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Four things Bengaluru FC need to do to beat Mohun Bagan

Written by: Srinivasan

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 Bengaluru FC can upstage Shillong Lajong FC to the 4th spot with a victory over Mohun Bagan and if SLFC loses. . .

It was an important weekend for the Blues of Bengaluru as the reigning champions got their campaign back on track with a draw against Chennai City FC and a hard fought 1-0 victory away to I-League newbies Minerva Punjab. Albert Roca’s men fought tooth and nail to earn their first win in 6 games, a record that the club does not want to be associated with given their exceptional standards they have set over the last three years.

They now face a Mohun Bagan side that are currently 3rd in the table and have two games in hand to catch up to table toppers Aizawl FC. Sanjoy Sen’s men are a tough nut to crack but are on the back of a 2-2 draw against Mumbai FC, with former Bagan gaffer Santhosh Kashyap at the reins. Bengaluru, on the other hand, travelled to Chennai City FC and got a 1-1 draw. Both Roca and Sen will fancy their chances of coming away with 3 points but will have a keen eye on the big clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.

The Spaniard has been in the spotlight as he has a daunting task ahead of him. The former Barcelona coach saw his stock rise when he led the Ashley Westwood machine to the final of the AFC Cup, but has been under constant scrutiny after a winless six-game run which included a crushing defeat to East Bengal at home. We at Khel Now take a look at what the Blues might need to do if they are to topple the Mariners from Kolkata.

Also Read: A faltering ship: Bengaluru FC turning into LVG's Manchester United

The former Barcelona coach saw his stock rise when he led the Ashley Westwood machine to the final of the AFC Cup, but has been under constant scrutiny after a winless six-game run which included a crushing defeat to East Bengal at home. We at Khel Now take a look at what the Blues might need to do if they are to topple the Mariners from Kolkata.

Both Roca and Sen will fancy their chances of coming away with 3 points but will have a keen eye on the big clash at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday. The Spaniard has been in the spotlight as he has a daunting task ahead of him. The former Barcelona coach saw his stock rise when he led the Ashley Westwood machine to the final of the AFC Cup, but has been under constant scrutiny after a winless six-game run which included a crushing defeat to East Bengal at home. We at Khel Now take a look at what the Blues might need to do if they are to topple the Mariners from Kolkata.

Adopt a more direct approach in attack

Ashley Westwood’s Bengaluru side was one that was built on quick transitions from defense to attack relying on pacey wingers and overlapping full backs. Roca, however, has tweaked the team to a more patient possession style of football, one which has been exposed by teams that face the Blues. It is only in the dying embers of the game when Roca’s men switch to Westwood’s approach and have looked more potent in the final third. This method affords talisman Sunil Chhetri more space to work his magic and also gets the best out of the tenacious Udanta Singh.

Talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri will be the key player against Mohun Bagan 

Roca has shown that he is willing to adopt a different style if it assures 3 points. The 53-year-old Spaniard needs to do precisely that if he hopes to get his team to put a formidable Mohun Bagan team under pressure.

Build on the momentum from away games

A positive result away from home always boosts a side’s confidence, regardless of the nature of the opposition. Bengaluru FC has, at times, been at the wrong end of refereeing decisions that have affected their chances of getting a result. However, they have also been guilty of not converting their chances. The recent win over Minerva Punjab, a side that was the first team to score at the Kanteerava this season, is a major shot in the arm for a team that has been low on morale since the defeat at home to East Bengal. A victory away to a resurgent Chennai will bring the Garden City club into the game against Bagan in a more positive frame of mind, something that was missing in the matches before this.

The recent win over Minerva Punjab, a side that was the first team to score at the Kanteerava this season, is a major shot in the arm for a team that has been low on morale since the defeat at home to East Bengal. A victory away to a resurgent Chennai will bring the Garden City club into the game against Bagan in a more positive frame of mind, something that was missing in the matches before this.

Give Eugeneson and Chhetri the space to thrive

The current pattern of play at Bengaluru has been the use of full backs to supplement the wingers who look to supply CK Vineeth with crosses. When this approach has been shut down, the Blues have looked to play their way through the middle as they have the players to do so. But this route has not paid dividends as much as Roca would have liked as opposition teams pack the center of the pitch to deny Bengaluru’s two most creative players in Eugeneson and Sunil Chhetri.

Chhetri has seen a turn in his form after he was moved to a more central role in the last four games. Eugeneson, on the other hand, has not yet reached the level of form that fans have come to expect of him over the course of 3 seasons. The 30-year-old has looked out of sorts as he has been shuffled across different positions in a bid to unleash his creativity. The Blues could adopt a progressive 4-1-4-1 with Lenny or Watson guarding the defense and Chhetri and Eugeneson supporting striker Vineeth. The system also allows for a direct winger in the form of Mandar Rao Desai to provide greater width on the left which opens up spaces for Chhetri and Eugeneson to work their magic.

Ensure discipline on the pitch

Albert Roca’s men have not had the best form in the last two months, and this has seen them concede late goals and sinking to defeats. Some of the games, especially in the loss to Churchill Brothers and the home game against East Bengal saw the Blues lose some of their disciplines as they chased the game. This resulted in suspensions and bookings to key players such as John Johnson and Juanan who are a vital aspect of the Bengaluru defense. Granted, that some of the bookings doled out to the Blues were questionable, but Roca will need to emphasize to ensure that his players retain the right temperament regardless of the scoreline.

The Bengaluru FC defense and midfield will need to be disciplined against the Mariners

The character resulted in suspensions and bookings to key players such as John Johnson and Juanan who are a vital aspect of the Bengaluru defense. Granted, that some of the bookings doled out to the Blues were questionable, but Roca will need to emphasize to ensure that his players retain the right temperament regardless of the scoreline.

Published: Fri Mar 10, 2017 06:46 PM IST

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