Both sides have drawn their last two games, which would have frustrated Antonio Lopez Habas and Robert Jarni, as a win or maybe even two in those games, would've seen their side open up a reasonable gap at the top of the table and given them some breathing space.
Instead, ATK and NorthEast both find themselves in a crowded top five, which was separated by just two points at the start of this round of fixtures.
NorthEast United v ATK: Match information
Date: 7th December 2019
Kickoff: 7:30 PM IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and Hotstar
Venue: Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Sarusajai, Guwahati
NorthEast United v ATK: Team news
With goalscorers extraordinaire lining up for both teams, this match could well be one decided by which side has the better functioning rearguard on the day. Robert Jarni has encouragement in that regard, with Kai Heerings back from a two-game ban. He is expected to take Wayne Vaz's place at the heart of the defence.
That could mean that one of Panagiotis Triadis or Martin Chaves drop to the bench, to keep the foreigners quota intact. With the form that Triadis has shown recently, Chaves might be the unfortunate one to get the hook. For ATK, Agus Garcia is expected to return to the side, after they conceded two goals against Mumbai City FC in their last game, which he didn't start.
Javi Hernandez or Edu Garcia will have to sit out to accommodate the Spanish centre-back, with Carl McHugh pushing forward into midfield. Roy Krishna is one goal behind Sergio Castel in the Golden Boot race and will look to set the marker down for the Jamshedpur striker to live up to.
NorthEast United v ATK: Probable lineups
NorthEast United: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Reagan Singh, Kai Heerings, Mislav Komorski, Rakesh Pradhan, Jose David Leudo, Milan Singh, Redeem Tlang, Panagiotis Triadis, Nikhil Kadam, Asamoah Gyan
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharja, Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Agus Garcia, Anas Edathodika, Michael Soosairaj, Carl McHugh, Jayesh Rane, Edu Garcia, Roy Krishna, David Williams
NorthEast United v ATK: ISL form guide
NorthEast United: D-D-W-D-W
NorthEast United v ATK head-to-head
The two sides have faced each other ten times, with ATK holding a clear upper hand, with five wins against the Highlanders.
Last season, the two teams scored one goal between them in the two fixtures they played against each other. NorthEast rode on a late Rowllin Borges header to win 1-0 in Kolkata, before a 0-0 draw in Guwahati.
NorthEast United wins - 3
ATK wins - 5
Draws - 2
NorthEast United v ATK prediction
In a battle of equals at Guwahati, it could well be a moment of inspiration that splits the two sides, but there is not likely to be too much difference between the two teams.
Prediction: NorthEast United 1-1 ATKPublished 06 Dec 2019, 15:41 IST