Atletico de Kolkata: Best starting XI
With the third edition of the Indian Super League just days away (the tournament kicks off on 1 October) we turn our attention to Atletico de Kolkata and the best playing XI the inaugural champions can field once the season starts. After winning it all in the first season, ATK made the semi-finals last season. This year, fans of the Kolkata team will be hoping their feat from the inaugural season can be repeated.
With the marquee player from last season, Helder Postiga, back in the team, Kolkata already look like they might be off to a great start. If the ISL trophy is the end-game for the Kolkata team, as it should be, here’s the best XI they should start with and stick to as far as possible.
Goalkeeper – Debjit Majumder
In July, Atletico de Kolkata confirmed Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Majumder was joining the Kolkata side on loan for the 2016 edition of the ISL. Majumder’s defining moments came during the 2014-15 I-League season when six clean sheets in 14 games got him the Goalkeeper of the Year award. An athletic shot-stopper who has quite the talent for making diving acrobatic saves, Majumdar also garnered a call to the national set-up earlier this year for his performances.
Here’s hoping he can keep some clean sheets for ATK too.
Right Back – Pritam Kotal
Mohun Bagan defender Pritam Kotal is Atletico de Kolkata’s best option in the right back position. Not only is he a solid presence in the back line but can be dangerous when he is on the offensive too. After spending the last two ISL seasons with FC Pune City, Kotal will be looking to make a positive impact on the team and seal his place in the starting line-up.
Centre Back – Arnab Mondal
Arnab Mondal has remained a fixture in the Kolkata team’s line-up since the first season of ISL in 2014. Probably one of the best defenders in the country, Mondal should continue to be the mainstay of the team’s back line in the upcoming edition of the tournament. The management’s faith in his abilities is evident from the fact that he is the only Indian defender to be retained by the club.
Centre Back – Ofentse Nato
Ofentse Nato has been an important player for ATK since the first season of ISL in 2014. While his partnership with Spanish midfielder Borja has been very successful for the team – winners of ISL in 2014 and a semi-final berth last year, the Botswana international might be deployed as a centre-back this time, opening up room for other players to take up the midfield position. His sound defensive ability makes him a reliable partner for Arnab in the back line.
Left Back – Jose Luis Espinosa Arroyo ‘Tiri’
As a player of Atletico Madrid’s B team, Arroyo or ‘Tiri’ as he is better known has plenty of experience and training to play in any defensive position. With Nato as centre-back, Tiri is ATK’s best option for the left-back position as well. As a defender, he is full of energy and has an impressive work rate; all the qualitites required for a successful wingback. After 13 appearances for ATK last season, he is sure to be retained in the starting XI.