent Jamshedpur FC. Tim Cahill, on the other hand, will look for a winning start and Jamshedpur’s impressive midfield and soothing brand of football could help them record a famous win at the Kanteerava.

Both Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC were new arrivals in the Indian Super League last season and each won one game apiece in their two bouts.

Bengaluru FC will persist with the 4-2-3-1 formation which worked really well for them against Chennaiyin FC. The Blues are still heavily relied on Miku to be their goal-scoring outlet, but the impressive Xisco gives them an edge in the final third while captain Chhetri is always there to win matches for them.

Similarly, Jamshedpur FC will also play a 4-2-3-1 formation and will hope the inclusion of Cahill will give their attack an extra spark. JFC has a really strong midfield this time and seem to have gotten a really good foreign core along with exciting young domestic players. This allows them to play an attractive, passing brand of football which will improve with the expertize of Cahill.

Sunil Chhetri will definitely want to get his goal-scoring tally underway after failing to score against Chennaiyin FC. Chhetri wasn’t as dangerous as he can be against the defending champions, but will look to cause problems for Jamshedpur. Chhetri’s movement and stunning eye for goal have helped Bengaluru at many occasions in the past and he’ll look to steal Cahill’s thunder.

Tim Cahill is the man everyone wants to see perfrom in the ISL as the Austrailian Legend should make his debut for Jamshedpur at the Kanteerava. Cahill will look to inspire Jamshedpur and lead from the front with his expertize and influential ability. He’ll want to get his season underway in style and bring out his iconic boxing celebration after scoring.

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Published: Thu Oct 04, 2018 01:49 PM IST


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