Defending champions Mumbai City FC will face Kerala Blasters in the 35th match of the eighth season of the Indian Super League. Mumbai City FC are currently at the top of the table with 15 points from 6 matches whereas Kerala Blasters are now 8th with 6 points from 5 matches. Here are five things to expect from the upcoming fixture between Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters.
Time to continue the unbeaten run
Des Buckingham and his men are having a great time in the Indian Super League so far. Mumbai City FC are currently unbeaten in their last four games. Their only defeat this season was against Hyderabad FC in their second match. Since then, the Islanders have not stopped winning games.
Kerala Blasters are hungry for their second win of this season. Their only victory was against Odisha FC. Even though they have only won a game once, they are also unbeaten in their previous four games. Their only defeat this season was against ATK Mohun Bagan in the season opener. It will be a great battle on the field by both sides to maintain their unbeaten run.
Trouble at the back
The 31-year-old Bosnian centre back Enes Sipović is injured and will not be available for the match against the Islanders. Ivan Vukomanović might have to go for an Indian centre back with the Croatian centre back Marko Lešković. This can be a great advantage for Mumbai City FC.
Like last time when KBFC started with an Indian centre back along with Lešković, they had some communication problems and the understanding between both of them was poor. If the Islanders can capitalize on this advantage, there is a higher probability of Mumbai City FC adding some more goals to the 17 goals that they have already scored this season.
The Midfield Magicians
The Islanders and the Blasters have a good set of players in the midfield. But the key match-up on the pitch will be between Ahmed Jahouh and Adrian Luna. Both are very creative midfielders with high work rates. They have great vision and passing skills which makes their passes rarely miss their targets. Jahouh plays a more defensive role whereas Luna is more attack-minded.
Jahouh has a pivotal role in Mumbai City FC's midfield just like Luna for Kerala Blasters. Jahouh with his vision and passing finds teammates easily. Luna has the ability to dribble past opponents and create chances for his team. The Uruguayan will be also playing against his former coach Des Buckingham who was the assistant coach of Melbourne City FC in the A-League where Luna played for the past two years.
Both the teams have good attacking players who can bag some goals. Mumbai City FC has scored a total of 17 goals and Kerala Blasters have scored a total of 6 goals so far in this season. The lack of goals is haunting the Blasters and they will be looking forward to scoring more goals and converting those goals into a win against Mumbai City FC. But the lack of goals doesn't make Kerala Blasters a weak side upfront. Kerala Blasters have created 7 big chances this season and are level at second place with Mumbai City FC and Jamshedpur FC on creating big chances.
Angulo vs Álvaro
Both Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters FC have two Spanish strikers up front, who are hungry for goals. The 37-year-old Spanish striker, Igor Angulo was the top goal scorer of last season with 14 goals from 21 matches. The Spaniard didn't forget to bring his shooting boots to Mumbai and has already scored 5 goals from 6 matches.
Whereas his 30-year-old fellow countrymen Alvarao Vazquez who plays for the opposition has already opened his account in the ISL with 2 goals from 5 matches. Vázquez is on a hot form and will be looking forward to scoring his third goal for the Blasters.
MCFC (4-2-3-1): Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Mandar Rao Desai, Rahul Bheke, Mourtada Fall (C), Amey Ranawade, Ahmed Jahouh, Apuia, Bipin Singh, Cássio Gabriel, Reynier Fernandes, Igor Angulo
KBFC (4-1-2-1-2): Prabhsukhan Gill (GK), Jessel Carneiro (C), Abdul Hakku, Marko Lešković, Harmanjot Khabra, Jeakson Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, Vincy Barretto, Adrian Luna, Álvaro Vázquez, Jorge Pereyra Díaz