In the context of the Indian Super League (ISL), Bengaluru FC have perhaps been the most consistent performers in the league. Bengaluru FC were a part of the I-League before making their debut in the ISL in the 2017-18 season.
Despite a few ups and downs in their first season, the Blues managed to secure the pole position in spite of losing to Chennaiyin FC 2-3 in the final.
Bengaluru FC have managed a playoff spot in each season they have competed in the competition. Looking forward to the upcoming season, it would seem as though the expectations on Carles Cuadrat and his band of merry men is quite high.
With the core of their players having re-signed for the upcoming season, Cuadrat and the Bengaluru FC management will be looking to secure the title, a feat they managed to achieve in the 2018-19 season.
We look at five players who will improve Bengaluru FC's chances of winning the title in the upcoming season of the ISL.
1) Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
The previous season of the ISL saw Gurpreet Singh Sandhu become the first goalkeeper to cross 10 cleansheets in a single season and thereby claim the Golden Glove for the second time in a row. The 28-year-old is perhaps the core of the Bengaluru FC defensive unit and is the main reason for their solidity at the back.
Looking forward to the 2020-21 season, Bengaluru FC have re-signed Lalthuammawia Ralte and Lara Sharma to bolster their goalkeeping depth. However, at the moment, Sandhu is more or less the top contender for the number spot between the sticks for the Blues this season.
2) Juan 'Juanan' Gonzalez
Since his arrival in 2016, Juan Gonzalez aka Juana has been a mainstay in the Bengaluru FC defensive unit. The 33-year-old first played in the I-League, where he partnered John Johnson in central defence and has most recently partnered fellow Spaniard Albert Serran as well.
With Serran not on the books of the club anymore, the onus has now fallen on the shoulders of Juanan and he will be expected to be the quintessential leader of the defence.
Serran will most likely be paired with Pratik Chaudhuri in central defence with Rahul Bheke and Ajith Kumar playing at right and left full-back respectively. The Spaniard is also one of the most capped players in the BFC ranks with 94 appearances across all competitions to his name.
3) Sunil Chhetri
If there is one name synonymous with Bengaluru FC and Indian football, it is Sunil Chhetri. In spite of being 36, the skipper of the side has been instrumental in the club's success since its formation all those years ago in 2013.
In addition to all this, Chhetri is also the second-highest goalscorer in the history of the Indian Super League with 39 goals in 74 appearances. He has also recently crossed the 100 mark in appearances for the Blues.
The 2019-20 season saw the team's goalscoring affected by the departure of Miku with the Blues managing just 22 goals in the entire season. Chhetri and the BFC attack will be looking to rectify this shortcoming as the start of the 2020-21 season looms on the horizon.
4) Udanta Singh
The last season witnessed a paltry number of goals scored by the Blues with just 22 goals scored in the league. In fact, the team's problems were compounded when youngster Udanta Singh failed to recapture his form from the 2018-19 season, something that Carles Cuadrat and his coaching staff will be hoping to rectify.
The 24-year-old has been a part of the Bengaluru FC setup since 2016 when he joined as a youth player from the AIFF Elite Academy. In recent times, he has been an important part of not only the BFC side but also the Indian national team, making 27 appearances so far. Needless to say, a lot will be expected from Udanta in the 2020-21 season.
5) Erik Paartalu
Australian international Erik Paartalu has been a veteran for the Bengaluru FC side since signing with the club in 2017. Having made over 50 appearances, the 34-year-old, along with Dimas Delgado, has become an integral part of the Blues' midfield.
While Paartalu boasts of great passing ability, the fact that he is able to dictate matches with his physicality has been key for to the success of the club. The 34-year-old also went on to state that there was something special about the city and playing for the club that always draws him back. He will be expected to marshal the midfield in the upcoming ISL season.Published 05 Oct 2020, 15:26 IST