ISL 2020/21 Team Preview: ATK-Mohun Bagan gearing up for another memorable season
Claim to fame: ISL Champions (2014, 2016, 2019-20)
Head Coach: Antonio Lopez Habas
ATK-Mohun Bagan are already the most successful club in the history of the Indian Super League. They have won the title a total of three times and were champions in the previous season as well. But this edition is going to be even more eventful for them after their merger with I-League club Mohun Bagan ahead of the season.
Over the years, ATK had developed their own fanbase in the ISL owing to their attractive brand of attacking football. And now, with an iconic club like Mohun Bagan merging with them, the support for the Kolkata-based franchise is expected to go through the roof.
Mohun Bagan is one of the most storied and successful clubs in the history of Indian football. They won India's top-flight football league a record five times, the I-League twice and the National Football League three times as well. No other club has won the Federation Cup more times than Mohun Bagan (14). Overall, the club has won 253 Trophies till date and those include the Durand Cup (16 times), IFA Shield (22 times), and the Calcutta Football League (30 times). So their merger with ATK is only going to enhance the reputation of the club, and the ISL, further.
How did they fare in the last ISL season?
Their previous outing in the ISL 2019-20 season was as flawless as it could have been. ATK finished second in the league stage and then went on to lift the trophy beating FC Goa and Bengaluru FC in the semi-final and final respectively. The team was very balanced in terms of both defence and offence. They were the second-best team in terms of both goals scored (33) and conceded (16).
How is the squad shaping up for this season?
The club has made only a few changes to their roster from the previous edition. Most of their star players from last season -- David Williams, Roy Krishna, Javier Hernandez and Edu Garcia -- have been retained. Moreover, the club has also signed long term deals with Indian youngsters like Manvir Singh and Sumit Rathi.
ATK-Mohun Bagan have also been bolstered by the arrival of Indian defender Sandesh Jhingan to the club. The former Kerala Blasters defender has added some more depth to their defence and has freed up Habas to use their overseas contingent of players in the offensive lines mostly. His arrival gives Habas the freedom to field an all Indian defence without any worry. No other club in the ISL enjoys the luxury of having such quality Indian defenders in their ranks.
The Kolkata-based club have also hired the services of the rising Indian star Glan Martins, who specialises in playing as a defensive midfielder. Bradden Inman from A-League is also a quality addition to their roster. The pairing of Roy Krishna and David Williams up top did wonders for ATK last season and the arrival of Inman will make it a proper three-pronged attack. Edu Garcia is also there to bring the scoring prowess from the midfield and that makes it quite the top four to deal with.
Expectations from the 2020/21 season
After last season's success, Habas will only want to go one step further this time around. He has a very strong and capable squad at his disposal and thus a top-four finish looks guaranteed in this season once again. But, along with defending their ISL title, ATK-Mohun Bagan will also have their eyes firmly set on winning the AFC Cup as well.
GK: Arindam Bhattacharya, Arsh Shaikh, Dheeraj Singh
Defenders: Anas Edathodika, John Johnson, Tiri, Ankit Mukherjee, Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Salam Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose, Sumit Rathi
Midfielders: Armando Sosa Pena, Bradden Inman, Javier Hernandez, Glan Martins, Pronay Halder, Regin Michael, Sahil Sheikh
Forwards: David Williams, Edu Garcia, Jayesh Rane, Jobby Justin, Komal Thatal, Manvir Singh, Michael Soosairaj, Roy Krishna
Feature image courtesy: Twiter.com / @atkmohunbaganfc