Despite all their industrious approach, Bengaluru FC (BFC) had a disappointing outing last season under then-head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli. Their inconsistency surprised many as the Blues failed to grab a spot in the top four.
The players displayed disciplined pressing and seemed like a cohesive unit. But the Blues lacked in two attacking areas - creativity in the final third and finishing.
Hence, the management opted to shuffle their coaching position and roped in Simon Grayson as their new boss.
The Englishman is known for his direct football and could benefit BFC in more ways than one.
On that note, let's take a look at Bengaluru FC's predicted playing XI for the 2022-23 season:
Formation used: 3-5-2
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
With India's numero uno in their ranks, there won't be much discussion about who will be guarding the net for Bengaluru FC.
Last season, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu had a sub-par showing with just 33 saves and 22 goals conceded in 15 matches. However, very few would dare to put money against the veteran shot-stopper regaining his lost form.
Right wing-back: Prabir Das
After bidding adieu to ATK Mohun Bagan, the club that had almost become his home, Prabir Das is gearing up for a campaign in the Bengaluru FC outfit. The full-back has potential when darting down the pitch and could feature as a wingback in Grayson's 3-5-2 system.
Last season, he played 19 matches for the Mariners in the ISL and failed to register a single goal or assist. However, with a more advanced role, Prabir might just unlock a different dimension to his game.
Centre-back: Alan Costa
Since his introduction to the ISL in the 2021-22 season, Alan Costa has shown that he's a leader both on and off the field. The Brazilian brings along a lot of composure in the BFC backline and will be a crucial component of their team in the upcoming season.
The 31-year-old ended the previous season with 36 tackles, 36 interceptions, 51 clearances and 26 blocks from 18 appearances.
Centre-back: Sandesh Jhingan
For the Blues, roping in Sandesh Jhingan was one of the statement signings from ATK Mohun Bagan ahead of the new season. The veteran national defender is a solid addition to their backline and can compliment Costa astutely.
Jhingan joined the Mariners in the January transfer window and made nine appearances. In the brief spell, he made 25 tackles, 14 interceptions, 30 clearances, and 13 blocks.
Center-back: Hira Mondal
In an otherwise forgettable season for East Bengal, Hira Mondal was one of the brightest spots in the 2021-22 campaign.
The 26-year-old will be hoping to show that he's ready to step up his game to the next level. Although the start to his life at BFC has been rough, Hira can slot into the backline with some minor improvements.
Left wing-back: Naorem Roshan Singh
The young full-back was one of the finds of the previous season, not just for Bengaluru FC but for the entirety of Indian football. His attacking prowess down the flank was instantly recognized and could evolve into a major weapon for the Blues.
Roshan provided seven assists in 17 matches, the most by an Indian player in the ISL last season and the third-most overall.
Central midfielder: Bruno Ramires
The Brazilian midfielder was a metronome in the middle of the park for Bengaluru FC. His composure, vision, and ball-progressing abilities give the Blues an edge. Bruno Ramires averaged 43.75 passes per game last season and contributed two assists from deep.
Central midfielder: Suresh Singh Wangjam
Bengaluru FC's Suresh Singh Wangjam has steadily risen through the ranks to become an important player in the club's first-team. The 22-year-old is not just a deep-lying playmaker but is also well adept at breaking down plays. The youngster is touted to be one of the stars for this BFC side going into ISL 2022-23.
Attacking midfielder: Javi Hernandez
The Spaniard has ample experience in the ISL and his signing could prove to be a key factor in elevating Bengaluru FC's season. Statistically, Javi had his finest season in India last season with Odisha FC. He registered six goals and five assists. The Spanish maestro made 1.6 key passes per match throughout the season and had more than 45 touches per 90 minutes.
Centre-forward: Sunil Chhetri
For years, the Indian skipper has been spearheading the attacking line for Bengaluru FC. Now 38, not much has changed as Sunil Chhetri is still expected to thrive under Grayson's more direct system.
Last season, Chhetri had a modest outing for Bengaluru FC, scoring just four goals and assisting once.
Centre-forward: Roy Krishna
As mentioned earlier, under Grayson, Bengaluru FC are expected to take up a more direct approach. New signing Roy Krishna is expected to combine up top with Chhetri. The two veteran forwards are one of the most exciting striking pairings ahead of the season.
Although last season he looked slightly off-color for ATK Mohun Bagan, the Fijian international still managed to bagged 11 goal contributions.