Kolkata giants SC East Bengal will start their Indian Super League campaign against Jamshedpur FC on the 21st of November at Tilak Maidan, Goa. Both the teams had done quite well in their pre-season friendly matches and look for a good start to the season nagging full points on Sunday. But the latest records favour Red and Gold. As the Red Miners are the only team against whom SCEB remained unbeaten last season. Thus Owen Coyle will look forward to rewriting history this season. Here are the 5 things to expect from the encounter:
Battle of Midfield
Both the teams had got a perfect midfield with a combination of young as well as experienced players. As we all know that midfield is the heart of any team so that we can definitely expect a midfield hustle from both teams. SC East Bengal's Amir Dervisevic will be going to be the main target man in their midfield along with his teammates including Amarjit Singh, Bikash Jairu, and Jackiechand Singh.
Though SC East Bengal had signed 23-year-old defensive midfielder Darren Sideol it will be a tough job for Spanish tactician Manolo Diaz to choose his man for the starting line-up. But as per our observation, Dervisevic will be the man preferred not only for his experience but also for his specialty in set pieces. On other hand, Jamshedpur FC has also signed a few experienced Indian players which include Pronay Halder, Jitendra Singh, Seiminlen Doungel, and young talent like Kamal Thatal.
Improvement in the Indian Squad
Last season SC East Bengal has suffered a lot due to the inconsistency of their Indian Squad. This time the team management had managed to sign a few very talented youngsters like Subho Ghosh, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Naorem Mahesh Singh, and many others. Not only young players they even managed to sign the last season's golden gloves-winning goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya from their arch-rival side ATK Mohun Bagan. The inclusion of experienced defender Adil Khan will surely help them in maintaining a good shape at their defensive line. Wingers like Bikash Jairu, Jackiechand Singh, and Romeo Fernandez will surely add a lot of thrust to their attacking lineup. Whereas on the other hand, highly experienced midfielder Pranay Halder will be a decisive factor for Jamshedpur FC. Pranay Halder along with Jitendra Singh, Ritwik Das, Mobashir Rahman, and Faruq Chowdhury will definitely try to give their 100 % to lead their team towards success.
Daniel Chima may be decisive
The inclusion of Nigerian striker Daniel Chukwu will definitely be a positive factor for SC East Bengal. Last season the absence of any positive goal scorer had made SC East Bengal suffer a lot. But this time the presence of Chima will surely add a lot of thrust to their upfront. This experienced Nigerian goal scorer can be a threat to any opponent's defense. It will be a tough job for the Jamshedpur FC defense to prevent Chima from scoring. The 30-year-old Nigerian had played previously for clubs like Lyn, Molde, Shanghai Shenxin, Legia Warsaw. Last season he had played for Taizhou Yuanda where he had scored 7 goals in his 13 appearances.
Greg Stewart is A man to watch
The signing of this 31 year old forward is probably going to be the best thing for Jamshedpur FC this season. This Scottish forward had played previously for top-rated Scottish clubs Cowdenbeath, Dundee, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, and Rangers as well as for Birmingham City of the English Premier League. Greg Stewart along with the Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis is arguably going to be one of the best forward lines in this season of ISL. Last season Valskis had scored 8 goals in his 18 appearances for Jamshedpur FC. The Lithuanian goal machine along with Greg Stewart by his side can really be a nightmare for the SC East Bengal defense.
Duel of two tacticians
SC East Bengal has signed experienced Spanish tactician Manolo Diaz as their new head coach. The experienced Spaniard had previously managed teams like Real Madrid B, Ponferradina, Navalcarnero, and Hercules. Though he is quite confident with his team the job will not be an easy task for him. Jamshedpur FC retained Owen Coyle for this season also. Comparing both the coaches, both of them are very much experienced but Owen Coyle has a piece of better knowledge about ISL and the standard of Indian football and he will definitely use his experience to go on top in the first encounter with SC East Bengal.
Probable Starting XI
SC East Bengal: Arindam Bhattacharya in goal, Raju Gaikwad, Franjo Price, Tomislav Mrcela, and Hira Mandal at the defense. Amir Dervisevic along with Amarjit Singh or Sourav Das at the midfield with the two wingers most preferably Bikash Jairu and Jackiechand Singh. At the upfront, Daniel Chima will be starting with Balwant Singh or Haokip.
Jamshedpur FC: Rehenesh TP in goal, Boris Singh, Peter Hartley, Narender Gahlot and Ricky Lallawmawma at the defense. Pranay Halder, Jitendra Singh, Alex, and Farukh Chowdhury are in the midfield. At the upfront, Valskis will be starting with Greg Stewart.