Fixtures between Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters have witnessed only four goals: the lowest aggregate in any fixture between two sides in the history of ISL. Both Kerala and Mumbai have conceded the fewest goals (8) this season, and given that Mumbai have scored only two goals at home – the lowest by a home team in ISL 2016 – the absence of goals from some of Mumbai City’s big name players was uppermost on the mind of coach Alexandre Guimaraes.
“In football, you must have confidence in your players at all times. We have top quality players in all departments. Up front, we have all very good high-quality players. It’s a matter of patience. It happens in football. The main thing for these players is that they have chances. I know sooner than later they will convert more than what they have been doing,” said Guimaraes.
Mumbai City FC, second on the table with 16 points, have scored only three goals in the last six matches and drawn a blank in the last two games against FC Pune City, which they lost at home, and FC Goa, which they managed to draw in Goa.
Mumbai have managed to win only one out of their four home matches this season: they won their first home game against NorthEast United FC but have since struggled to show the same form at home, winning just four points from a possible 12.
Now placed third with 15 points from 10 matches, Kerala Blasters have had a sudden change in fortunes after recording two back-to-back victories at home against FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC. The man who sparked the turnaround is striker CK Vineeth, who has scored in both the games since joining the club from Bengaluru FC.
“Vineeth's impact has been substantial,” admitted coach Steve Coppell. Vineeth has played just 112 minutes so far and scored the winner against FC Goa after coming off the bench and then scored a brace against Chennaiyin FC during his first start. In a wasteful Kerala forward line, Vineeth’s accuracy has been refreshing as his five shots so far have all been on target.
Coppell, however, will need an all-round contribution from his team to weather the Mumbai challenge, especially at this stage of the league where every team will put in those extra efforts to qualify for the play-offs.
“Every game for every team is crucial now. Every team is still capable of being in the play-off. We are playing against a very good team. They have invested a lot in their team and have some super players. We know we have to play well to get something out of this game. Three points are vital for every game,” said Coppell.
“The premium now at the end of the league is on winning games. I think teams will adjust their styles. In the first two-thirds, the emphasis were on not getting beaten, now the emphasis for every team has to be a win. Three points makes such a difference. Maybe the remaining games of the season will be a little bit more open,” said the Kerala Blasters manager.
Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters Prediction
Kerala Blasters should edge this one given the good form they are in and Mumbai City woes at home. We predict a 2-1 win for the Blasters.
Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters Live Stream Info
The game can be watched live on the Hotstar App.