Hero ISL 2022-23, Kerala Blasters FC preview: With fans back, Vukomanovic’s Yellow Army look to go all the way

Kerala Blasters FC’s journey in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has been through extremes. Great highs and painful lows.

The Kochi-based side has reached three Hero ISL finals but have also finished campaigns at the wrong end of the table.

There have been no shortage of heartbreaks as they have lost all three finals, two of those on penalties and the other by a solitary goal that came late on in the game.

Season

Outcome

2014

4th Place (Finalist)

2015

8th Place (Bottom of the League)

2016

2nd Place (Finalist)

2017-18

6th Place

2018-19

9th Place

2019-20

7th Place

2020-21

10th Place

2021-22

4th Place (Finalist)

Under head coach Ivan Vukomanovic, there is renewed enthusiasm around the Blasters that saw them almost claim the title last season as they lost to Hyderabad FC on penalties in the final.

But this season, with their passionate fans back in the stands to support them, the Kochi based side may just have enough to go all the way and win their first Hero ISL title.

Team composition and transfer dealings

Kerala Blasters FC have a nice blend of youth and experience with 17 players in their squad being below the age of 25. They have opted for experience in the defensive area and youthful exuberance in the forward line. The two foreign centre-forwards have plenty of matches under their belts and the rest of the attack will be expected to play around Apostolos Giannou and Dimitrios Diamantakos.

There were a lot of high-profile exits from the team as Alvaro Vazquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Enes Sipovic all left the club, but the Yellow Army did well in recruiting their replacements as Giannou, Diamantakos and Victor Mongil are able replacements.

Transfers:

INs: Apostolos Giannou, Dimitrios Diamantakos, Victor Mongil, Bryce Miranda, Saurav Mandal, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi, Bidyashagar Singh.

OUTs: Vincy Barretto, Alvaro Vazquez, Enes Sipovic, Chencho Gyeltshen, Prashanth K, Abdul Hakku, Sreekuttan VS, Subha Ghosh, Anil Gaonkar, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Denechandra Meetei, Seityasen Singh, Albino Gomes

To see the full squad of Kerala Blasters FC, click here 

Expert’s Take

Jo Paul Ancheri on Kerala Blasters FC squad: This year Kerala Blasters FC’s team is very balanced. They have brought in good new players with a combination of existing players. Playing with the same midfield from last season but with new striking power. They did very well in the preseason as well. In goal, I expect Prabhsukhan Singh Gill to continue to do very well after a strong last season. The head coach Ivan Vukomanovic is likely to use the same formation but each player’s duty will be different.

Jo Paul Ancheri on Kerala Blasters FC’s transfers: Kerala Blasters FC managed to fill the void left by the departure of their two strikers by adding two new options. They also made some good Indian signings.

Jo Paul Ancheri’s Kerala Blasters FC players to watch out for: Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Victor Mongil, Apostolos Giannou, Ivan Kaliuzhnyi and Sahal Abdul Samad.

Fixtures

Kerala Blasters FC begin with two back-to-back home games against Kolkata giants – East Bengal FC on October 7 and ATK Mohun Bagan on October 16.

The Yellow Army end their league phase campaign against Hero ISL champions Hyderabad FC in Kochi.

For full fixtures of Kerala Blasters FC, click here.

Jo Paul Ancheri’s verdict on Kerala Blasters FC: Champions. After three defeats in the finals, Kerala Blasters FC will get their hands on the Hero ISL trophy.

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