Despite all the controversy surrounding the merger, ATK Mohun Bagan will take the field in the ISL 2021-22 season as the outright favorites. They will have the ambition of bagging the ISL League Shield and ISL play-offs trophy.
Antonio Lopez Habas’ side have excellence written all over them. They will be raring to go one step further than the previous season to get their first trophy as a merged entity. Let us have an analytical look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to ATK Mohun Bagan in ISL 2021-22:
ATK Mohun Bagan have brought in the likes of Joni Kauko and Hugo Boumous in midfield. Boumous is already a proven customer in Indian football and also arguably one of the greatest foreign signings in the league’s history.
Kauko, on the other hand, comes with fresh experience of playing in the Euro 2020 for Finland. The midfield duo of Kauko and Boumous will arguably be the strongest duo in the league which automatically gives a tactical edge to the Mariners.
Antonio Lopez Habas’ men also have the likes of Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, Roy Krishna and David Williams up front. It will form the most lethal attacking line-up in the league as well.
ATK Mohun Bagan also arguably has the finest crop of Indian players amongst all teams in the league, which can be put to great use.
Despite a star studded line-up in most areas, one key concern for the Mariners remains being the defensive side of things. ATK Mohun Bagan were completely put out of sorts in their AFC Cup play-off game against Al Nasaf in Uzbekistan. They looked out of sync, failed to communicate with each other and went on to lose 6-0.
The absence of Sandesh Jhingan in central defense also pops the question of who will partner Tiri at the back. Jhingan provided stability at the back. The lack of a natural center back alongside the Spaniard could hurt the Mariners later in the season.
The midfield duo of Boumous and Kauko and the endless list of quality Indians at Habas’ disposal add up to numerous opportunities for grabs for the Mariners. ATK Mohun Bagan FC are easily the strongest team in the league and will be aiming to go all the way and win the ISL League Shield and play-off trophy.
ALSO READArticle Continues below
Habas’ overcautious brand of football can go on to hurt the side against teams which like to play with the ball. Mumbai City FC came on top of the Mariners the previous season in similar fashion. Thus, teams like FC Goa will be looking to replicate the same if the Mariners keep sitting back to defend. They will instead have to go out and win games with the intention of scoring a decent number of goals.