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ISL: How could ATK Mohun Bagan line-up in the upcoming ISL 2021-22 season

ATK Mohun Bagan, now a combination of new and old faces, will be taking the field on 19th November, 2021. Before that let's predict how the Mariners may line-up in the season.

ISL: How could ATK Mohun Bagan line-up in the upcoming ISL 2021-22 season

ATK Mohun Bagan training during the AFC Cup. (Source: ATK Mohun Bagan Media)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 21 Oct 2021 1:30 PM GMT

ATK Mohun Bagan have built a formidable side that can go all the way with the two trophies this season. The quality of footballers in every part of the field is unquestionable and their gaffer, Antonio Lopez Habas' tactical genius is applaudable. The man has two Indian Super League titles in his pockets and it is for sure that he'll give his best for the third this time around. In this article, we'll discuss and try to predict the formation(s) in which Habas use to get the best out of his players and go all the way to win the tournament.

Habas has shifted his formations from the first to the last season in the ISL, he started with a 4-2-3-1 and goes with a 3-5-2, where wingback plays an important role in attack as well as defense.

1) 3-5-2 (The tried and tested)

The 3-5-2 formation is an ideal one for Antonio Lopez Habas, who prefers it a lot. In this formation, he is expected to start with Amrinder Singh in goal. The defensive third may comprise Subhasish Bose as the left center-back, Pritam Kotal as the right center-back, and Tiri playing as the sweeper between them. Operating in the flanks as the two wing-backs would be Liston Colaco (or Michael Soosairaj) and Manvir Singh. In the middle of the park, Habas would field three reliable custodians in the form of Deepak Tangri, Lenny Rodrigues and Joni Kauko. In front of the midfield area, Hugo Boumous is expected to operate as a number 10. Roy Krishna will be the out and out number nine, who will be the marksman in front of the goal.

The squad depth of the team enables the club to have multiple people at the same positions, David Williams can replace Hugo behind Roy or can shift to the left, McHugh can replace Joni Kauko or Tiri depending on the need of the hour. This formation has seen Habas win titles, and get the results he wants to go on top, and we feel this will be his first choice formation.

While defending, there might be a transition from a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-1-2 to a 5-3-2 or a 5-4-1. In case they play a 5-3-2, the wing-backs Manvir Singh and Liston Colaco will fall back and help in the defensive third. A 3-5-2 can help the club get the defensive shield they want, while also helping them attack centrally and through the wings with Roy Krishna being the target man.

2) 5-3-2

Keeping in mind the defensive mindset of Antonio Lopez Habas, here is an ultra-defensive formation which he may use, if not at the beginning of the match then surely when his team is under pressure. In this formation, Amrinder Singh will be starting as the goalkeeper. The defensive third will comprise Subhasish Bose and Manvir SIngh (or Ashutosh Mehta) as the left-wing-back and the right-wing-back, respectively, alongside Pritam Kotal, Tiri and Sumit Rathi as the centre-backs. The midfield region will consist of Deepak Tangri, Lenny Rodrigues and Joni Kauko. Finally, the attacking third will have Roy Krishna and Hugo Boumous, who will be operating as a number 10. We may see the two wing-backs elevating forward while attacking. Overall, this shape will give the Mariners compactness and make their defence impenetrable.

3) 4-2-3-1

Antonio Lopez Habas' side have already played with four defenders at the back in the AFC Cup. The defense looked a bit scrappy at times, maybe due to the absence of Tiri. But in the Indian Super League, It may so happen that Habas chooses to field a four-man backline. In this formation, Amrinder Singh will be starting again as the goalkeeper. The central defense will comprise of Tiri and Sumit Rathi. The two full-backs may be Pritam Kotal (or Ashutosh Mehta) and Subhasish Bose. Deepak Tangri and Johnny Kauko are expected to start in the center of the park with Tangri falling back and operating as a central-defensive-midfielder and Kauko assisting Boumous in the playmaking part. Manvir Singh and Liston Colaco will play as the two wingers on the right and left flank, respectively, and Hugo Boumous will play just behind Roy Krishna as the number 10, a position the French-Moroccan relishes. While defending, it may so happen that Deepak Tangri joins the defensive third, thus making it a five-man backline. At the same time, Kauko and Boumous may operate as the two central midfielders. Thus the 4-2-3-1 may transit to a 5-4-1. While attacking the team may switch into a 4-2-1-3 formation by elevating the wingers further forward.

This is a formation Habas has implemented in the past at ATK and FC Pune City, and can be used with the squad depth he has. A four-man defense will help Subhashish and Ashutosh Mehta play as RB and LB respectively, and a double pivot of Joni Kauko and Tangri to shield them and supply the ball to Hugo, Liston, Manvir, and Roy.

Like last year ATKMB won't play any friendlies against any team, and last time they surprised everyone with a 3-5-2 formation, so how do you think The Mariners will be lining up this season?

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