Way off the pace in the title race the beseiged Mariners will play for pride in the latest chapter of this storied rivalry.

Another week in the bag and we have a mixed array of results throughout the I-League. We saw some great performances from the teams this week and after Minerva beat Mohun Bagan 2-1, they moved above East Bengal in the points table and are now currently 4 points above the 2nd placed Red & Golds.

Minerva are starting to look like serious contenders this time around and they made a hard hitting statement when they beat Mohun Bagan on the 10th on January. East Bengal drew to bottom club Churchill Brothers and it seemed like they were devoid of ideas. Will Churchill be able to carry on this momentum into this week? Let’s dive into the match preview for this week’s fixtures.

Gokulam Kerala Vs Churchill Brothers

Date & Venue: 15th January/ EMS Stadium, Kerala

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

Gokulam Kerala are in a bit of a rut at the moment. Having gone 4 games without a win, they are facing one of their worst run in the league. They were beat by Indian Arrows at home on the 12th of January which said a lot about Gokulam Kerala than it did about the Arrows.

Kerala’s defense has been an issue throughout the early stages of the league and they’ve failed to correct it so far. In the 4 consecutive defeats, Gokulam Kerala have failed to score which makes it all the more worrying for the Kerala based outfit.

Having lost every game leading up to the East Bengal match last week, everyone predicted that East Bengal would walk over Churchill Brothers. Churchill signed 7 new players in the January window thereby placing their hopes on their new signings.

This new injection of talent seemed to have sparked something in the team which helped them secure a draw against then league leaders, East Bengal. With the new signings raring to go, Gokulam Kerala will be a good start for them to hit the ground running as both the clubs are looking to find their feet. 

Aizawl FC vs. East Bengal 

Date & Venue: 16th January/ Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl.

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

Aizawl FC have had a much stuttered season so far in the I-League. The defending champions have struggled with consistency and it is hurting the side’s game in this season. Although, mathematically they are in a very good position having played just 7 games at the time of this article, they have 13 points in those 7 matches and win could move them up to 3rd position should the other results go their way. Coming on the back of a dominant performance against Chennai City, this fixture should be a closely contested one.

Defending Champions are up against Khalid Jamil’s East Bengal

East Bengal have made it a habit to open the scoring. In the last 5 games, they’ve opened the scoring and when they score in the first half, they don’t seem to lose at all.

Katsumi Yusa who is leading the scorer charts has been a different player this season. Playing with a lot of flair and firepower, East Bengal would ideally want to win this match to get back on track after their stuttering draw against Churchill Brothers. East Bengal are currently sitting 2nd with 18 points.

Indian Arrows Vs NEROCA FC

Date & Venue: 16th January/ Tilak Maidan, Goa.

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

The Arrows have had a very mixed bag of a season so far. They’re now coming on the back of a win against toothless Gokulam Kerala and will be tested heavily against the North Eastern outfit. The Arrows have 10 points from 10 games which puts them in the lower mid table position of 7th which is quite justified for the performance that they have put up. Rahul Kannoly has been the trigger for the team and he is one to watch out for in this fixture.

NEROCA FC have won the reverse fixture at home against the Arrows on the 5th of January. They will be looking to do the same thing come the 16th against the young Arrows. NEROCA have put together an amazing run in the competition after going unbeaten in 7 games.

They would’ve essentially liked to have won against Chennai City FC but were unlucky to have just picked up a point in the match. Subash Singh has been a great player for the Northeast based outfit and will be looking to make his mark on the match.

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Churchill Brothers Vs Shillong Lajong

Date & Venue: 19th January/ Tilak Maidan, Goa

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

Churchill play Shillong in a quick turnaround of 4 days after meeting Kerala at Kochi. Being winless in 6 games so far this season, Churchill seemed to have lost the plot this season.  Their plethora of new signings are said to help propel the team a little higher the table. Having played just 6 games in the league, they can still hope to finish in a mid-table spot if they can turn things around in the club.

Churchill Brothers earned their first point this season after drawing with mighty East Bengal

Shillong on the other hand, are coming on the back of a loss against Minerva. They are now currently in 4th place having played the most number of games in the top 4, they’re in danger of losing their spot. Shillong’s struggle to find consistency in the team has been a problem for them. A win against the resurgent Churchill Brothers should do the team a lot of good in terms of consistency.


Date & Venue: 20th January/ Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl.

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

Aizawl host NEROCA FC in this clash of the Northeastern teams in the league. The two teams are still yet to play each other in the league and this will be an extremely open match from the get go.

Both the teams are playing a game 4 days before the match but NEROCA FC will have to travel which gives Aizawl FC a little bit of an edge in this battle. Coming on the back of a tough fixture against East Bengal, Aizawl FC would like to make the most of this fixture.

NEROCA FC have to be cautious in the lead up to this game as they could see Aizawl FC move ahead of them on the table should NEROCA drop points against the Arrows in the national capital. The game could potentially be a six pointer and that’s how crucial it is for both the teams. With the top of the pack racing away, the mid-table teams still have an outside chance and NEROCA would like to leave the pack behind by beating Aizawl FC.

Chennai City FC vs. Gokulam Kerala

Date & Venue: 20th January/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Coimbatore.

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

Chennai City FC have a week long resting period before facing Gokulam Kerala. This tie is a bottom of the table clash and should Chennai win, it will help them scale the table. Chennai City looked helpless on the day against Aizawl FC and were humbled by the defending champions 2-0. Their forward Joachim Jr. has been tearing it apart in the front with 5 goals to show for and should be he on top of his game, Chennai will come out of the game in flying colors.

Gokulam Kerala travel a short distance to face their fellow Southern competitors Chennai City FC. Having scored just 3 goals in the League, they are joint-lowest for total goals scored (3) this season. This is a sign of how toothless the Kerala attack has been this season and it’s a big worry for the I-League debutants. Being a fairly new side, every team will look to attack the side and Kerala don’t do themselves any favor just be sitting back and defending. If they were to get something out of this game, they should attack more.

East Bengal Vs Mohun Bagan

Date & Venue: 21st January/ Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.

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

It’s the big derby but this time it’s in the home of the in-form East Bengal. After having lost the derby in the reverse fixture, East Bengal puckered up and won 4 games straight and have been unbeaten ever since the derby up until the game against Churchill. The Red & Golds will play Aizawl FC in the lead up to this game.

Mohun Bagan won the hard-fought reverse fixture

Mohun Bagan look very vulnerable at the moment and a win for East Bengal could separate the teams by as much as 8 points. Katsumi Yusa and Ralte have been firing in the goals for the Red & Golds with 5 and 3 goals respectively in this season so far and will be a constant threat to the Mariner’s backline.

No team in the league has beaten East Bengal this season other than Mohun Bagan. This victory in the reverse fixture could help the Mariners psychologically in this colossal clash. A win for Mohun Bagan could give the Mariners a much needed lift after having lost the match against Minerva Punjab in the previous week.

The Mariners have been reeking of inconsistency this season and sat in the 5th spot, they have severely underperformed this season. A win for them in this mammoth tie would do the team a whole lot of good.