Well, the qualification stages of the Indian Super Cup finish today, with ISL side ATK taking on I-League outfit Chennai City, for a chance to play high scoring ISL side FC Goa. ATK were awful this ISL season considering they were the defending champions. Chennai didn’t have a great campaign either so the game seems to be fairly matched. Actually, let’s get to the stats and see how evenly matched the two sides are.
Starting with the hosts ATK, they managed to finish 9th in the ISL this season, just missing out on the bottom spot by five points. With them having three different managers over the course of the season, they never managed to gain any consistency, this lead to them struggling to score, with them managing sixteen goals over the season. ATK struggled defensively as well, with them conceding thirty goals over eighteen games. With them changing manager a few times, consistency was an issue and their form indicates this, with them losing three, winning one and drawing one of their previous five games. I am sure they will be looking to get a good run under Robbie Keane’s player-manager reign and who knows, if he does well he could stay on for next season.
Now onto I-League outfit Chennai City, who managed to finish last season in 8th position, four points above relegation. Chennai were the 2nd lowest scorers in the I-league last season after only managing fifteen goals over eighteen games. Defensively, they weren’t too bad and a lot better than ATK as they only conceded twenty-four games over the course of the season. Heading into the competition, they are in decent form, drawing two, losing one and winning two of their previous five. With them being in form they will definitely be favourites going into the game, however, ATK have Keane in charge now.
Like I have said before my I-League knowledge is fairly limited so, in order to keep this article fair for both sides, I have dedicated some time to researching the best of Chennai’s players. One name that kept appearing was Aleksander Rakic, who appears to be handy at scoring. However, their main man seems to be Michael Soosairaj, who always appears on the scoresheet for Chennai. If I was ATK, I would be looking at him as being their danger man.
Now, onto ATK, who have some good players, however, their form has let them down over the course of last season. One player, where form never seems to be a problem, is Ryan Taylor. He is a brilliant midfielder who can instantly turn defence into an attack. Another couple of players to look out for Mbatha, who has recently found form and my Key Player and Manager for the game. Obviously, the person I am talking about is Robbie Keane. If he chooses to start himself, then Chennai will be in trouble. He has been fantastic in the ISL when he has played and managed to score six goals in nine games. With him being the manager as well, I am sure it will help the players to have him playing on the pitch with them.
I can’t comment on the tempo of the game and all of that as my I-League knowledge is limited, however, I can base my prediction around my knowledge of ATK and how they play football. From previous games it seems that Keane will be setting his ATK team to hit teams on the counter-attack, whether they do this against a more weaker side in Chennai is unknown.
For my scoreline prediction, I am going to go with a 2-1 win for ATK, if Keane starts. If he doesn’t start I can see the game going Chennai’s way as ATK struggle to score without Keane. Who knows though as we still don’t know who is actually in the squads for the competition.