Talking Point: Can Chennaiyin stop ATK Mohun Bagan from entering 2021 as league leaders?

ATK Mohun Bagan have a chance to enter the new year right at the summit of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) table when they play Chennaiyin FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday. And all they need is a point from their game against the Marina Machans. Chennaiyin FC, with two wins and two defeats in seven matches, will have to play out of their skin to get the better of a side that has won five games so far out of seven. Ahead of the encounter let’s take a look at some factors which could influence the outcome in a big way.  

Sylvestr key to creating chances for Chennaiyin FC

In the absence of Esmael Goncalves -- sidelined due to injury -- Jakub Sylvestr has been Chennaiyin’s main attack threat. Although the Slovakian has scored just once, he has been the creative spark for the Marina Machans this season. The forward assisted twice against SC East Bengal in their last game. Having created 21 chances for the Marina Machans so far, he is the league’s best chance-creator ahead of the likes of Hugo Boumous and Brandon Fernandes. But with just one goal in 19 goal attempts, Sylvestr hasn’t been that effective and Tuesday could be the day to show his goal-scoring prowess.  

ATK Mohun Bagan are a balanced unit

ATK Mohun Bagan have a strong squad of players and have shown that they are a cohesive team. Defensively, the Mariners have conceded just three goals in seven matches and are yet to concede from open play this season. Offensively, ATK Mohun Bagan will be happy with the form of David Williams, who scored the solitary goal that secured a win over Bengaluru FC in their last match. Roy Krishna has also been in good form with five goals in seven matches, which shows that Antonio Lopez Habas has built a balanced side and it will take a humungous effort from Chennaiyin to take them down a peg or two.  

Chennaiyin attack improving but there is room for more

With three goals in their first five matches, Chennaiyin FC’s attack did not have the best of starts but their numbers have improved in their last two games. The Marina Machans will also be happy with the fact they have six different goalscorers, and with four goals in their last two matches, they can hope to break down the ATK Mohun Bagan defence. However, Chennaiyin will need to do more with their chances: they had seven out of their 12 shots off target against SC East Bengal and with 33 shots inside the box in their last four games, they only have five goals to show from 18 shots on target.

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