ISL Matchday 10 Preview: Key Clashes at Both Ends of the Table to Start the New Year


We are a couple of Indian Super League matches into 2021, but we have already been spoilt by the quality of the action. There’s more to come now, including a huge clash at the lower end of the table between Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC and two key matches at the top between ATK Mohun Bagan and NorthEast United, and Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City. Here’s alll you need to know before matchday 10:

ATK Mohun Bagan vs NorthEast United

The action starts on Sunday with a clash between 2nd-placed ATK Mohun Bagan and 6th-placed NorthEast United.

Last Results:

ATKMB played out an entertaining 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin FC.

NorthEast didn’t feature in matchday 9, so their last clash was a 2-2 draw against Odisha FC Benjamin Lambot and Kwesi Appiah scored.

Head-to-Head:

The old ATK had a 7-3 lead over NorthEast United, with two other matches being drawn.

What This Could Mean:

ATKMB need to win and hope that Mumbai City drop points to return to the top of the table, while a loss coupled with an FC Goa win would see them lose another spot.

NorthEast could go as high as 3rd with a win and some favourable results.

Injuries and Suspensions:

ATKMB: Michael soosairaj

NorthEast: Kwesi Appiah

Player to Watch:

Arindam Bhattacharya – The Indian shot-stopper is leading the race for the Golden Glove with six clean sheets so far this season, and his performance last time out against Chennaiyin FC made it clear why that was the case. The Indian international was just outstanding as he made 7 big stops, with 5 of those coming off shots from inside the penalty area. NorthEast United have scored just two goals in their last three matches, and Arindam is surely going to make it very hard for them to better that tally.

Prediction: 1-0

Chennaiyin FC vs Hyderabad FC

Last Results:

Chennaiyin failed to score against ATK Mohun Bagan, but they didn’t concede either and came away with a point.

Hyderabad suffered another defeat, this time by one goal against FC Goa after Aridane Santana opened the scoring.

Head-to-Head:

Chennaiyin won both of last season’s matches with an aggregate score of 5-2.

What This Could Mean:

Chennaiyin have an outside chance of breaking into the top-four if they win and three other results go their way.

Hyderabad can climb up to 5th at best, and they too will need some help from elsewhere for that to happen.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Chennaiyin: Esmaël Gonçalves

Hyderabad: N/A

Player to Watch:

Enes Sipovic – Igor Angulo and Roy Krishna have tried and failed to get the better of Enes Sipović on separate occasions this season, and now, it’s Aridane Santana’s turn to test the Bosnian defender. So far this season, he has averaged 4.1 clearances and almost 2 tackles and interceptions per game while also winning 70% of his duels. Aridane broke a two-match goalless run last time out, but he’ll need to work very hard to score past Sipović against Chennaiyin.

Prediction: 1-1

Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai City

5th-placed Bengaluru FC and league-leaders Mumbai City do battle in the headline clash of the matchday.

Last Results:

Bengaluru suffered another disappointing 0-1 defeat against Jamshedpur FC.

Mumbai eased past Kerala Blasters with a final score of 2-0 thanks to Adam le Fondre and Hugo Boumous.

Head-to-Head:

Mumbai have a narrow 3-2 lead over Bengaluru, as only one match between these two sides has been drawn. The Islanders are unbeaten in the last four matches.

What This Could Mean:

Bengaluru could go up to 3rd if they win and both FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC fail to follow suit.

Mumbai need to match ATK Mohun Bagan’s result to stay at the top of the table.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Bengaluru: Erik Paartalu, Ashique Kuruniyan

Mumbai: N/A

Player to Watch:

Hugo Boumous – After two matches and three weeks without competitive football due to an injury, Hugo Boumous was back with a bang against Kerala Blasters. The Frenchman scored a goal and won two penalties in that match, but he also missed one spot-kick meaning that he will still be quite hungry against Bengaluru FC.

Prediction: 1-2

SC East Bengal vs FC Goa

10th-placed East Bengal meet 3rd-placed FC Goa in Wednesday’s clash.

Last Results:

East Bengal beat Odisha FC 3-1 thanks to goals from Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma and Bright Enobakhare.

Goa staged another late comeback to beat Hyderabad FC 2-1, as Ishan Pandita and Igor Angulo got the goals.

Head-to-Head:

East Bengal won the only match between these two sides by the solitary goal in the AIFF Super Cup.

What This Could Mean:

East Bengal need to better Kerala Blasters’ result to gain one more spot in the table. If Hyderabad lose and they win, they could even move up to 8th.

Goa could go up to the runners-up spot if ATK Mohun Bagan lose and they pick up all three points.

Injuries and Suspensions:

East Bengal: N/A

Goa: N/A

Player to Watch:

Jacques Maghoma – The Congolese international added to his tally this season by scoring his third goal last time out against Odisha FC. He looked extremely impressive on the left, as he completed 6/6 dribbles, got 36 touches, maintained a passing accuracy of 89%, made a couple of key passes and won 4 free-kicks. Can he repeat that against Goa?

Prediction: 2-2

Kerala Blasters vs Odisha FC

The biggest clash at the bottom sees 9th-placed Kerala Blasters meet 11th-placed Odisha FC.

Last Results:

Kerala suffered a disappointing 0-2 defeat at the hands of Mumbai City.

Odisha fell short against East Bengal in a 1-3 defeat as Diego Maurício netted late on.

Head-to-Head:

Both of last season’s games were drawn, with one being goalless and the other being a 4-4 cracker.

What This Could Mean:

Kerala need to win and hope that Hyderabad FC lose to move up to 8th place.

Odisha cannot climb higher in the table no matter what they do in this match.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Kerala: N/A

Odisha: N/A

Player to Watch:

Diego Maurício – The Brazilian winger was a small spark of hope in an otherwise disappointing defeat for Odisha FC against SC East Bengal, as he got his third goal of the season, albeit in a very scrappy manner. He attempted 8 shots in that match, and with Kerala’s third-leakiest defence not looking good at all right now, he might get even more chances in this match.

Prediction: 3-1

Stats courtesy int.soccerway.com and sofascore.com