Thursday night sees a struggling ATK side play host to play off dark horses Kerala Blasters in what could be a very boring tie. Looking at the table and recent form it doesn’t look good for us neutrals, ATK have been awful this season and they don’t look like improving anytime soon. Kerala have improved over the last two games but they still aren’t looking brilliant, but I am sure they are heading into the game with the most confidence of winning the game. Let’s get right to the stats.
ATK head into the game sitting in 8th place, eight points behind their opponents. They have the worst goalscoring record in the league, only managing eight goals all season. Their defensive record isn’t the best either, conceding seventeen goals over the course of the season. They go into the game with horrendous form, losing four and winning one of their previous five. They have lost their last four games and, obviously haven’t kept a clean sheet in their previous four. There hasn’t been over 2.5 goals in seven of their last nine, so that’s one to consider for you punters out there.
Kerala head into the game sitting in 6th place, two points behind 4th place Jamshedpur. They have a decent goalscoring record, scoring seventeen goals, however, their defensive record is worse than their opponents, conceding eighteen goals this season. They go into the game in decent form, winning three and losing two of their previous five. Interestingly, Kerala share the same streak as their opponents when it comes to failing to keep clean sheets
The last time these two sides met was back in November 2017, the game ended in a 0-0 draw, something the league isn’t used to. The game was fairly open but the quality of the teams was lacking massively, and the chances that were created were only half chances.
ATK dominated proceedings with 60% possession across the ninety minutes, however, both teams had a similar shot stat and overall shared the majority of the stats.
Interestingly, ATK hasn’t lost to Kerala in their last seven meetings, and the last three meetings have all ended in a draw. I am sure Kerala will be looking to break this streak against a poor ATK side.
The Game Itself…
I can see this game going just like their previous meeting. ATK will dominate possession, even though they never do anything with it. Kerala will look dangerous when they attack, even though they may be without Iain Hume for the game.
Kerala should take advantage of an extremely poor ATK side and win this game, but, I am sure ATK will be trying to save their season and end the season with many more wins on the board.
Both teams will also be looking to try and break that streak of failing to keep clean sheets and Kerala will be trying to claim their first win against ATK in seven games.
This time around is a lot easier than some of the previous ones this week. No ATK player will even come into contention as I can’t see them improving. If I was to pick some I’d go with Paterson and Cotterill, however, Cotterill missed the previous game so he may not be 100% for this game.
On the other hand, Kerala have a couple of contenders. One is Iain Hume; however, he was injured in the previous game so it is unclear whether he will be available for the game. Another is their keeper Chowdhary, last time out he kept his team in it and won the game. Who says he couldn’t do the same?
The player I have chosen is Hume’s replacement, Gudjon Baldvinsson. He has been fantastic when coming off the bench and I can’t wait to see what he does over ninety minutes, especially against a team like ATK who have been poor for a long time. He could easily open his ISL account in this game and ATK have to keep this guy out of the game.
With all of this being said, I will simply leave you with this. I expect Kerala to come out on top and beat ATK 2-0. I can’t see ATK holding them to a draw and I definitely can’t see them outscoring their opponents, never mind, actually, scoring one. Now I have said this Cotterill will return and prove to us all why he is known as the Bald Bale. Him to score a hat trick, now that’s a house bet, Jake.