Match 35 Preview: Kerala Blasters FC face daunting Mumbai City FC challenge
Mumbai City FC lock horns with Kerala Blasters FC in match 35 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.
The table-toppers have won all games so far barring thanks to their consistent display of incredible performances whereas Kerala Blasters FC will look to pick themselves up after a draw in their last game.
Mumbai City FC
The Islanders are on a 4-game winning streak after their defeat against Hyderabad FC in their second game. The Islanders sit on top of the table with 15 points and have scored the most number of goals in the league so far (17).
Kerala Blasters FC
Ivan Vukomanovic’s men have won one and drawn thrice in their last four games since their defeat against ATK Mohun Bagan in the season opener, as they sit seventh in the league table with six points.
The two sides have faced each other 14 times, with Mumbai City FC being the triumphant one in six of those encounters while Kerala Blasters FC winning the fixture just twice, while the remaining six fixtures have ended in draws.
Remarkably, Kerala Blasters FC have been winless against Mumbai City FC over the past three seasons, with their last win coming in the 2017-18 season.
No injury concerns in the Islanders camp as the players are fresh and ready for Sunday’s match.
In the Kerala Blasters FC camp, custodian Albino Gomes will go through further examination, and Rahul KP is expected to be back in training in the first week of January with coach Vukomanovic hopeful of seeing him on the pitch in the second half of fixtures.
Set-Pieces for the win?
Mumbai City FC have scored the most goals from set-pieces (9) this season. The Islanders have at least scored one goal from a set-piece in five of their six matches this season and have scored four headed goals this season, the most by any team in this season so far.
Alvaro Vazquez - The Talisman for Kerala Blasters FC
The Spanish forward has scored two goals in his last two matches - being the only player for his side to score more than one goal this season. Vazquez had 30 touches of the ball against SC East Bengal in their last game, 17 of which came in the final third of the pitch. Surely, Vazquez will be a worrying factor for the defenders.
Mumbai City FC
Ahmed Jahouh: The midfielder has been nothing short of magnificent for the Islanders in this season. The 33-year-old is the powerhouse of Mumbai City FC, having the most touches by any player in his team as well as in the league (532).
Besides being the top assist provider in the league (5), he has also created the 2nd most chances (16) this season, behind only Greg Stewart. Defensively, Jahouh has made the most interceptions (13) and tackles (43), highest among Mumbai City FC players.
Kerala Blasters FC
Adrian Luna: The midfielder is a vital cog in Kerala Blasters FC’s transitional attack as well as defense, being heavily involved in the build-up for the goal, providing three assists out of five games.
The 29-year-old has made 18 tackles, four interceptions, and five blocks in the defensive department. Luna’s relentless stamina is a boost for Kerala Blasters FC in pressing, counter-pressing, and defending.
Match Timings and Telecast Details
Match: Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
Date: 19th December 2021
Venue: Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Goa
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 3, Hindi Commentary on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu