League leaders ATK Mohun Bagan FC is all set to face defending champions Mumbai City FC in their match of Indian Super League 2021-22 campaign on Wednesday at the Fatorda Stadium, Goa. The Islanders defeated the Mariners thrice last season and lifted both the League Shield and ISL.
ATK Mohun Bagan started their ISL 2021-22 season with 2 consecutive victories over Kerala Blasters FC and SC East Bengal. On the other hand, Mumbai City FC defeated FC Goa in their season opener but strumbled against Hyderabad FC in the last match. While ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to win their first-ever match against Islanders, Mumbai City FC will be looking 4th consecutive victory against the Green and Maroon brigade. This high voltage clash will be determined by many factors so, therefore, we at The Bridge point out the things that we can expect from this marquee clash.
The battle of spaces
Des Buckingham, Sergio Lobera's successor in Mumbai City FC has chosen a high-risk high reward type of gameplay for the Islanders. He has deploy2ed a unique counter-pressing system which helped them to their first match against Goa with sheer dominance. But in the second match, Mumbai conceded three goals and lost the match against Hyderabad. It is expected that Mumbai will opt for the same strategy in the next match also.
The whole match will depend on how well they press ATK Mohun Bagan. Any kind of mistake while counter-pressing will expose huge spaces behind for the Mariners to exploit and ATK Mohun Bagan who is deadly from the counterattack will thrive.
Antonio Lopez Habas, ISL's one of the most successful is known for his defensive structure. But the Spaniard suffered a setback last time and was criticized for his ultra-defensive style of play. With new foreigners and rejuvenated hope, Habas tweaked his gameplay and opted for a more attacking brand of gameplay.
With Hugo Boumous and Jani Kauko's on-the-ball abilities, they have started to hold the ball more and wait for the right opportunities. If Mumba can nullify the midfield duo of ATK Mohun Bagan, they will find between the lines spaces to exploit.
A busy night for the goalkeepers
After lifting the shield and the cup, Amrinder left Mumbai City FC this season and joined ATK Mohun Bagan on a free transfer. To replace the Amrinder, Mumbai brought in Mohammad Nawaz. With both the team aiming for victory and deploying an attacking game style, there will be lots of pressure on the custodians. Both teams possess great attacking prowess and creativity in the midfield.
They are expected to face a lot of shots and occasionally bail their team out. Any mistakes from keepers will be huge as Roy Krishna and Igor Angulo will be ready to pounce upon. This will be a night where we can see a goalkeeper running away with a hero of the match title.
Jahouh's role will be crucial
Mumbai City FC's Ahmed Jahouh is regarded as the best No.6 player in the league. His ability to break up the plays and then distribute the ball with his range of passing is sometimes unmatchable. The Moroccan can also break the lines with his through balls and set up his striker easily.
His long rangers from the outside of the box will also be a threat for the ATK Mohun Bagan side. He will be the key man for the Islanders and will be pulling the strings from the midfield. If Mumbai wants to stop the star-studded ATK Mohun Bagan, Ahmed Jahouh will have to be at his level best.
Boumous to play against his former team
Hugo Boumous, the heart of ATK Mohun Bagan's midfield will be facing his former side Mumbai City FC for the first time since his record-breaking transfer. In the last two matches, Boumous scored two goals and was involved in every goal the Green and Maroon brigade scored. In both the matches he broke the lines too easily and created chances for the Mariners. Habas will once again put his faith in his most creative player. Boumous' on-the-ball traits will be very crucial for ATK Mohun Bagan to break the counter-press of the Mumbai team.
A dual between the strikers
Igor Angulo and Roy Krishna, the two best strikers of last season's Indian Super League will be seen going against each other. Both Igor and Krishna have scored two goals in the last two matches and will lead the lines of their respective teams. While the Fijian has a better record against Igor, Angulo will look to settle the score this time.