Kolkata football giants Kingfisher East Bengal have had their worst possible start in I-League in the past 3 years. The Red and Gold brigade have gathered 11 points from 8 games, with 3 Wins, 3 defeats and 2 draws. Although this season’s I-League has already seen many ups and downs in the league table, East Bengal can yet again lose out an opportunity to bag the title if their present condition does not improve.
Here are the five major reasons for East Bengal’s poor start to this season.
Over the past 3 years, East Bengal’s defense has been praised thoroughly for their excellent performance. They were the best in India. But from the beginning of this season, the same names have failed to deliver as per their reputation. The back four, Naoba Singh, Arnab Mondal, Uga Okpara and Saumik Dey are all out form and are performing miserably. The team has already conceded 10 goals in 8 matches. Naoba specially has been heavily criticized due to his terrible form.
One of the best foreign defenders to have ever played in India, Uga Okpara too has made crucial blunders in quite a few games, which has proved costly to the team. India international Arnab Mondal looked totally out of form and lacked pace. In the last match against Mumbai FC, 37-year-old Yusif Yakubu went past the young center back with ease and scored a goal.
Lack of balance in midfield
The only prominent midfielder for East Bengal has been their old warhorse, Mehtab Hossain. Other than the captain, all the other midfielders have lacked consistency. Last season’s star midfielder, Harmanjot Singh Khabra has still not recovered fully from his injury and has shown a lack of form. Cavin Lobo, who is predominantly an attacking midfielder, is playing in the central midfield position which has affected his performance.
Going by personnel, 4-1-3-2 formation suits best for East Bengal like it did under Trevor James Morgan. But both Falopa and now Colaco have failed to get the balance right in midfield hence when the team lose possession they look vulnerable while defending as fullbacks are often caught up field. Hence back four doesn’t get the protection it needs. Lalrindika Ralte hasn’t performed in I-league barring the derby. Because of his derby winner, expectations will rise and at a young age he might be feeling the pressure.