Indian Super League (ISL) side Bengaluru FC have been one of the most successful Indian football clubs in the recent past. The Blues have never gone through a trophyless season since their inception in 2013. They have won the I-League, Federation Cup, Super Cup and Indian Super League in the recent past.
However, they went trophyless in the 2019-20 season, where they finished as ISL semi-finalists. The Blues have added some fresh firepower and experience to their roster to put aside their previous season's blues.
How will Bengaluru FC line-up?
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
The Indian National Team goalkeeper is an automatic first choice for Bengaluru FC. Sandhu has been keeping goal for the Blues since his arrival in the 2017-18 season from Norway's Stabaek FC. in a move worth a sizeable transfer fee.
The Blues also have options in experienced keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte. Ralte kept the goal for Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup 2016 final against Air Force Club Iraq. Youngsters like Lara Sharma and Dipesh Chauhan are not expected to get much game time in the presence of such experience pair in goal.
Defense: Pratik Chaudhari, Juanan, Ajith Kumar, Rahul Bheke
Bengaluru FC's trusted rock at the back, Juanan, will lead the defense as usual. Bengaluru FC have had a rock-solid defense that hasn't leaked many goals. Juanan's leadership and composure at the back have been a key factor in this. Pratik Chaudhari will retain his place at the center of the defence like the previous season.
Rahul Bheke, at right-back, was part of Carles Cuadrat's go-to defensive line-up in the previous season, and will continue to be so. Youngster Ajith Kumar, who was signed on an undisclosed fee from Chennai City FC on a three-year deal, is expected to play at left-back. Kumar has quick-feet and is defensively composed.
Midfield: Erik Paartulu, Dimas Delgado, Udanta Singh, Cleiton Silva
Bengaluru FC have an array of options in defensive midfield. The presence of Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Suresh Singh Wangjam and Fran Gonzalez makes Bengaluru FC a very settled side in the midfield region.
However, with an eye on balance of play, Cuadrat may go with just one defensive midfielder in the experienced Erik Paartulu. Paartulu has been at the club since 2017 and is arguably one of the finest defensive midfielders in the league.
The central midfield will be retained by Cuadrat's trusted tutee Dimas Delgado. Delgado is creative and can find gaps in the field to pick out Sunil Chhetri and Kristian Opseth with ease.
The right-wing will go to the obvious contender of Udanta Singh. Singh will be expected continue using his pace and trickery and deliver some good crosses. The left-wing can perhaps go to Cleiton Silva, who otherwise prefers to play as a center-forward.
The midfield system can go from a four-men setup to a three-men setup if Silva joins the duo of Chhetri and Opseth as the third striker. This will allow Dimas to shift right while Paartulu will have to come up the pitch.
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Ospeth
Indian National Team Captain Sunil Chhetri will spearhead the attack for Bengaluru FC. Chhetri is the best Indian centre-forward in the league, and is an automatic choice in the starting line-up, owing to his consistency and workload. He is expected to be joined by Kristian Opseth upfront in a two-men setup.Published 16 Nov 2020, 14:48 IST