ISL 2018-19: Kerala Blasters vs ATK | Match Preview, Predictions, Live Streaming & Where to watch details
The final and exciting phase of the Indian Super League (ISL) season is at the doorstep with Kerala Blasters preparing to face ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. The ball kept aside on 16th of December will roll again in 'God's Own Country', after a break that witnessed joy and heartache for Indian football.
Kerala Blasters is a team who has had so much happening in the one month gap. The well celebrated 3-year contract of coach David James was terminated and former NorthEast United gaffer Nelo Vingada was brought back to India, at the helm of the Blasters. The team has also had some eye-catching transfers completed in the game-less days.
Though out of contention for the playoffs, it would be crucial days for the club from Kerala. The Men in Yellow will want to regain the support from Manjappada and will be targeting a mid-table finish along with the Super Cup spot. Being in a trap of an 11-match winless streak, Kerala are 8th on the table with 9 points.
ATK is at an awkward position this season, being neither with the semi-final contenders nor with the bottom strugglers. The team left for the holidays after a defeat to Bengaluru FC. ATK are troubled with their goal scoring and defensive strategies on the field. Even the famous fans of Kolkata at times found it difficult to back Steve Coppell's defensive plans.
This has made them the team with least goals scored (10), but also defensively disciplined, conceding only 11. On the points table, ATK are placed 6th with 16 points. They are 3 points behind Jamshedpur FC who are a place ahead of them and 5 points ahead of Pune City, at the 7th spot.
All 3 points would be what Coppell's men would want when the ISL resumes in Kochi.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Match Information
Date: 25 January 2019
Kickoff: 7:30 PM IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and hotstar.
Live commentary: ISL Live Score of Kerala Blasters vs ATK
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Team News
The latest news is the transfer of striker CK Vineeth and winger Halicharan Narzary to current champions Chennaiyin FC. They have also lost the services of goalkeeper Naveen Kumar to FC Goa. Naveen has been swapped with Lalthuammawia Ralte.
Blasters will be disappointed at the suspension of midfielder Zakeer Mundampara, following some trouble with the referee during the match against Mumbai City. However, the good news will be the confirmation of Sandesh Jhingan staying at the club and the signing of an upcoming sensation Nongdamba Naorem. Baoringdao Bodo, the 19-year old winger is the latest addition made to the Blasters squad.
ATK too has some activity completed during the transfer window. Pritam Kotal has been roped in from Delhi Dynamos and will be an addition to the strong defence line. The midfield has been boasted with the signing of former Bengaluru FC winger Edu Garcia. Kalu Uche is back with the team after an injury. Noussair El Maimoni and Eli Babalj are released from the Kolkata side, while Cavin Lobo is rumoured to be loaned out to Churchill Brothers. Miguel Palanca too might be brought in as a loanee from FC Goa.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Probable Lineups
Kerala Blasters (4-4-2): Dheeraj Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Anas Edathodika, Nemanja Lakic Pesic, Lalrutthara, Courage Pekuson, Sahal Abdul Samad, Nikola Krcmarevic, Seiminlen Doungel, Matej Poplatnik, Slavisa Stojanovic
ATK (4-2-3-1): Arindam Bhattacharja, Pritam Kotal, Andre Bikey, John Johnson, Ricky Lallawmawma, Jayesh Rane, Pronay Halder, Edu Garcia, Manuel Lanzarote, Komal Thatal, Kalu Uche
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Form Guide
Kerala Blasters: L-L-D-D-L
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Head-to-Head
Kerala Blasters: 2
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Key Players
Things wouldn't be too easy for Kerala Blasters in the attack, losing an experienced player like CK Vineeth. Therefore, more responsibility will be on the defence, especially on the shoulders of skipper Sandesh Jhingan. With reports of a transfer denied, the 25-year old will continue to be the backbone of the defence lineup. But, it will be interesting to see where the new coach deploys the Punjab-born captain of the Blasters - at full-back or central defence. Being in excellent form in the national colours, much will be expected from Jhingan in the final phase of the league.
The perfect answer for ATK's goal scoring worries is Edu Garcia. The 28-year old midfielder is a perfect chance creator, who can be used at any position at the centre of the field.
With Kalu Uche back to action, Garcia's openings will prove crucial for Coppell. The Spaniard had played a pivotal role in Bengaluru FC's good run last season, scoring 2 goals and providing 5 assists. Edu Garcia will be the most key player in the coach's plans at Kochi.
Kerala Blasters vs ATK: Predictions
It would be difficult to get an accurate prediction for the Kerala-Kolkata clash. Blasters would be coming in with a major revamp at the core, including the new manager Vingada. ATK, on the other hand, would be relying on its new signings along with the injury-recovered players. A strong and exciting tussle is sure when two teams with 'new equal powers' on the paper face each other, which might end in favour of the hosts.
Predicted Score - Kerala Blasters 2-1 ATK