Kerala Blaster FC – ISL 6 Analytical Season Preview

Kerala Blaster FC – ISL 6 Analytical Season Preview

One of the most inconsistent sides of the ISL, Kerala Blasters would be hoping for a positive season this term. The signings and early signs have been good and with Eelco Schattorie taking charge of the Kerala side, they will expect themselves to show a better account of themselves than their 9th place finish last term.

SQUAD

  • A massive overhaul of the squad with around 16 new signings just in the 25-man squad (several new signings are only part of the reserve squad)
  • Have brought in some quality players with good ISL experience but at the same time allowed some of the better performers from last season to leave
  • A couple of positions especially in defense looks a bit weak on paper

PRE SEASON RESULTS

TACTICAL SYSTEM

 

  • Schattorie mostly deployed a 4-2-3-1 system last season at NEUFC and he has opted for the same in pre-season also
  • The Dutchman’s tactical system places a lot of importance on a well-organised defense, maintaining possession and counter-pressing to regain possession back immediately
  • 36% of goals that NEUFC scored last season, where from set-pieces and therefore the trend can be expected to follow at KBFC as well
  • Jhingan’s injury might give Schattorie a few concerns in defense; might force him to reconsider the combinations to get the team balance right

 Expected lineup (4-2-3-1): Rehnesh; Rakip- Zuiverloon- Jairo- Pritam; Arques- Sahal; Narzary- Cidoncha- Samuel; Ogbeche

KEY PLAYERS

#10. Bartholomew Ogbeche (ST)

  • The 35-year old moved from NEUFC to Blasters and will led the team for the 2019/20 season
  • Ogbeche was instrumental to NEUFC’s top 4 finish last season having scored 12 goals and providing 2 assists
  • One of the key issues that Blasters faced last season was their inefficiency in front of goal and the arrival of Ogbeche hopefully will solve that issue
  • As shown in the graph below, Ogbeche took more shots and had more goals than compared to Poplatnik and Stojanovic, the Blasters strikers from last season

                                    Ogbeche vs Former Kerala Blaster Strikers (2018/19 Season)

#18. Sahal Abdul Samad (CM)

  • The highly rated Kerala youngster had a breakthrough season last term and won the emerging player award
  • In the last one year, Sahal has progressed from the KBFC reserve team to playing a vital role in the senior national team under Igor Stimac
  • The plot graph below clearly indicates his strengths- with 4.09 dribbles completed per 90 and a passing accuracy of 82%, Sahal clearly has the ability to offer creativity from midfield
  • However in spite of several impressive performances from midfield, Sahal had only 1 goal and 1 assist to his name whole season
  • This season with talented players like Arques and Cidoncha to complement him in midfield and with a striker like Ogbeche, he will be expected to step up his game

                                                        Sahal Key Stats (2018/19 Season)

SPORTSKPI WILDCARD PLAYER

#27. Samuel Lalmuanpuia (AM)

  • Even in the presence of much more experienced players like Narzary and Seityasen Singh, we expect young Samuel Lalmuanpuia to impress this season
  • The 21-year old captained a young Shillong Lajong side in the I-league last term and impressed with 3 goals and 2 assists even amidst their disappointing season
  • He also gave a good account of himself in the AFC Cup while on loan at Minerva Punjab, featuring in all 6 matches and playing 498 minutes and scoring once
  • Owing to Lajong’s overall dismal performance, there is not much data to prove Samuel’s worth; however under a coach like Eelco it is likely that Samuel will have a crucial role to play

 

                                                        Samuel Lalmuanpuia (2018/19 Season)

SEASON PREDICTION

  • Playoff Possibility: Likely to battle it out for the final playoff spot
  • They have some good firepower upfront but much of their chances of making the playoff will depend on how their defense would fare this season

 

Article by our Senior Football Analyst – Mishal Thanveer

 

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