So far, Mumbai City FC have lived up to the expectations of being the title favorites. City Football Group's acquisition followed by the appointment of Sergio Lobera resulted in the Islanders taking the 2nd spot in the ISL 2020-21 standings. They have won 5 games, drawn once and lost once so far. They have been defensively solid, which has acted as an added reinforcement to their superior midfield and striking departments.
Kerala Blasters FC had been on a winless streak until their most recent fixture against Hyderabad FC which awarded them a 2-0 win. Kibu Vicuna has been struggling to find his best starting line-up and has failed to make the best out his resources. With a little tweak in the roster, the Blasters have eventually started to look like a better side. They lost thrice and drew thrice in their other 6 games.
Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC head-to-head
Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters have faced each other on 12 occasions in the last 6 ISL seasons. While Mumbai City FC won 4 times, Kerala Blasters managed just 2 wins. 6 matches ended in a draw.
The most recent fixture between the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai.
Mumbai City FC form guide: W-W-W-D-W
Kerala Blasters FC form guide: D-L-L-D-W
Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC team news
Mumbai City FC have not looked like a typical Sergio Lobera's side. They have not stuck to the same gameplan and the same roster throughout the league as Lobera did in his tenure with FC Goa.
Key players like Hugo Boumous and Bartholomew Ogbeche have been rested in a few games to preserve match fitness. Boumous is expected to make a comeback to the side after a gap of more than 20 days.
Kerala Blasters dropped Gary Hooper, Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu in their previous game against Hyderabad FC. It is expected that Nhamoinesu will replace Sandeep Singh at the heart of the defence in the upcoming fixture. Jordan Murray is set to retain his place in the starting line-up, courtesy of a mediocre show by Gary Hooper so far.
Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC predicted XIs
Mumbai City FC
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Amrinder Singh (C) (GK), Amey Ranawade, Mourtada Fall, Bipin Singh, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, Rowllin Borges, Raynier Fernandes, Cy Goddard, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Adam le Fondre.
Kerala Blasters FC
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Albino Gomes (GK), Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Jessel Carneiro (C), Jeakson Singh, Rahul KP, Sahal Abdul Samad, Abdul Hakku, Vicente Gomez.
Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC prediction
Kibu Vicuna's Kerala Blasters struggled in the initial few matches of the league with lacklustre defensive displays and a woeful midfield. The Spanish-Polish manager has finally managed to get the first win of the season with a few tweaks at the back and in the midfield.
However, Mumbai City's prowess in the midfield and scoring departments should prove to be too much for the Blasters. Sergio Lobera's men are expected to have an easy outing in the year's first ISL fixture.
Prediction: Mumbai City FC 2-0 Kerala Blasters FCPublished 31 Dec 2020, 22:15 IST