Talking Point: Strongest attack vs meanest defence to take centre stage in Mumbai City-ATK Mohun Bagan tie

Match 55 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 promises to be one of the most exciting ones of the season as table-toppers Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan lock horns at the Fatorda Stadium on Monday. The Islanders are unbeaten in their last eight games and currently have a two-point lead over ATK Mohun Bagan at the top of the standings. The winner of Monday’s clash will be in a good position to top the standings after the league stage, making it a match that neither side will want to lose. Both sides are stacked with stars all over the pitch and here we assess some of the factors that could determine who emerges triumphant from the game.

Strongest attack in the league against the meanest defence

A battle between contrasting styles, Monday’s match will witness two very different brands of football on display. While Mumbai City have become renowned for their possession-based brand of football under head coach Sergio Lobera, ATK Mohun Bagan’s counter-attacking style under Antonio Lopez Habas has put most of their opponents to the sword. The two sides’ unique footballing philosophies have seen them go from strength to strength. For Mumbai City, it’s their feared attack that’s the best in the league with 16 goals netted so far. ATK Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, can pride themselves on their defence which is the meanest in the league having kept seven clean sheets and let in just three goals all season – all of which came from set-pieces.

Multiple sources of goals versus a few

Goal-scoring is essential for any side and if teams want to challenge for top honours, the more sources of goals a team has the better. The Islanders excel in this regard having seen eight different players from their team score so far. No other team in Hero ISL 2020-21 have more different goal-scorers than Mumbai City, which is a testament to the side’s ability not to be overly reliant on any particular individual. However, the same cannot be said about ATK Mohun Bagan since they have just three different goal-scorers so far. Roy Krishna, with six goals, has been their main man up front. Manvir Singh and David Williams are the other two goalscorers. The Kolkata giants will know that they need other players from their team to step up and score with individuals like Edu Garcia, Jayesh Rane and Bradden Inman in the squad.

Potentially a game of two halves on the cards

If both teams’ previous matches are to be taken into consideration then it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the two sides excelling in one half and being underwhelming in the other. While this is more applicable for ATK Mohun Bagan than Mumbai City, it’s worth pointing out that the Islanders have scored 10 of their 16 goals in the first half. The last two games, in particular, showed how Mumbai City like to get off the blocks quickly with early goals. Conversely, the Mariners seem to be a second-half team having netted just one of their 10 goals in the opening period.

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