Talking Point: Will Odisha’s attack come good against Bengaluru’s mean defence?
Odisha FC will be looking for their first win in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they take on Bengaluru FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Thursday. The Bhubaneswar-based club are winless this season and will be eager for maximum points against a Bengaluru side that will head into the match on the back of a thrilling win over Kerala Blasters FC. Here’s a closer look at some of the key factors that could dictate which side emerges on top.
Arshdeep Singh won’t be easy to beat
Odisha’s goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh has been a silver lining for the club in what has otherwise been an underwhelming campaign for them so far. He’s played two matches for them this season and has made 11 saves for Odisha during that time. Of the 13 shots on target that he’s faced so far, Arshdeep has let in just two goals – one of which was a penalty. He made eight saves in his team’s last outing against FC Goa, including a couple of stunning double saves that frustrated the Gaurs. In light of his form, Arshdeep appears the biggest threat to Bengaluru.
Chhetri could become the first Indian with 50 Hero ISL goal contributions
Sunil Chhetri had 39 goals as well as seven assists in 74 matches before the start of this season and he’s added two more goals and an assist to his tally in the ongoing campaign. He’s header against Kerala in Bengaluru’s last game indicated that the Indian legend is hitting top form and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s involved in another goal for Bengaluru against Odisha. Chhetri currently has 41 goals as well as eight assists from 79 matches and another goal or assist by him against Odisha will see him become the first Indian to be involved in 50 Hero ISL goals. He scored against Odisha once last season and it will take a brave man to bet against him doing the same on Thursday.
Odisha attackers need to start firing
The Bhubaneswar-based club have not scored in four of their five matches so far. They scored twice against Jamshedpur when Owen Coyle’s men were down to 10 men and are the only team who are yet to score a goal against 11 men this season. Odisha are averaging just 2.4 shots on target per match so far and their main attacking threats Marcelo Pereira and Manuel Onwu need to start firing soon if they want a change in fortunes. Marcelo hasn’t enjoyed much game time this season and has had just one shot on target in five matches, while Onwu has three shots on target. Now’s the time for the likes of Marcelo, Onwu and Diego Mauricio to step up and breathe some life into Odisha’s campaign.