Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata will kick-start the football fever again in India with the second season of the hugely successful Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai. Both the teams had a successful campaign last time around, where Atletico de Kolkata are the title holders and Chennaiyin FC topped the table of the inaugural season.
Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata would love to start their campaign with a victory. Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, would love to entertain the home spectators with their attacking style of play and lay down a marker by defeating the champions of last season.
After drawing both the games, both teams are waiting for their first victory against one another. This will be the game between Atletico de Kolkata’s defence versus Chennaiyin FC’s attack. Chennaiyin FC was the best attacking team last season with 1.7 goals per match and Atletico de Kolkata had the best in defence, allowing only 13 goals in 17 matches they played.
Channaiyin FC will obviously have the home advantage as they scored 17 out of their 27 goals at home and have lost only one game at home.
Strength of Chennaiyin FC lies in their attack. They scored the most goals (27) in the inaugural season of Indian Super League. Golden-boot winner, Elano Blumer will lead their attack and will look to combine with Atletico de Kolkata’s top striker, Fikru Lemessa. Brazilian, Bruno Pelissari will look to add more goals this season after having scored four goals last time around.
Atletico de Kolkata
Atletico de Kolkata would be looking to bank on their defence yet again, giving them a platform to go forward. In the 17 games they played, they only conceded 13 goals. The team had 4 players in the list of top 10 defenders in terms of highest number of tackles last season. Spanish defender, José Miguel González Rey will lead the defence along with Indian national team captain, Arnab Mondal. The player with the most tackles in the inaugural season, however, was the dynamic defensive midfielder from Spain, Borja Fernandez who will also add stability to their defence.
With their attacking style of play, Chennaiyin FC conceded the most 24 number of goals last season. Two new goalkeepers Indian Karanjit Singh and Cameroonian Apoula Edel have been brought in to the squad to provide better cover for goal. Chennaiyin FC will also try to tighten their defence this season and ill look to play narrow and compact off the ball. French right back Bernard Mendy and Indian Abhishek Das, who showed their mettle, will look to improve upon their first season performances.
Atletico de Kolkata
Atletico de Kolkata only scored 16 goals in the league-stage last season. After the transfer of their top goal scorer Fikru Lemassa to Chennaiyin, Canadian international Ian Hume has big shoes to fill, who’s been brought in to deliver the goods for Atletico de Kolkata. Hume was the top goal scorer for Kerala Blasters FC in the inaugural season and highly experienced Portuguese international Hélder Postiga takes up the challenge to strengthen their attack.
Players to watch out for:
Elano Blumer – Chennaiyin FC
Elano Blumer is the foreign player to watch out for Chennaiyin FC. Chennaiyin FC wants their Brazilian mid-fielder to continue the form he showed in the inaugural season. A dead-ball specialist, Elano has an exceptional range of passing and the ability to split defences with his vision.
Iain Hume – Atletico de Kolkata
After the departure of Fikru, Canadian striker Iain Hume has taken the responsibility to lead the attack of Atletico de Kolkata. He would like to continue to perform like how he did for Kerala last year. He also has the Portuguese star Helder Postiga to support him in attack.
Balwant Singh – Chennaiyin FC
The 28-year-old Indian forward from Punjab has a very good chance to impress the spectators and carry on from where he left. Although he didn’t score the number of goals a forward is expected to score but his overall gameplay helped Channaiyin FC play eye-catching, fluid football. He was the first Indian player to score in the Indian Super League and will be the Indian player to watch out for Chennaiyin FC.
Arnab Mondal – Atletico de Kolkata
The 25-year-old center-back from Kolkata showed exceptional talent in the defence of Atletico de Kolkata in inaugural season leading him to be made the captain of Indian national team. He is expected to perform at higher standard to prove to the fans that he is worthy of the armband.