The most successful coach from the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), Antonio Lopez Habas takes on his Spanish counterpart Gerard Nus, the manager of NorthEast United FC in the Mariners’ first game of 2021. ATK Mohun Bagan have started the year as the table-toppers after a draw in their previous game against Chennaiyin FC and would look to consolidate on that position in this game against NorthEast United FC. Here’s all you need to know about the two clubs.
ATK MOHUN BAGAN
Antonio Lopez Habas would be delighted with how 2020 panned out for him personally as well with his new club ATK Mohun Bagan. Earlier in the year he became the most successful Hero ISL manager with two titles to his name and he wrapped the year up as the table topper with ATK Mohun Bagan.
The Mariners have been resolute while defending and are yet to concede a goal from open play this season. They have juggled between four-at-the-back and three-at-the-back defensive systems. This unpredictability of what system Habas would deploy before a game makes them a very difficult opponent to face.
On the other hand, in attack there’s room for improvement. They haven’t scored the amount of goals they would have wanted so far and this is where the coaching team has the work cut out for them. From the squad only Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh and David Williams have got on the scoresheet in the eight games they have played, so they need others to step up in this department. Prabir Das started the first few games and since they have resorted to a back four, the right wing back has found himself on the bench more often. His crossing ability in the previous Hero ISL season was spot on and he ended the season with the most chances created by a defender. Habas needs to find a way to bring him back in the squad as he helps the team create more quality chances.
The coach has the luxury to pick a starting XI with all his foreign recruits available to him. The system he would deploy against a very compact NorthEast United team will be interesting to witness. The Mariners usually don’t have the majority of the possession in a match as they prefer to hurt the opposing team in transition but this match could be different for them as they will have to take the initiative of breaking the defensive block of a very organised NorthEast United FC.
NORTHEAST UNITED FC
Gerard Nus made history before the season as at 35, he became the youngest ever manager to lead a Hero ISL club. The young Spanish coach has impressed one and all with his ability to set his team up compactly. They have a clear philosophy with how they want to play football and credit needs to be given to Nus for this transformation.
After a very bright start to the season by beating the favourites, Mumbai City FC in their opening game, NorthEast United have fallen off the boil in the previous few games. They are winless in their last four league matches and this is becoming a concern for the club. They have lacked the killer instinct of closing games as most of their matches have ended in a draw so far.
Still, the coaching team is doing a great job with how the squad and the season is shaping up for the team hailing from Guwahati. The match against the Mariners would be a tough test for this young team and one where three points would be the key for both sides.
ATK Mohun Bagan (4-3-3): Arindam Bhattacharja (GK); Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, Subhasish Bose; Carl McHugh, Pronay Halder, Edu Garcia; David Williams, Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh
NorthEast United FC (4-3-3): Gurmeet (GK); Ashutosh Mehta, Dylan Fox, Benjamin Lambot, Gurjinder Kumar; Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai; Luis Machado, Kwesi Appaih, Ninthoinganba Meetei
Antonio Lopez Habas wasn’t happy with how the previous game against Chennaiyin FC shaped up for his team. If it wasn’t for Arindam Bhattacharja in goal the result could have been slightly different. After the game he said, “We lost too many balls by clearances. Moreover, there were too many fouls against us which stopped our progress and made it difficult to play.” With the way NorthEast United have played so far in the league expect them to cause similar problems to the Mariners in this encounter.
WHERE TO WATCH ATK MOHUN BAGAN vs NORTHEAST UNITED FC
The match between ATK Mohun Bagan against NorthEast United FC will be broadcasted in India from 7:30 PM IST in Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 Hindi, and their respective HD TV channels. You can also live stream the match on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV.
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