The 2020-21 Indian Premier League (ISL) season kicks off at GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa, Friday evening with the Kerala Blasters face off against ATK Mohun Bagan.
For the "guest" team in this first match, this is the beginning of a new chapter, as the offseason saw the merger of the English international champion ATK, defending the English Premier League champions ATK, and defending first league champion Mohun Bagan.
In this unparalleled season, to be played behind closed doors in Goa, the ISL has been raised by the engravings of two giants from Kolkata. Mohun Bagan merged with ATK, while East Bengal was purchased by Shree Cement and relocated to ISL.
This match also has an interesting angle, on Kerala Blasters coach Kibo Vicuna. Last season, Spaniard led Mohun Pagan to win his first I-League title in five years, with a thrilling streak in which he lost just one game.
On the other hand, Sandesh Jhingan, who signed with ATK Mohun Bagan in his off-season, is facing a team that he played for in ISL for five years.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK Mohun Pagan head to head on
This is the first match for ATK Mohun Bagan in its current form and it has been said that previous ATK FC records will not be carried over to this club.
With the core of ATK Mohun Bagan being the same as ATK last year, it will be important to note that they lost their two league matches to Kerala Blasters last season.
On opening day in Kochi, Bartholomew Ojpichi a double gave the Kerala Blasters a 2--1 victory as they won 1-0 at Salt Lake Stadium thanks to a goal from Halicharan Narzari.
Kerala Blasters Team vs ATK Mohun Bagan News
Kerala Blasters is expected to rest four players throughout the season, with Nishu Kumar taking on a new role as right back. Giselle Carneiro has been named one of the team leaders, so he is sure to start as a left-back.
Costa Namueno Baccari will accompany Connie in defense and is expected to protect the four Vicente Gómez at the back, in his role in defensive midfield.
The connection between players such as Sahl Abdul Samad, Facundo Pereira, and Gary Hopper will be key to the Kerala Blasters season, and they will look forward to starting this game right away.
For ATK Mohun Bagan, Antonio Lopez Habas is expected to maintain the order he played last year, with most of the same staff members from the title-winning ATK team.
Terry and Sandesh Jingan will make up three at the bottom alongside Pritam Kotal, with Subhashish Bose and Prabber Das providing a view of the wings.
The strike partnership between David Williams and Roy Krishna caused fear in the other teams last season, and those two teams will be keen to continue this year.
Predicted XI Kerala Blasters vs ATK Mohun Bagan
Kerala Blasters expected an 11th (4-3-3) to be Albino Gomes; Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro; Vicente Gomez, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad; Facundo Pereyra, Rahul KP, Gary Hooper
Predicted Mohun Pagan XI (3-4-1-2 Arindam Bhattacharya; Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri; Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Carl McHugh, Subhasish Bose; Javi Hernandez; David Williams, Roy Krishna
Kerala Blasters vs ATK Mohun Bagan
With the pre-season cut short, it wasn't very easy for Vicuña to train his methods on a new team as well, pretty much. ATK Mohun Bagan has the advantage of continuity in terms of his coach and a large part of his team. Therefore, we are expecting a sailor's narrow victory in this game.