Indian Super League (ISL)'s newest entrants, SC East Bengal will be one of those unpredictable sides in this year's edition of the league. Robbie Fowler's team has quite a few foreigners with an Indian squad made up of young talents and veteran players returning from long spells of lack of game time.
After winning their first pre-season game over Kerala Blasters, East Bengal seem to have covered lots of ground in terms of a late start to the season. With the likes of Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, Matti Steinmann, Daniel Fox and Scott Neville in their ranks, the debutants will be no walkover.
How will SC East Bengal line up?
Goalkeeper: Mirshad Michu
The 26-year-old shot-stopper from Kerala is expected to keep the goal for the Red and Golds. Although the squad has experienced keeper Debjit Majumdar as well as youngsters like Rafique Ali Sardar and Sankar Roy, Mirshad's acrobatics and height give him the edge.
Defense: Lalramchullova, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Samad Ali Mallick
The defense is expected to be spearheaded by central defender Daniel Fox. His leadership skills and experience at the top level of English football will allow East Bengal to maintain composure and balance at the back.
Fox will be helped out by Australian centre-back Scott Neville who has a knack of shifting right and going up the pitch. Lalramchullova and Samad Ali Mallick are expected to take charge of the wings. The full-backs are excellent crossers of the ball and will have a crucial role to play in building up East Bengal's moves up the pitch.
Midfield: Matti Steinmann, Mohammed Rafique, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma
Matti Steinmann and Mohammed Rafique will sit behind the midfield and act as a bridge between the defense and the midfield. Steinmann will act as a play-making defensive midfielder while Rafique will act as a play-blocker defensive midfielder.
East Bengal's central midfield will be marshalled by Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Jacques Maghoma is set to play on the left side of the pitch while Anthony Pilkington is expected to take the right flank in the offensive half. Pilkington's exploits as a second striker can also be useful and he may sit behind the centre-forward and act as a false #9.
Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua
The Mizo Snipper, who is also on a comeback trail to the Indian football team, will have a point to prove in the 2020-21 season. Jeje Lalpekhlua played his last professional game in mid-2019. Since then, a knee injury has sidelined him for more than a season.
Lalpekhlua's lack of fitness may, however, prove detrimental. But with Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma on his flanks, it is expected that Lalpekhlua will score a handful.Published 11 Nov 2020, 11:15 IST