Talking point: Can Bengaluru take advantage of Mumbai City’s recent defensive shortcomings?
Mumbai City FC face off against Bengaluru FC in Match 95 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday. The Islanders secured a 3-1 victory over the Blues in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and will look to do the double over them and boost their cause in terms of ending the league stage on top with few matches to go. However, with the Blues almost out of contention for a semi-final berth, they can be expected to play freely and without fear, and Mumbai City can be at the receiving end. Sergio Lobera’s men will do well to remember that. Here, we look at the some of the talking points ahead of the game that could influence the outcome.
The Islanders’ defence has faltered in recent times
At the beginning of the season, Mumbai City prided themselves on their all-round balance in both defence and attack. However, in their last four matches, their defending has been sub-par. After keeping eight clean sheets in their first 12 matches, the Islanders have not kept a clean sheet in their last four games, conceding seven goals in the process as well. A clear example of their dip in form was evident when the Islanders gave away their lead against FC Goa twice in their last game. The likes of Hernan Santana and Mourtada Fall will need to step up against a Bengaluru attack with little to lose.
Can the Blues cause a dent in Mumbai City’s top-spot aspirations?
The Blues have been far from their usual best this season. They have conceded more goals (21) than they have scored (19). Playing against one of the best teams in the division might prove to be a daunting task, but the Blues have the quality in their ranks to cause an upset. Mumbai City need a win to keep the pressure on ATK Mohun Bagan for the top spot, and Bengaluru can take advantage of their leaky defence, hurting them on the counter with their young, speedy players like Suresh Wangjam and Udanta Singh.
Hugo Boumous’ absence can hurt Mumbai City
Against the Blues, Mumbai City will be without their start performer Hugo Boumous, who has two goals and seven assists so far this season. The absence of Boumous will be a huge blow to the Islanders. His nine-goal contribution is the most by a midfielder in Hero ISL 2020-21 and there is no doubt his quality makes Mumbai City formidable in attack. He scored the opening goal against FC Goa, before assisting Rowllin Borges for their third goal. It will be interesting to see how the Islanders cope with his absence.