I-League 2017: East Bengal vs Aizawl FC, Predicted Line-ups
The I-League has begun in full swing and it returns to one of its iconic venues, Vivekananda Yuba Bharti Kiranganan in Kolkata after a gap of two years, as Kolkata giants East Bengal begin their campaign against last season’s champions Aizawl FC. The match promises to be a cracker of a game.
East Bengal have been one of the most consistent teams in I-League for the past 7 seasons and have finished as runners-up three times. They are also the only team to feature in every edition of the NFL/I-League since its inception.
Aizawl, on the other hand, had a fairy tale season last time, by being the first North-Eastern team to win the coveted I-League trophy. They were relegated the season before last, but were allowed to participate in the I-League last season, to make up the numbers. This was when they proved everybody wrong and went on to win the league.
Here, we take a look at the prospective lineups for tomorrow game between East Bengal and Aizawl FC
East Bengal have been very busy during the preseason, completely changing the dynamics of the team. With a host of stars of last season, joining the ISL bandwagon and Trevor James Morgan parting ways with the club after failing to deliver the I-League, East Bengal made some wholesome changes to the team set up. They have hired last season’s I League winning coach Khalid Jamil along with 4 of Aizawl’s star players.
East Bengal have also invested heavily on youngsters this season. They have managed to keep hold of star players like Arnab Mondal, Md Rafique, Gurwinder Singh, Cavin Lobo and Nikhil Poojari and have also signed Salam Ranjan Singh, one of India brightest young prospects from Bengaluru FC.
East Bengal have won the Calcutta Football League for the 8th year running, and look to have a fixed playing XI for the season after playing a string of friendlies against ISL teams, where they beat the likes of FC GOA and Jamshedpur FC. They also drew Bengaluru FC and narrowly lost to FC Pune City.
East Bengal will look to play in the 4-2-3-1 formation, with the formation changing to a 4-3-3 on certain situations.
East Bengal Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Mirshad, Salam Ranjan, Eduardo, Arnab, Chullova, Bajo, Amna, Katsumi, Brandon, Laldanmawia, Plaza.
The Champions of last season have been handed in a reality check as their coach and some of their star players have left the club for greener pastures. A host of them have joined their rival’s for tomorrow’s game. With the likes of Mahmoud Amna, Lalram Chullova, Brandon Vanlalremdika, Laldanmawia Ralte all facing their former clubs. It would also be an emotional encounter for Aizawl as they come face to face with Khalid Jamil, the architect of their I-League victory last season.
Aizawl FC have lost a host of their star players to the ISL and to bigger and richer I-League teams, but have roped in some young promising Mizo talents. They didn’t have the best of season’s in the Mizoram Premier League, and finished second in the round robin stages, 5points behind league leaders Chhinga Veng FC. They also drew their first leg semi-final against Mizoram Police FC 2-2.
Aizawl FC are most likely to start in a 4-4-2 formation, which can also shift to a 4-2-3-1 while defending.
Aizawl FC Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Lalawmpuia, Kareem, Masih, Fanai, Lalramhmunmawia, Andrei, David, Albert, Lalbiak Thanga, Alfred, Yugo
East Bengal 1-0 Aizawl FC
Although Aizawl have lost a number of their top players from last season, the side from Mizoram has always played good football, and are expected to continue doing so. To add to that, their travelling fans always throng to the stadiums in Kolkata, and that extra bit of support could just go on to help them.