ATK Mohun Bagan are playing a few risky games and jeopardising their top four position with a few shaky performances at the top and now, they find themselves in a difficult position before heading down south to face Odisha FC in an all-important clash. They have already fallen out of the top four positions, although momentarily, but this will ring the alarm bells significantly for the side.
The business end of the tournament is nearing in the Indian Super League 2022-23, with Mumbai City and Hyderabad FC well clear of the rest in the title chase. But the third and fourth positions are still up for grabs. With all the glory and might that ATK Mohun Bagan carry, with respect to all their history in Indian football or since the inception of ISL itself, you expect the franchise to make a stunning comeback.
ATK Mohun Bagan have been on a bumpy run of form since the beginning of the tournament and that trend has continued until their most recent clash. Lately, they had a couple of difficult outings against Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC in two consecutive away games, where they could only pick up a point against Odisha. They also have shown some signs of coming back from the dead this season. After a disappointing defeat to North East United that dented their hopes of reaching the playoffs, they answered with another solid performance against FC Goa.
Dimitri Petratos and Hugo Boumous were on the scoresheet as they defeated the Goans 2-1. But again, they were left a little flat-footed again when they came up against Mumbai City at home, losing out to a solo goal from Lallianzuala Chhangte. In their most recent outing against Chennaiyin FC, there were some chances created but not taken properly or there was some very ordinary football that didn’t do the work that ideally should’ve.
They need a run of strong results in the coming weeks before they can really make their mark in the tournament. They also have the AFC Cup aspirations on line and a defeat or draw could end that in this tie.
Odisha FC are just one position below ATK Mohun Bagan in the points table and must start winning consistently to keep their hopes alive for the playoffs. The outfit has 22 points from 14 fixtures and a win against fellow playoff contenders will keep them on the periphery of the top four places.
Recent form of Odisha FC, who started with a bang in the tournament, has been incredibly mediocre, that left them stranded way below in the points table despite being considered one of the title favourties at one stage. In their last six matches, they won just a single match (against East Bengal) but lost four games and picked up a draw (against ATK Mohun Bagan in the reverse fixture) in the other five matches.
Josep Gombau and his troops are trying their best to rally around and buckle up on the pitch and despite their best efforts in a few periods of the match, they are letting important moments slide by and oppositions have been quite clinical against them, quite unfortunately for the Spanish coach. Before losing to FC Goa 3-0 on December 10, they were on a roll, winning five of the six games prior to the said fixture.
However, their lack of clinicality in front of the goal has been more than palpable in recent matches, most recently against Bengaluru FC. Rohit Kumar and Roy Krishna breezed past their defence in the first half of the match, before Diego Mauricio pulled one back through a penalty. However, an injury time goal from Pablo Perez helped Bengaluru regain the two-goal cushion and added further misery to the team.
Both Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC have ridden their highs and stooped to lows, but it is the Kolkata-based unit that has been more unpredictable than Odisha. The trend has been going downward for the side and as irreprievable as it looks, we have seen far bigger and better comebacks pulled off with great ease in the ISL and one cannot count the team off with over seven matches remaining.
ATKMB vs ODI Indian Super League 2022/23
Date: January 28, 2023
Time: 7:30 PM IST
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium
ATK Mohun Bagan league form:
Odisha FC league form:
ATK Mohun Bagan wins: 2
Odisha FC wins: 0
ATK Mohun Bagan team news:
ATK Mohun Bagan did not get off to a great start this season when they lost the likes of Joni Kauko and Florentin Pogba to injuries before they could make a mark. In turn, they’ve roped in Federico Gallego and Slavko Damjanovic as replacements. Puitea should also be available in this one despite having a niggle and the duo of Tiri and Avilash Paul are still out.
The Mohun Bagan defence has trusted its Indian core heavily this season and the big presence of Brendan Hamill to go with it. It hasn’t worked the wonders that the manager would’ve appreciated, but they contribute heavily to the attack with their ball-playing ability.
Dimitri Petratos has been a really top notch signing for ATK Mohun Bagan, being an unpredictable clog in their frontline. But Australian forward has scored five goals and provided six assists for them so far is likely to miss this fixture.
They however have the clever ball-playing skills of Federico Gallego with the pace of Lenny Rodrigues, Liston Colaco has produced some terrific results in the tournament. The likes of Boumous can whip in inviting crosses into the box as well as smack some menacing shots on goal.
Odisha FC team news:
The defensive back four has kept chopping and changing in recent days and that perhaps has led to the inconsistency that Odisha FC have displayed in the tournament lately. The disappointing news for the head coach will be that Michael Soosairaj and Shubham Sarangi won’t be available for selection. However Isak Vanruatfela has joined training and apparently might make an appearance off the bench.
Their strength lies in their midfield duo of Raynier Fernandes and Jerry Mawihmingthanga who were a pillar to their attacking force early on in the tournament. However, with the team conceding goals regularly, the side has lost moentum as well and both these players have not been at their best ever since.
Odisha FC’s latest signing Aniket Jadhav will be on the bench and might make an appearance towards the end. The winger who made his way from East Bengal was left harddone by the lack of opportunities he was receiving at his former club and could be a colossal force alongside Diego Mauricio, who is one of the leading goal-scorers in the tournament with eight goals in five matches.
ATK Mohun Bagan possible starting lineup:
Vishal Kaith (GK), Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Brendan Hamill, Subhasish Bose, Puitea, Glan Martins, Liston Colaco, Federico Gallego, Hugo Boumous, Dimitri Petratos.
Odisha FC possible starting lineup:
Amrinder Singh (GK), Narender Gahlot, Osama Malik, Carlos Delgado, Denechandra Meitei, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Singh, Raynier Fernandes, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Diego Mauricio, Nandhakumar Sekar.
For Mohun Bagan, Petrotas’ absence is a massive blow but they do have decent backups. They will be aware of the fact that chances will be available on the break against this underperforming Chennaiyin team. Juan Fernando will be keen on seeing his side score a few goals in this game as they have the worst scoring record among the top six, with just 17 strikes going forward.
Defensive resilience has kept them alive in multiple games, which may not rescue them in this fixture, especially away from home. The Odisha unit will be boosted to play in front of the fans and that will be an added source of energy for their attacking department. Our prediction is for Mohun Bagan to win 2-1.