After an arduous wait Fijian striker Roy Krishna was finally able to join ATK Mohun Bagan team training on November 6, exactly two weeks before his team takes on the Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League season opener.
Krishna is absolutely central to whatever success ATK Mohun Bagan will hope to have this season. It was the case last season as well when his 15 goals played a huge role in his team going on to lift the ISL trophy. Add his six assists from last season to the tally, and he had 21 direct goal involvements. To put that into context, ATK scored 33 goals in the whole season.
With largely the same core from ATK's last ISL title-winning season, coach Antonio Lopez Habas is unlikely to tinker too much with his formation. It would make sense to introduce just a couple of new players like Bradden Inman and Carl McHugh in the template that he used last season.
Out of the 12 open play goals that Krishna scored last season, almost half (5) came through counter attacks. He would run in behind the last opposition defender hoping that one of his midfielders would find him in that space, and then he would put his clinical finishing skills to use. With the seemingly upgraded ATK Mohun Bagan squad, this is a tactic that could serve the team well.
However, teams would also have studied this pattern of play from last season, and may not adopt to play a high line against Habas' ATK Mohun Bagan side. In this case, Krishna would need to be much more alert in and around the box than usual. He only scored two goals from plays that involved passes being given to him from the sidelines. That figure will need improving in the upcoming season with teams unlikely to give him the time and space that he got last season on the counter attacks.
Sandesh Jhingan-Roy Krishna combination will help ATK Mohun Bagan
The signing of Sandesh Jhingan is a major boost to the team. Against more offensive opposition, he would make ATK Mohun Bagan even stronger in a low-block. Jhingan thrives on putting his body on the line, and in situations like these, he will be instrumental in not only preventing a goal but also initiating quick counter-attacks which Krishna can then be the beneficiary of.
Perhaps one area where Krishna can make a significant improvement is in the heading department. He did not score a single headed goal in the entirety of last season. The fact that he is 5'6'' does not make him a natural target man, but heading is as much about timing runs and finding space in the box as anything else. If Krishna can add that to his game, we would be seeing the evolution of one of the finest strikers in the ISL.
But Krishna has more strengths than weaknesses and ATK Mohun Bagan will continue to be the beneficiary of those strengths, if he gets service from his teammates like he did last season.Published 07 Nov 2020, 12:15 IST