Hero ISL 2022-23, Bengaluru FC preview: Buoyed by Durand Cup win, Blues look to get back to their best

It’s been a journey of highs and lows for Bengaluru FC during their five seasons in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) so far. Since their entry into the league during the Hero ISL 2017-18 edition, the Blues consistently qualified for the semi-finals in their first three seasons.

BFC topped the league and ended as finalists in their debut Hero ISL season, and then claimed their first Hero ISL crown the following season. The Blues were also a force to be reckoned with during the 2019-20 edition, finishing as semi-finalists.

However, the last two seasons since then have turned out to be underwhelming for the Blues. Bengaluru FC have not managed to secure a semi-final spot, finishing seventh and sixth on two occasions during this time.

Now, with a new manager at the helm in Simon Grayson and with a revamped squad stacked with big names, the Blues will be aiming to bring back the glory days.

Going by their pre-season, they seem to be on the right track, having clinched the Durand Cup title, which is their first silverware in three years.

Season

Outcome

2017-18

Finalists

2018-19

Champions

2019-20

Semi-finalists

2020-21

7th place

2021-22

6th place

Team Composition and Transfer Dealings

The Blues overall have a young squad along with some notable names who bring plenty of experience.

Starting from the back, the Blues have completely overhauled their backline bringing in dynamic full-back Hira Mondal alongside some experienced names in Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan and Aleksandar Jovanovic.

Furthermore, the addition of Javi Hernandez will offer creativity and spark to their midfield. The Blues have also secured the services of Roy Krishna, the fourth all-time leading Hero ISL goal scorer and the Fijian’s partnership alongside Sunil Chhetri will be one to watch out for.

Transfers:

INs: Amrit Gope, Prabir Das, Hira Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Javi Hernandez, Roy Krishna, Faisal Ali.

OUTs: Ashique Kuruniyan, Ajith Kumar, Cleiton Silva, Iman Basafa, Bidyashagar Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Sarthak Golui, Yaya Banana, Yrondu Musavu-King,  Pratik Chaudhari.

To see the full squad of Bengaluru FC, click here.

Expert’s take:

Pradhyum Reddy on Bengaluru FC’s squad:

On paper, the signings look to be an upgrade from the players that have departed. Roy Krishna will be better suited to Simon Grayson’s style of play. Prabir Das brings in more experience, is better going forward & equally versatile defensively. The addition of Sandesh Jhingan is a no-brainer while Aleksandar Jovanovic is a top quality Asian signing. Ashique Kuruniyan is a loss that they have not properly replaced, but if used wisely, Sivasakthi Narayanan can step in with some crucial goals than what Ashique did during his time at BFC.

Pradhyum Reddy on Bengaluru FC’s transfer business:

Bengaluru FC have made some smart signings in Prabir Das & Roy Krishna, but the jury is still out when it comes to their midfield with Javi Hernandez, Danish Farooq, Bruno Ramires, Suresh Wangjam, and Jayesh Rane offering a selection conundrum for head coach Simon Grayson.

Overall, the Blues have made some astute signings, but there will also be pressure on them to make it to the top six.

Pradhyum Reddy Bengaluru FC’s players to watch out for: Roy Krishna. The former ATK Mohun Bagan frontman will be rejuvenated and will have a point to prove.

Fixtures

The Blues will host NorthEast United FC in their opening game followed by a tricky run of fixtures as they face Chennaiyin FC, Hyderabad FC and Odisha FC in their next three.

Their final game will also be played at home as Simon Grayson’s side take on FC Goa, in what will be a rematch of the Hero ISL 2018-19 final. 

For full fixtures of Bengaluru, click here.

Pradhyum Reddy’s verdict: BFC will definitely make the top six.

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