Last time out…
Bengaluru missed out on the chance to pull clear at the top as they fell to a home defeat at the hands of Chennaiyin which drew Chennaiyin level on points with Bengaluru. It was a game where Bengaluru had a lot more of the ball which is evident by the fact that they made 244 more passes than Chennaiyin and after Chhetri pulled them level in the 85th minute, it was thought that Bengaluru would go on and get the three points. However, it was not meant to be as Ganesh got the winner for Chennaiyin three minutes later.
There was a momentous occasion in Jamshedpur’s last game as they conceded for the first time this season and the first time in their competitive history as they also lost at home. Pune City were the ones who made ISL history when Adil Khan scored on the half-hour mark to put them one nil up and despite Jamshedpur’s constant peppering of Pune City’s goal, it wasn’t meant to be and it’ll be interesting to see how Steve Coppell’s men bounce back from their first defeat.
The press conferences…
Bengaluru coach Roca is keen to make amends for the defeat that they suffered at the hands of Chennaiyin last week
“It’s important to win tomorrow [Thursday] because we have back-to-back games which means that a loss has to be followed by a win if we are to make amends.”
He made it clear that he will be not sitting back against the best defensive team in the league:
“We have to go all out from the beginning and try to play our football.”
He knows that it will be a tough task and finished by saying this:
“I respect the way they play and it is a challenge I am looking forward to facing. If we are able to win, it makes for a great experience,”
In the other dugout is former Reading manager Steve Coppell (article coming later today on him) and he is hoping his team can replicate Chennaiyin’s success.
“Bengaluru FC probably have the deepest squad in the ISL. It’s a great challenge for us. Chennaiyin came and won and I hope we can also do the same.”
Coppell is under no illusion that whilst his defence is his main asset, his attack has not been that great so far:
“We worked hard on our defence. We are not really prolific in front of the goal but we need to improve. In training, we take every opportunity to improve in that department. I am confident things will change as the games progress.”
He was also still rueing the fact that Anas was still injured when he said:
“A strong Indian player in the central defence means you can play an international player up the pitch. His injury has definitely affected the team’s performance.”
The game itself…
This game sees the two newest additions to the ISL go head to head for the first time and even though Jamshedpur have only lost once so far, they find Bengaluru on double the amount of points that they have got. Jamshedpur are a unit which is built on a strong defence but are poor in front of goal. Incredibly, in their first five games, there has only been TWO goals both of which came in the last two games after the first games were all 0-0.
On the other hand, Bengaluru have scored in every game so far this season and are the second highest goalscorers in the division only behind FC Goa. In their three home games so far this campaign this season, they have scored seven goals, so you think that Jamshedpur will have to be at their very best to halt the Benga Boys.
Ones to watch…
Udanta Singh – It’s difficult to pick anyone out of Bengaluru’s front line, especially when they have been as good as they have going forward, but I’m opting for Udanta as I think he’s the unsung one of the front three of him, Miku and Chhetri. Miku spearheads the attack, Chhetri is India’s sweetheart and that leaves Udanta who is the whippet on the right. His direct approach tends to leave many a left back on their arse and he has the end product to match. Jamshedpur will have to keep him quiet.
Andre Bikey – After getting sent off eight minutes into his debut for Jamshedpur it was easy to assume that Bikey was going to be consigned to the bench. However, Coppell has stuck with his man and he has proved to be an asset that Coppell knows he can be, having managed him when he was at Reading. It’ll be a fascinating battle seeing him against the powerhouse that is Miku and whoever wins that battle, will probably end up on the winning side.
One more thing…
All things considered, if I was a betting man and luckily I am, I’d be backing Bengaluru to be winning at half-time @ 13/10.