I-League 2017: Mohun Bagan vs Indian Arrows, Predicted Lineups
For the first time in their 128-year-old history will Mohun Bagan play a national league or an I-League game in their true home ground or the ‘Mohun Bagan Ground’ situated in their club tent at the Kolkata Maidan, on Friday, when they face the AIFF’s youth development side Indian Arrows.
The Mariners are 5th in the points table and have played 5 games so far, managing to garner only 9 points leaving them 4 behind their age-old rivals and table toppers East Bengal.
The Blue Colts though, have had a surprise start to the league as they managed to get the better of Chennai City FC and Shillong Lajong and sit pretty in the 7th spot on the table with 6points, something which has surprised many football pundits, given that the average age of the side is only around 17.
The Arrows squad predominantly consists of the players from the U17 and U19 national teams.
Here, we take a look at how the two teams could line up for this crunch game.
Mohun Bagan will be looking to secure all three points and close the gap with East Bengal, and anything less than 3 points will be a huge setback for the Green and Maroons. Mohun Bagan were on cloud 9 after winning the derby, but history sort of repeated itself when Bagan flattered to deceive in their games right after the derby, to lose the initial advantage that they had built up.
Sanjoy Sen’s boys, though, are the only team to still remain unbeaten in the league and will look to continue this run for as long as possible. Life after the Derby seemed all rosy for Bagan but at the moment the team is walking over thorns in all true sense, as injuries have hampered the team.
Yuta Kinowaki, who was sublime in the derby has been ruled out for the season and Bagan have already signed ex Bengaluru FC player Cameron Watson, who is yet to join the team. Bagan’s mercurial Haitian captain Sony Norde is out of action for three weeks and has been ruled out of the tie. Youngster Arijit Bagui is also nursing an injury.
Mohun Bagan Probable XI (4-4-1-1): Shilton, Abhishek, Kingsley, Kinshuk, Ricky, Sk. Faiz, Shilton D’ Silva, Raynier Fernandes, Azaruddin, Kromah, Dipanda Dicka.
The Arrows are full of confidence having humiliated Shillong Lajong 3-0 in Delhi, in what was a completely one-sided affair. If the quality of football that the Arrows have displayed in their recent games are something to go by, then Mohun Bagan are in for a fight, as the Blue Colts don’t shy away from tackles and play a sleek one-touch brand of football with a lot of attacking moves.
The thing that has impressed football pundits and critics across the country is the way the attackers defend and defenders attack for the Arrows.
The only issue that needs improvement is the attitude that the boys show after conceding a goal. It was on show a couple of times during the league when the lads drop their shoulders after conceding and lost the fighting spirit. If they are to gain a point from this game, they need to be on the pitch with a killer attitude that was shown by the lads against Lajong in their last game.
Indian Arrows Predicted XI (4-1-4-1): Dheeraj, Boris, Anwar, Jitendra, Sanjeev, Amarjit, Suresh, Jeakson, Rahul, Rahim, Abhijit Sarkar
Mohun Bagan 1-0 Indian Arrows
Even though Mohun Bagan are heavy favourites to win the tie by a big margin, beating the Arrows won't be as easy as it sounds, as Shillong Lajong learned the hard way. Bagan are likely to win the game with a slim margin of victory given they will be playing at their own backyard but don't be taken aback if the young guns spring in a surprise to upset the Kolkata giants.