The last match saw Chennaiyin FC taking over the top spot from Atletico De Kolkata through what was a very accomplished and impressive display. They took hits during the match in the form of injuries to 3 of their key players but still managed to come out on top basically because of Stiven Mendoza.
However, today will put Atletico De Kolkata in the spotlight as they take on Kerala Blasters FC away from home. This will be first proper test of Kolkata’s character because they’ve never been in this situation in the Indian Super League before.
Numerically, the situation cannot be any simpler for them, though. They need a win to take the top spot and hope that Chennaiyin FC don’t win their next match. There may be a good chance of Chennaiyin FC stumbling in their next match especially since they may be without Elano, Materazzi, Silvestre, and some key central defenders.
On the other end of the ring is Kerala Blasters FC who can reduce the deficit in points between them and Atletico De Kolkata with a win at home to a single point. Both teams’ management are aware that they don’t need to do anything different from how they’ve been going about their matches and comments from both managers depict them succinctly.
David James, Kerala Blaster FC’s ISL marquee player, keeper, and head coach all rolled into one, is trying to leverage the fact that his team is playing at home by saying that they have the ‘best fans in India’. Habas the Henchman, who has done a wonderful job with his Spanish flavour imbued team, also explained that his team will simply continue playing the way they’ve been playing.
I believe that this match is there for Atletico De Kolkata to lose or win, depending on their performance. I am not really selling Kerala Blasters FC short but the fact that their ISL marquee player is their keeper shows that the best he can do is earn a draw for his team. He will need to rely on players like Penn Orji and Ian Hume to do the deed for his team at the other end of the pitch for them to have any hope of coming close to Kolkata in the table. They could cause an upset here particularly because they are on a 4 match unbeaten run.
For Kolkata, the most important thing is to get their ISL marquee player going. Luis Garcia’s performances have been underwhelming in the last few games to say the least. If he steps up and takes the game by the scruff of its neck then there’s no reason why his team can’t actually end Kerala Blaster FC’s unbeaten streak to take the valuable 3 points from this game.
It’s safe to predict draws in ISL but instead of sitting on the fence*, I’ll stick my neck out and pip Atletico De Kolkata to snatch back the top spot from Chennaiyin FC. Besides, if they win and a constant exchange of the top spot ensues, it’ll only benefit the league and keep us fans entertained. So, come on Kolkata! ADK! ADK! And other cheerleading nonsense full with non-catchy acronyms…
*Draws have the most probability in this league so if it ends up not being a draw then understand that I chose to ignore that option in my projections.