ATK Mohun Bagan vs Mumbai City FC: Masefield, Helm pick five battles to watch out for

ATK Mohun Bagan welcome league leaders Mumbai City FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23.

The reverse fixture saw the teams share points, with Carl McHugh scoring in the 89th minute for the Mariners to secure a point away from home. ATK Mohun Bagan will be looking to push for the third spot, as a victory against Des Buckingham's men would mean that Juan Ferrando's side will leapfrog Kerala Blasters FC with a one-point difference. Meanwhile, with a win, Mumbai City FC can go four points clear of second-placed Hyderabad FC after Manolo Marquez's men drew against Chennaiyin FC in the opening fixture of Matchweek 15.

This is one the sternest challenges Mumbai City FC will have to face in a bid to go the entire season unbeaten and after a mouthwatering clash between the two teams earlier in the season, Hero ISL expert Paul Masefield and commentator John Helm pick the key battles that will decide the upcoming contest.

Paul Masefield’s key battles to watch out for

Vishal Kaith vs Phurba Lachenpa

If I were to choose three key battles that will decide ATK Mohun Bagan versus Mumbai City FC match, I would have to turn around and say the first one is the goalkeepers. I think whoever makes fewer mistakes will help their team win the game.

Vishal Kaith pulled off some stunning saves but has been prone to making a few errors here and there. (Phurba) Lachenpa has done the same. It's such a big game and he's going to be so critical in the title race, that they do need to be focused on their task. So, that for me is one of the battles that need to be won on the day whoever performs best will help their team win.

Ahmed Jahouh vs Hugo Boumous 

Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous, two former teammates going up against each other. When they were at FC Goa and also when they were at Mumbai City FC. (Hugo) Boumous got to do all the chasing and closing down. And you know what happens when you give (Ahmed) Jahouh time and space, he can destroy the opposition. Boumous got to play a disciplined game defensively, and he's still got to go and give ATK Mohun Bagan something going forward. So it's going to be a very, very interesting and a very, very big game for him. And he's going to have to try and close down Jahouh. 

Jahouh at the moment for me is in absolutely scintillating form. He looks fantastic in every game this season, just keeps it all simple. They've got to keep closing down, they've got to stop the service and supply to and if they do that ATK Mohun Bagan could go on to win the game, but those are the people that they're going to have to stop if they want to get something from the match.

Brendan Hamill vs Greg Stewart 

I'm going with (Brendan) Hamill and (Greg) Stewart as well. The reason I've done that is that Jorge Pereyra Diaz is out suspended so he's not able to play. Now we've seen Mumbai go with a false nine on occasions this season, where Stewart pushed a little bit further forwards.

Hamill for me has been one of the best defenders in the league so far, there are no doubts, no questions about that. I think he's been fantastic. But he's coming up against Stewart, who just knows how to conjure opportunities and knows how to score goals as well. 

And within playing in that false nine Hamill's going to be asked the question, does he go into midfield to track him because probably (Alberto) Noguera would play and if Noguera plays he'll be running past as well. So there are a lot of defensive decisions that Hamill's going to have to make and get right to keep Stewart or Noguera quiet throughout the full 90 minutes. 

John Helm’s key battles to watch out for

The match between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan was the best in Hero ISL history according to me. I meant it in terms of skill, entertainment and excitement, it was right up there. And I can't wait for the rematch. Mumbai are on a record-breaking run but we all know records are there to be broken. And I feel the Kolkata club has the personnel to be the ones to stop that gallop to the title.

Subhasish Bose-Asish Rai vs Lallianzuala Chhangte-Bipin Singh

The key feature of the Islanders' success has been the width of their attacking play. With (Lallianzuala) Chhangte and Bipin (Singh) both regularly on the scoresheet and the key to ATK Mohun Bagan’s hopes will be coping with the wonders on the wing.

Greg Stewart-Ahmed Jahouh vs Carl McHugh-Lenny Rodrigues

Most matches are settled by what goes on in the middle of the park. So another mouth-watering aspect will be how Juan Ferrando's side contain the combination of (Ahmed) Jahouh and (Greg) Stewart and one key aspect will be ensuring that the ATK Mohun Bagan midfielders manage to cut off the supply to the Mumbai City FC forwards which will go a long way in helping ATK Mohun Bagan achieve success in the match.

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