The Gaurs vs. ATK Preview

ATK’s Don’t-Lose-First Strategy vs. Goa’s Must-Win Scenario

ATK will travel to the desperate The Gaurs’ home ground in Fatorda, Goa. The objective of ATK will most probably be to continue their don’t-lose-first strategy while the home side will be facing a must-win scenario and will look to take the game to the physical ATK players.

The Gaurs’ Form & Strategy

joffre-fc-goaFC Goa’s position in the Indian Super League is dire. They sit at the bottom of the table, four points off the last semi-final berth with only three games left to play. The Gaur’s situation is even more depressing because even 9 points from the last 9 points may not be enough to save them.

It will be tall order for The Gaurs because they have the least wins and most losses in the league. To win, they’ll have to score more than their opponents. This will be a big problem because The Gaurs happen to be the lowest scoring team in the league that has conceded the second most number of goals and has the worst GD to boot.

In a nutshell, The Gaurs will have to win their last three games and then hope that favourable results in other games. This basically means as many draws in other matches as possible. Thus, The Gaurs will have to go on the offensive and play gung-ho football in their last three games.

They may get a boost in the form of the return of Joffre Mateu Gonzalez, their most creative and dynamic midfielder. Defensively, the boost will come in the form of Lucio’s return, their internationally renowned Brazilian defender.

ATK’s Form & Strategy

sergio-molina-atkOn the other side, the biggest challenge for ATK and their manager, Sergio Molina, will be fitness. Apart from having played their last game four days ago, the Indian Rojiblancos will also have to travel to Goa. This will tell by the latter part of this game.

Luckily, ATK’s don’t-lose-first strategy may serve them well here. We expect them to be compact in this game because that is the best way for them to conserve their energy. If they take the lead through a counter, we expect them to get even more defensive.

In fact, we expect ATK to go for an away draw in this game even though they’ll have attacking options in the form of the Portuguese icon Helder Postiga and the Canadian star, Iain Hume who is important because he is the league’s leading goal scorer with 5 goals. Hume didn’t play their last game due to a minor fitness issue. So, he will be more rested than his teammates.

Will Desperation Win Or Tactics Prevail?

In this game, the most crucial element for either team will be fitness. FC Goa players will be rested since they played their last game eight days ago. Contrast this with the fact that ATK played their last game four days ago and it becomes evident why it’s crucial.

The game will see FC Goa attacking with gusto and ATK defending with determination. ATK will, however, try to squeeze in some counters into the mix. We expect the aforementioned difference in fitness levels to tell sooner or later. But, we also expect Hume to make a difference in this game with an assist or a goal. So, our prediction is a 2 – 1 win for The Gaurs.



ATK vs. NEUTD Preview

Passers or the Pressers in East Indian Derby?

Atletico De Kolkata welcome NorthEast United FC to the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata in what will prove to be a clash of two footballing philosophies – the visitors’ passing game and the hosts’ pressing game. The last time these two teams met, ATK took the game despite NEUTD being at home. It will also be interesting to see how each team copes since both of them dominated their last games only to drop points in the end.

ATK’s Form & Strategy

sameehg-doutie-atkFor the Indian Rojiblancos (something they’re called due to their affiliation with Atletico de Madrid), motivation can be had through the prospect of doing a double in the East Indian derby. Probably more important will be the chance to climb the table up to the second spot.

ATK’s campaign so far in the season has been chequered at best. They’ve had wins, draws, and losses spread across the entire campaign which means they there isn’t any clear form to fall back to while analysing their chances in the game. At the same time, their style of play in the league is very clear.

They approach games with a blend of strategy and technicality. In other words, they change their style to counter their opponents. What this means is that the chances of ATK getting some kind of a result from their games are always high.

Typically, against NEUTD, ATK can be expected to deploy the high press. High pressing strategies usually lead to lots of fouls. ATK, as a team, fouls the most in the league too. Obviously, this means that they’re card friendly (most carded team in the league). So, it wouldn’t be a bad bet to put down some money on at least one of their players getting carded.

ATK’s chances this time have taken a hit due to the absence of Sameehg Doutie, one of their most dynamic attackers. Still, they do have their marquee striker in Helder Postiga and the consistent Iain Hume to rely on.

NEUTD’s Form & Strategy

emiliano-alfaro-neutdFor NEUTD, stopping these players will be crucial since either of them is capable of domination and scoring goals. Their motivation will come from the fact that they’re bottom of the table and without a win in five games. In fact, they’ve lost their last four games.

One of the reasons for NEUTD’s poor performance is the fact that they’ve been unable to score goals. They’re actually the team with the fewest goals in the league to their name. In contrast, their primary striker, Emiliano Alfaro, is the leading goal scorer in the Indian Super League with 5 goals to his name.

This shows that Alfaro isn’t getting enough support from his teammates. It also shows how important Alfaro is to NEUTD. Notably, he was absent for two of their last four games, something that may have contributed to their four losses.

NEUTD are the exact opposite of ATK in that they have fouled the least in the whole league. This is mainly because NEUTD players don’t tackle which is evident in the fact that they have the lowest tackles in the league. Instead, their defensive tactics revolve around interceptions and unforced errors from the opponents.

Will it be the Tingmo or the Patishapta?

Even though NEUTD play football the “right way” and as much as the neutrals may want them to win, we don’t see them turning ATK over today. Their plays just don’t have enough quality and ATK are far too strategic to allow something like that to happen through only teamwork.

ATK’s high press will be a bit too much for NEUTD’s passing game even if the NorthEast United FC players can keep up with Atletico De Kolkata players’ stamina levels. Essentially, we’re predicting a slim win for ATK because they have more quality in their team. So, you can expect a score of either 1-0 or 2-1 in favour of ATK.



The Gaurs vs. MCFC Preview

Cellar Dwellers Hope for a Win in the Maharashtra Derby

Mumbai City FC will travel to The Gaurs’ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa in the hopes of avenging their defeat in the return leg held earlier in the season. The game will be notable because it is important to both the teams for opposite reasons. For MCFC, this game is important because a win will see them claim the top spot of the Indian Super League table, albeit temporarily. On the other end, a win for FC Goa is important because it will see them climb off the bottom of the table.

The Gaurs’ Strategy and Form

the-gaurs-robin-singhThe Gaurs are coming into this game after a very heartening win. In their last game against NorthEast United FC, they clinched a stoppage time winner, despite being one man down. That win is sure to give The Gaurs a very important shot in the arm considering the circumstances in which it came.

Even with that win and the morale boost it may bring, FC Goa may not be able to stop the rot. They’ve been languishing at the bottom of the table and are barely keeping their hopes of a 2016 semi-final spot alive. Statistics clearly reveal that The Gaurs have been hanging by the skin of their teeth.

This is a team that has conceded the most goals in the league (14) and has scored the second fewest goals (8). This gives FC Goa the worst goal difference of -6 in the league. A more revelatory fact is that The Gaurs have racked up most losses in the league (6 of 10).

The Gaurs’ hopes will rest on slight advantages. In fact, it will be all about psychology for FC Goa. Robin Singh, their current striker, scored his first goal in the last game while Romeo Fernandes, who is possibly their most creative force, has only started showing flashes of brilliance now. More crucially, their first win of the season came against MCFC, something that Zico, their manager, is sure to remind them in his pre-match team talk.

MCFC’s Strategy and Form

mcfc-sunil-chhetriZico’s counterpart, Alexandre Guimares will try very hard to undersell that loss to his players. To be honest, it shouldn’t be all that hard for Mumbai City FC to do that. They’ve been playing fairly well and now have all their key players available. Moreover, even though they lost their last game, it was in controversial fashion. In essence, their last game’s loss was undeserved.

In fact, there’s a lot for MCFC players to play for in this game. A win will take them top of the table. They can actually avenge their unlikely defeat at the hands of The Gaurs, earlier in the season. The best bit is that they’re playing a Goa team that has been struggling all season long for form.

MCFC even has incredibly creative, effective, and exciting players. In their last game, they started extremely creative and dynamic players such as Diego Forlan (their marquee), Matias Defederico (a very versatile and dangerous attacker), Leo Costa (another creative force), and Sunil Chhetri (the iconic Indian national striker). This list doesn’t even include the leading assister in the league, Sony Norde. Norde has 4 assists in the league.

Such is the riches available to Guimares that he chose to not start Norde in their last game. Any of these five players is capable of dismantling any ISL team singlehandedly and each of them is in good form.

Which Way Will the Surf Flow in the Maharashtrian Beach Derby

So, don’t be surprised if all media outlets and football experts in the world peg MCFC for a win over The Gaurs. That’s what we’re doing too. We predict a win for MCFC with a two-goal margin simply because their attacking combos are scary and The Gaurs’ defence is leaky. If you’re looking for a score line, go for either a 3-1 or 2-0 for Mumbai City FC. We also predict a start for Sony Norde and expect him to serve up another assist or goal in this game.