ISL Matchday 11 Preview: A Major Table-Topping Clash Between ATK Mohun Bagan & Mumbai City, NorthEast Meet Hyderabd & More

The final matchday of the first half of the Indian Super League group stage is just around the corner, and it features some huge matches.

The main attraction features the two top teams – ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City – while another intriguing clash will see encouraging-starters but current strugglers Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United square off. Here’s all you need to know before matchday 11:

NorthEast United vs Hyderabad FC

The matchday-opener involves 7th-placed NorthEast United, who take on 6th-placed Hyderabad FC.

Last Results:

NorthEast suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of ATK Mohun Bagan.

Hyderabad turned up the heat against Chennaiyin FC as they ran away with a 4-1 win thanks to Halicharan Narzary’s brace and goals from Joel Chianese and João Victor.

Head-to-Head:

Both sides won a match each last season, but Hyderabad took the three points more recently and took a 5-2 aggregate win too.

What This Could Mean:

NorthEast would go up to 4th if they won and both Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC dropped points.

Hyderabad have a small chance of finishing the week in the final podium spot if they win by two goals and are helped by favourable results in the matches of Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC.

Injuries and Suspensions:

NorthEast: Kwesi Appiah

Hyderabad: Francisco Sandaza

Player to Watch:

Halicharan Narzary – After impressing with his overall play and work-rate throughout the season, Halicharan Narzary finally got some just rewards with his second and third goals of the campaign against Chennaiyin FC. The first one was an absolute wonder-strike, while the second was a cool finish following a run that covered half the distance of the pitch. NorthEast United are without a clean sheet in their last three games, and the Indian winger will surely look to extend that.

Prediction: 0-2

Bengaluru FC vs SC East Bengal

5th-placed Bengaluru FC, who will be led by interim manager Naushad Moosa for the first time, face 9th-placed SC East Bengal.

Last Results:

Bengaluru looked very bland in a disappointing 3-1 loss to Mumbai City as Sunil Chhetri scored a rather undeserved penalty.

East Bengal battled hard in a 1-1 draw against FC Goa where Bright Enobakhare scored an absolute beauty.

Head-to-Head:

East Bengal have a 6-4 lead in the clashes these sides have participated n in the I-League and AIFF Super Cup.

What This Could Mean:

Bengaluru could replace FC Goa in 3rd place if they won by a couple of goals and Jamshedpur FC dropped points in their match.

East Bengal could go up to 8th if they win by three goals and Chennaiyin FC lose their match.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Bengaluru: Harmanjot Khabra, Ashique Kuruniyan

East Bengal: Danny Fox

Player to Watch:

Bright Enobakhare – If there is one phenomenon involving Bright Enobakhare that occurs more often than the overused puns on his first name, it’s him scoring. The ex-Wolverhampton Wanderers forward has scored two goals in two ISL appearances, averaging a goal every 50 minutes. Bengaluru FC have been leaking at the back as they haven’t kept a single clean sheet in their last six games, so it’s hard to imagine that run ending with Bright Enobakhare on the pitch.

Prediction: 2-2

Chennaiyin FC vs Odisha FC

8th-placed Chennaiyin FC begin the weekend’s action by facing bottom-club Odisha FC, who desperately need a win.

Last Results:

Chennaiyin were thrashed 4-1 by Hyderabad FC as Anirudh Thapa scored what proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal.

Odisha turned up the heat against Kerala Blasters in a 4-2 win thanks to Diego Maurício’s brace, Steven Taylor’s goal and Jeakson Thounaojam’s own goal.

Head-to-Head:

Odisha won one of last season’s matches 2-0, while the other was a 2-2 draw.

What This Could Mean:

Chennaiyin have a tiny chance of going all the way up to 4th place with a win, but they would need a lot of favours from elsewhere for that.

Odisha could go up to 9th if they win and both Kerala Blasters and SC East Bengal fail to follow suit.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Chennaiyin: Reagan Singh, Rafael Crivellaro

Odisha: Manuel Onwu

Player to Watch:

Diego Maurício – With Manuel Onwu potentially missing this match as well due to the injury he picked up prior to his side’s clash against Kerala Blasters, Odisha FC will rely heavily on Diego Maurício for goals once again. The Brazilian forward absolutely delivered last time out, when he bagged a brace and contributed to another goal in an outstanding display, which was enough to win our Player of the Week title. Stuart Baxter will undoubtedly require more of the same.

Prediction: 2-2

Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters

4th-placed Jamshedpur FC take on 10th-placed Kerala Blasters in Sunday’s early kickoff.

Last Results:

Jamshedpur didn’t feature on matchday 10, so their last clash was a matchday 9 match against FC Goa where they lost 2-1 despite Stephen Eze’s goal.

Kerala looked rather terrible in a 4-2 loss to Odisha FC when Jordan Murray opened the scoring and Gary Hooper got some late consolation.

Head-to-Head:

Jamshedpur have won two of the six matches these sides have played, but all four others have been drawn.

What This Could Mean:

Jamshedpur need to win to snatch 3rd-place away from FC Goa just before the midway point of the season.

Kerala need to win and hope that SC East Bengal drop points to move one spot up in the table.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Jamshedpur: Nicholas Fitzgerald, David Grande

Kerala: Nishu Kumar, Nongdamba Naorem

Player to Watch:

Albino Gomes – Kerala Blasters’ defence is quite leaky to say the very least about it, having conceded 14 goals in their last six games. That record could have been even worse if it wasn’t for Albino Gomes, whose average of 4.25 saves per match in that period has spared his defenders the blushes on multiple occasions. The Indian shot-stopper will surely need to keep that up against a fresh Jamshedpur FC attack.

Prediction: 3-0

ATK Mohun Bagan vs Mumbai City

The headline clash of the matchday is on Monday when league-leaders Mumbai City collide with 2nd-placed ATK Mohun Bagan.

Last Results:

ATKMB eased past NorthEast United in a 2-0 win as Roy Krishna scored again and Benjamin Lambot hit his own net.

Mumbai too won by two goals – 3-1 against Bengaluru FC thanks to Mourtada Fall, Bipin Singh and Bartholomew Ogbeche.

Head-to-Head:

The old ATK faced Mumbai 14 times, and both sides won five matches each while four were drawn.

What This Could Mean:

ATKMB could leapfrog their opponents by a point at the summit of the standings with a win.

Mumbai would go five points clear at the top if they won this match, while a draw would preserve their two-point lead.

Injuries and Suspensions:

ATKMB: Michael Soosairaj

Mumbai: Ahmed Jahouh

Player to Watch:

Mourtada Fall – The big Senegalese defender has been absolutely rock-solid in the Mumbai City backline so far this season, but he will come against arguably his toughest adversary in Roy Krishna against ATK Mohun Bagan. The 33-year-old defender will need to keep up his average of 6.1 clearances and 2.5 tackles and interceptions along with an 80% aerial duel success rate to keep the Fijian striker in check in arguably the most important battle on the pitch.

Prediction: 1-1

Stats courtesy int.soccerway.com and sofascore.com