ATK Mohun Bagan are flirting with 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 Chennaiyin FC in an all-important clash. 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.
ATK Mohun Bagan have been on a shaky run of form since the beginning of the tournament. Lately, they had a couple of difficult outings against North East United and Odisha FC in two consecutive away games, where they could only pick up a point against Odisha. The defeat to the Highlanders dented their hopes of reaching the playoffs, but they answered with another solid performance.
Dimitri Petratos and Hugo Boumous were on the scoresheet as they defeated FC Goa 2-1 but 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. Although they had a few positive moments in this game defensively, they were not in control of the narrative which left Juan Ferrando disappointed. Mumbai City had a greater control of the ball, as they would hope for in a home fixture, and rode home with a terrific display.
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.
Chennaiyin FC must start winning consistently to keep their hopes alive for the playoffs. The outfit has 16 points from 13 fixtures and a win will keep them on the periphery of the top six places. With no wins in the last four fixtures, the upcoming game will test the club’s resolve while playing in front of their own spectators at home.
The road has not been as smooth and easy in recent games for them and they have really struggled to close fixtures despite being in winning positions on a couple of occasions. Most recently against Hyderabad FC away from home, they had the lead courtesy of a terrific header from Petar Sliskovic but they lost momentum after conceding a penalty, thus settling with just a single point.
This has been a long-running trend for the Marine Machans, who have been playing some poor footballing going up. Their attacking threat did keep defences a little worried in most games but that threat has reduced as their defensive unit is not complimenting them as much. They require a little more clinicality with their finishing to complement their incredible creative talent. The two-time champions have taken their problem of not scoring enough and seem to be on the right track this edition.
It has been over a month since they last registered a victory, but their last win was quite emphatic. They smashed seven goals against NorthEast United in the highest-scoring ISL match of all time, wherein they delivered sensationally up front but also conceded three goals. This has been the pattern that keeps Thomas Bradaric concerned, but they might be taking pleasure out of a fact that they’ve scored in the last six games.
Both these units have played out some memorable encounters in the past and between them, they have more titles than any other two teams put together in the Indian Super League. Although the sides would not be favouring playing as a 4th placed and seventh placed units, this is where they are and the season can only get better, atleast for Chennaiyin.
CNY vs ATKMB Indian Super League 2022/23
Date: January 21, 2023
Time: 7:30 PM IST
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium
Chennaiyin FC league form:
ATK Mohun Bagan league form:
Chennaiyin FC wins: 1
ATK Mohun Bagan wins: 2
ATK Mohun Bagan team news:
The Mariners were dealt with a major blow earlier in the 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 against the Marine Machans. The likes of Boumous can whip in inviting crosses into the box as well as smack some menacing shots on goal.
Chennaiyin FC team news:
Nasser Al Khayati continues to remain on the road to recovery with his hamstring injury for Chennaiyin, who otherwise have a very fit squad heading into this fixture.
The defensive line has not been doing as well as the manager would’ve hoped for, but the likes of Ajit Kumar and Aakash Sangwan have been providing good width as fullbacks. The Chennaiyin attacking strength continues to rely on Anirudh Thapa, who is currently not contributing as much as they would’ve hoped for.
The likes of Jiteshwor Singh and Vincy Barretto will form the attacking triplet alongside the in-form forward Petar Sliskovic, who was on scoresheet when the side last took field against Hyderabad FC.
Chennaiyin FC possible starting lineup:
Samik Mitra (GK), Ajith Kumar, Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Fallou Diagne, Aakash Sangwan, Ninthoi Meetei, Julius Duker, Anirudh Thapa, Jiteshwor Singh, Vincy Barretto, Petar Sliskovic.
ATK Mohun Bagan possible starting lineup:
Vishal Kaith (GK), Asish Rai, Pritam Kotal, Brendan Hamill, Subhasish Bose, Puitea, Carl McHugh, Liston Colaco, Federico Gallego, Ashique Kuruniyan, Hugo Boumous.
Chennaiyin FC will be keen on keeping their attacking tabs on the run, as they have been doing all season. They are an entertaining unit altogether, but the local fans in Chennai will be hoping for a bit more than just end-to-end football, they woul desperately love a win here. They are more than capable of closing the games down by outscoring the opponent, but it seems like the route has not been providing them fruitful results lately.
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 high-flying 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 Chennaiyin 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 Chennaiyin to win 2-1.