Mohun Bagan were superb in the opening stages of this Indian Super League season, winning the opening three games. But they have dropped seven points in their last five games.
The Kolkata giants drew 0-0 in their last game against Chennaiyin FC. They currently sit at second place with 17 points after eight games, two points behind Mumbai City FC.
Mariners’ head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was disappointed after the match but stated that he was happy to go top of the table before the new year.
“I am disappointed because if it is not possible to win, then we should have lost. It was not a good match.– Habas after the Chennaiyin game
NorthEast United also started their season pretty well. They were undefeated after six games before Jamshedpur FC beat them 1-0 in December.
The Highlanders, like their opponents, drew their last game against Odisha FC but the score was 2-2. They currently sit at sixth place and hope to get into top three with a victory on Sunday.
However, their head coach Gerard Nus was unhappy with the result. He said after the match that they deserved the three points.
“I think we deserved the three points. I think we had a really great performance with the ball.-Nus after the Odisha game
ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United FC Preview:
The Mariners played out a 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin in their last game. The game was exciting, but both teams failed to convert their chances. Mohun Bagan had only one shot on target all game and it was a long-range shot from outside the box. Their goalkeeper Arindam had a great game and made many crucial saves in the game.
NorthEast played exciting football all season and collected praise. Nus’s side drew 2-2 against a struggling Odisha FC last time. But, they scored ten goals already in the league, but their attacking intent is what makes them special. Idrissa Sylla has been brilliant this season and is their main man to get goals.
Now, Habas has some worrying signs in his side despite being the least-conceding team in the league. His side has scored only 8 goals in 8 games. Roy Krishna scored five of them but he didn’t find the net in the last game.
“Roy Krishna can score goals but more important is their attitude and overall performance
I have to analyze the performance of the whole team and not just Roy Krishna in the last matches.”– Habas ahead of the match on Sunday
Meanwhile, Nus also has some problems to address. His side is winless in their last four games collecting only three points. They look to turn things around by a win on Sunday.
Nus praised Bagan and said it will be very tough for his side to come out with all three points.
“Regarding tomorrow’s game, we know that it is going to be very tough. They are one of the hardest teams to play against, no doubt about it,”
“They retained many players that they got in the squad and that obviously helps in a short league like this.”– Nus ahead of the game
ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United Team News:
The Kolkata giants will miss long-term absentee Michael Soosairaj. Apart from that, Habas has no major injury-related issue in his side. He played a back five against Chennai with McHugh shifting to defence.
He may repeat this 5-4-1 formation on Sunday with Krishna upfront. The defence including Tiri, Pritam and Sandesh has conceded 3 goals this season, with none from open play. Arindam has six clean-sheets, the most this season. But their attack needs more flair. The likes of Williams, Edu Garcia need to step up in this scenario.
NorthEast also had glimpses of problems in their attack. They registered only 3 shots on target in the previous two games before hitting 6 on target in the last match. Idrissa Sylla is their main threat. Machado has also shined this season. Moreover, Nus has an exciting option in young Ninthoinganba Meetei.
They are likely to play in a 4-3-3 formation. Their midfielders Lalengmawia and Khassa Camara are in great form but they need more from Federico Gallego.
Predicted Line-ups and Score:
ATKMB(5-4-1): GK: Arindam Bhattacharya; DF: Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, McHugh, Tiri, Subhashish Bose; MF: Manvir Singh, Pronay Halder, Edu Garcia, David Williams; FW: Roy Krishna.
NEUFC(4-3-3): GK: Gurmeet; DF: Ashutosh Mehta, Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar; MF: Lalrempuia, Lalengmawia, Gallego; FW: Suhair Vadakkepeedika, Idrissa Sylla, Luis Machado.
ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1 NorthEast United FC
It will certainly be a thrilling game. Both sides are from Eastern India and will give their all to win the game and start the new year on a high.