Talking Point: Set-pieces to decide the outcome of Mumbai City’s clash with Kerala?

Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC will be aiming to bounce back with a win in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when the two teams square off at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday. Both teams lost their previous outing and will be eager to get a win as well as some momentum under their belt. While the Islanders sit at the summit of the points table, the Blasters find themselves closer to the bottom of the standings and need to register some victories soon for a push towards the top four. Here, we have a look at some of the talking points ahead of the clash between the teams.

Set-piece situations could decide the game’s outcome

Mumbai City have scored 12 goals from set-pieces, while Kerala have conceded nine times from such situations. The Blasters, in fact, have let in a goal from a set-piece in each of their last six matches and their deficiencies while defending such situations is further highlighted by the fact that they’ve conceded eight out of 14 goals from set-pieces in their last eight matches. While it’s likely that they will struggle to defend such situations against Mumbai City, it’s worth mentioning that Kerala have excelled from set-pieces attacking-wise. They have scored nine goals from set-pieces and will be up against a Mumbai City team that’s conceded from set-pieces in each of their last two matches. The last time the teams met, the Islanders netted from the spot and scored directly from a pass off a goal-kick to win the match 2-0.

Kerala’s defence keeps letting them down

In what’s been the story of their season, Kerala Blasters’ leaky defence continues to undo some of the good work by their attacking players. The Blasters have conceded more goals (25) than any other team this season and the fact that they have given away six penalties – the most in Hero ISL 2020-21 – makes things worse. They lost after having a two-goal lead in their last game and it was just the latest example of them throwing away points after being in a position of strength. Kerala, in fact, have lost 13 points after scoring the first goal and must address their defensive deficiencies soon.

Mumbai City to get out of a lean spell?

The Islanders’ 2-1 loss to NorthEast United FC last time around brought an end to their 12-match unbeaten run in the league. Mumbai City had shown signs of slowing down prior to the defeat to the Highlanders and have now collected just one win from their last four games. Their first 10 matches of the campaign saw them drop points just twice, while the last four has seen them drop points in three games with an average of less than a goal per match in those games. Their goal conversion rate from the first 10 matches to the last four has dropped to 5.55% from 15.31%. However, the Islanders have too much quality in the squad for this lean spell to continue and Kerala’s underwhelming defence is perhaps the perfect opposition for them to rediscover their form.

 

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