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ISL 2020-21: Bengaluru FC set-pieces - SWOT Analysis

Bengaluru FC are unbeaten this season (Image Credits: ISL Media)
Bengaluru FC are unbeaten this season (Image Credits: ISL Media)
ANALYST
Modified 15 Dec 2020
Feature

Bengaluru FC's 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters at the Fatorda had almost everything an entertaining football match should have. It had six goals, a saved penalty, tremendous work-rate from both teams in trying conditions in Goa. This Southern Derby, however, didn't have a red card and a Bengaluru set-piece goal.

Since the departure of Miku, Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat has relied heavily on set-pieces as a source of goals. In fact, the 2019-20 season of the Indian Super League saw Bengaluru FC score just 24 goals. Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri managed nine of the 24 goals, with 8 goals coming from defensive players. What is even more shocking is the fact that Cuadrat has employed similar tactics for the 2020-21 season as well.

The club might have scored more goals than most other teams this season. But as things stand, center-back Juanan is the top goalscorer along with Sunil Chhetri with 2 goals for the season. Five of the nine goals scored this season by the Blues have come almost exclusively from set-pieces.

Carles Cuadrat has a lot of work to do in terms of strengthening the attack unit and scoring from open play. However, the over-reliance on set-piece play also has its advantages.

Let's take a look at a SWOT to see how set-pieces can give Bengaluru FC an edge in the current season of the ISL.


SWOT Analysis - Bengaluru FC Set-pieces

Juanan is the top goalscorer for Bengaluru FC this season so far (Image courtesy: ISL)
Juanan is the top goalscorer for Bengaluru FC this season so far (Image courtesy: ISL)

Strength

In the context of the ISL, the Blues have the best possible players for set-pieces. Dimas Delgado has been the orchestrator for set-pieces for the most part in the last three seasons. When it comes to throw-ins near the opposition penalty box, Harmanjot Khabra and Rahul Bheke have delivered the ball near the penalty spot on several occasions.

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So far, Erik Paartalu, Cleiton Silva, and Juanan have been successful in converting set-pieces to goals. All three of these players have a very strong presence in the box and can prove deadly when it comes to set-pieces. Except for Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh, and Suresh Wangjam, almost all of the Bengaluru FC players are strong, well-built, and imposing when it comes to aerial prowess.

Therefore, with good creators and very strong individuals, the set-piece play is a good tactic for Bengaluru FC.

Weakness

The 3-1 loss against ATK in the semifinal of the 2019-20 ISL is a perfect example of the set-piece ploy not working for Bengaluru FC. While the Blues are dangerous from corners, free-kicks, and throw-ins, most teams in the ISL have begun preparing for them with defensive strategies of their own.

For instance, Bengaluru's 0-0 draw against Hyderabad FC saw Odei Onaindia and Chinglensana Singh completely nullify the set-piece routines of Bengaluru FC with some terrific positioning. There are thus teams in the current season that are careful not to concede too many free-kicks, corners, and throw-ins in and around the final third.

Opportunity

As things stand, four of the nine goals this season have come from set-pieces. It is an extraordinary output, given the fact that converting a set-piece into a goal has a very low probability. There will be more goals scored from corners and free-kicks without a doubt, but long throw-ins are a good opportunity for the Blues.

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Each time they have won a throw-in near the final third, Harmanjot Khabra takes a long throw and almost always finds Erik Paartalu. Rahul Bheke is also one with a good throw and generally finds either Paartalu or Juanan. This increases the probability of scoring from set-pieces.

Threat

The threat for Bengaluru FC from set-pieces is that most teams will prepare against them. Hyderabad FC prepared against their set-pieces and managed to keep a clean sheet. Kerala Blasters followed suit, which meant that all four of their goals came from open play.

Carles Cuadrat will have to come up with a better way to score goals rather than set-pieces, should Bengaluru FC look to add to their 2018-19 ISL title.

Published 15 Dec 2020, 13:48 IST
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