The week will also see Mumbai City pushing for top spot when they take on struggling Kerala Blasters.

The Indian Super League’s first half of the season comes to a close later this week, with teams looking to finish this phase in a strong manner. With an extended international break which will stretch till almost February, this is also a final opportunity for some domestic players to impress coach Stephen Constantine before the AFC Asia Cup squad is announced. While teams like Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC look primed at the top, the others are frantically aiming to catch up. Here’s our preview for GW 12 of ISL.

Bengaluru FC vs ATK

Date & Venue: 13th December/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.

Time & Broadcast: 7:30 PM IST/ Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1  HD & Hotstar.

Bengaluru FC’s party at home might’ve been hindered with a frustrating draw against Mumbai City, but they’ll look to make up for that against ATK. Bengaluru looks to end the first half on a high, as they aim for a dominant win to consolidate their position at the top. ATK, on the other hand, are in desperate need of a win to keep afloat in the playoffs race. Steve Coppell will hope his talented bunch can overcome the odds and pull off an infamous win to keep them close to the top four.

Bengaluru FC has defeated ATK all three times the sides have met so far in the ISL.

Carles Cuadrat will mostly retain the 4-2-3-1 formation against ATK. Chencho Gyeltshen is expected to spearhead their attack, while Boithang Haokip or Xisco could come in for the suspended Harmajot Khabra. Bengaluru will retain their fast-paced, fluid attacking style at home and look to finish the half in style.

Bengaluru FC Vs ATK probable lineups

ATK will also go with a 4-2-3-1 formation but will need to take the game to Bengaluru FC. Coppell will go with a pragmatic system, yet should allow his players more freedom to express themselves. The way Mumbai City played could inspire ATK to play on the attack to trouble Bengaluru and take all three points from them.

Sunil Chhetri’s goal-scoring boots have been missing for a few matches, but he’ll look to end that on Thursday. Chhetri loves scoring at the Kanteerava and will look to get some confidence with a positive performance before leaving for national duty.

Jayesh Rane’s been in encouraging form recently, scoring a scorcher against Chennaiyin FC. Rane’s movement and creativity are troubling sides, and he’ll look to use his unique style to create big chances and pull off a match-winning performance for ATK.

FC Goa vs  NorthEast United FC

Date & Venue: 14th December/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa.

Time & Broadcast: 7:30 PM IST/ Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1  HD & Hotstar.

FC Goa’s form has hit a snag, as they’ve failed to impress in recent games. Lobera’s side has lost the momentum they started with and need to bounce back at home. Goa’s stunning home form is well known and they’ll need to oust NorthEast to regain their momentum and trounce over them in the standings NorthEast United will also look to continue their dream run and knowing their prowess away from home, they can pose a big challenge to the Gaurs and take precious points from their fortress.

FC Goa and NorthEast United have faced each other 9 times in the ISL, with the Gaurs winning three times. NorthEast have won two games, while four games have been drawn.

The Gaurs will retain the 4-2-3-1 formation which has done them so good this season. Sergio Lobera will play his best unit against the strong NorthEast and hope the pace, clinical nature of his prolific attackers can cause up a storm to blow away the Highlanders.

FC Goa Vs NorthEast United FC probable lineups

NorthEast United will also go with the 4-2-3-1 formation they’ve played in every away game so far. They’ll need to be defensively solid to stop the blazing Goan attack and finish the chances, with much being put on the shoulders of their prolific attacking duo up front.

Ferran Corominas is losing his spot as ISL’s top goal-scorer and will want to oust his rival Barthamolew Ogbeche on Friday. Coro’s lethal striking ability is well known, as he’ll look to terrorize the Highlanders with his movement and intelligence to keep his goal-scoring record in Goa intact.

Federico Gallego has been NorthEast’s creative lynchpin this season, assisting Ogbeche really well throughout. Many teams underestimate his strength and Gallego can use that to his advantage against Goa. Gallego’s creativity and an impressive eye for goal can help the Highlanders sneak a win against Goa.

Chennaiyin FC vs Delhi Dynamos

Date & Venue: 15th December/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai.

Time & Broadcast: 7:30 PM IST/ Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1  HD & Hotstar.

Chennaiyin FC’s playoffs dreams were effectively crushed in their loss to Mumbai City, but that doesn’t mean they’ll lay down. Chennaiyin will look to lift the mood of their dejected fans and play like champions against a similarly down Delhi side. The Lions are also in a terrible situation, but a win against Chennaiyin could end this half brightly for them and give the unit some confidence for an improbable playoffs charge after the break.

Delhi Dynamos hold the advantage in this fixture, having won 4 out of their 9 meetings. Chennayin have only won once, with another game being a draw.

John Gregory will mostly continue with the 4-1-4-1 formation his team has been playing in recent games. He’ll hope his side can bounce back after the demoralizing result against Mumbai positively and end the first half by playing the dazzling, clinical football which made them champions last season. 

Chennaiyin FC Vs Delhi Dynamos probable lineups

Delhi Dynamos will continue with their 4-2-3-1 formation but need to be much better defensively now. Dynamos’ sparkling attack is well known, but they need strength in midfield and defence to contain Chennaiyin FC. Dynamos will look to hit them on the counter with the incredible pace of their players to pull off a much-needed win.

Isaac Vanmalsawma was pretty impressive against Mumbai City FC and despite the controversy, he looked Chennaiyin’s most dangerous attacker. The wingers’ movement, trickery can cause problems to Delhi Dynamos and he’ll want to redeem his actions with an exhilarating performance on Saturday.

Lallianzuala Chhangte can boost his AFC Asian Cup chances with a promising showing. Chhangte’s pace and goal-scoring ability can trouble any team. He’ll look to trouble the hosts and light up Chennai with his dazzling nature to hand the Dynamos their first win of the season.


Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC

Date & Venue: 16th December/ Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai.

Time & Broadcast: 7:30 PM IST/ Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1  HD & Hotstar.

Mumbai City FC is on a hot streak right now and they’ll want to end this fantastic run with a bang. They’ve been extremely dominant at home and will not want to fall to the lacklustre Kerala Blasters as the Islanders will want to play stunning football to get another win to consolidate their playoff chances. Kerala Blasters will probably be happy with any point gained from this fixture, but a win can help win back some of their disappointed fans and rejolt the squad.

Both these sides have won two games apiece in nine meetings, with five being stalemates.

Mumbai City FC will retain their 4-3-3 formation which has been doing wonders for them under Jorge Costa. They’ll probably make a few changes and up the ante to play a more attacking style. Their creative midfielders and lethal strikers could be given more freedom to express themselves and thrill the fans.

Mumbai City FC Vs Kerala Blasters probable lineups

Kerala Blasters will keep playing the 4-1-4-1 formation but hope their bunch can improve their performance level.  The Blasters have some impressive talents in them and hope lady luck can shine brightly on them to help reward them for their hard-work and gain a famous victory before the closure of the half.

Rafael Bastos created many a goal-scoring chance against Bengaluru FC but was unlucky on the day. He looks dangerous as ever and will look to use his clever movement and creativity to trouble the Lions and get on the score-sheet to end a short drought.

Halicharan Narzary will want to prove his prowess before the Asian Cup and performing well against a sturdy Mumbai City defence can do him much good. Narzary’s impressive work-rate and crossing ability are well known, as he’ll look to put in a big effort to win the game for his side.