Bengaluru FC eyeing another good season under Cuadrat in ISL 2020-21
Bengaluru FC’s best finish in ISL: Champions (2018-19), runners-up (2017-18), semi-finalists (2019-20)
Other Trophies: I-League Champions (2013-14, 2015-16), Federation Cup winners (2014-15, 2016-17), Indian Super Cup (2018), AFC Cup Runners-up (2019)
Bengaluru FC coach: Carles Cuadrat
Bengaluru FC have been the most consistent team in the Indian Super League ever since their entry into the competition during the 2017-18 season. After finishing as the runners-up in the tournament in their debut season, Bengaluru FC went on to be the ISL champions in the very next edition. They made it to the semi-finals in the 2019-20 season of the ISL as well and that sums up how consistent they have been.
The main reason behind their success has been continuity. They have had a consistent core group of some of the best Indian football players and overseas talents from around the world. The likes of Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who are considered India's No. 1 striker and goalkeeper respectively, have been with the club since their very first season in the ISL.
Overseas players like Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado have been with them for a couple of years now and that's why it becomes easier to maintain the same consistency across seasons. Bengaluru FC coach Carles Cuadrat has been with the club for three years now as well and he will be eager to bring the same success to Bengaluru in ISL 2020-21 as in the last two years.
How did Bengaluru FC fare in the last ISL season?
Although Bengaluru FC finished third in the league stage in ISL 2019-20, they faced a lot of issues in offence. Even though they conceded the least number of goals (13) among all teams, their inability to score a significant number of goals hurt them in crucial matches. Bengaluru FC had scored the joint-third-least number of goals (22) among all teams last season and that is an area which was responsible for their ouster from the competition in the semi-finals. Apart from Sunil Chhetri, who scored nine out of their 22 goals, none of the other players seemed to have enough penetrating ability to pierce into the opposition's defence. This is an area they will look to address in ISL 2020-21.
Bengaluru FC squad for ISL 2020-21 season
Bengaluru FC lost two of their key defensive players in Nishu Kumar and Rino Anto to Kerala Blasters FC and SC East Bengal in the transfer window. Those are quite big shoes to fill in considering how the two youngsters had performed in the last season but they have hired the services of Pratik Chaudhari from Mumbai City FC and Joe Zoherliana from Aizawl FC for the same roles. Also, the loss of their playmaker Eugeneson Lyngdoh to SC East Bengal has once again been replenished with the signing of the talented youngster Wungngayam Muirang from I-League Club Gokulam FC.
Now to address the offensive issues they faced in the last season, Bengaluru FC have brought an experienced striker like Kristian Opseth from the A-League club Adelaide United. The signing of Cleiton Silva, the 33-year-old Brazilian centre-forward, is another major one whereas Fran Gonzalez from Mohun Bagan is a valuable addition as well. They are expected to provide good support to their ace striker Sunil Chhetri in the ISL 2020-21 as all of them have been proven scorers wherever they have played.
Goalkeepers: Dipesh Chauhan, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma
Defenders: Ajith Kumar, Biswa Darjee, Francisco Gonzalez, Joe Zoherliana, Juanan, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Rahul Bheke, Wungngayam Muirang
Midfielders: Ajay Chhetri, Amay Morajkar, Cleiton Silva, Dimas Delgado, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuha, Erik Paartulu, Harmanjot Khabra, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh
Forwards: Deshorn Brown, Edmund Lalrindika, Kristian Ospeth, Leon Augustin, Ashique Kuruniyan, Naorem Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Semboi Haokip, Udanta Singh
Bengaluru FC predictions for ISL 2020-21
Even though there have been some changes in the Indian contingent of players, Cuadrat still has a strong core of players in Chhetri, Sandhu, Paartalu and Delgado from the last ISL season. They have enough experience to bring the cohesive force to the side once again. More importantly, Bengaluru FC's roster of forwards looks much better in ISL 2020-21 with the arrival of players like Opseth and Silva.
Their proven goalscoring track record bodes well for the club and they might prove themselves to be the real deal this time. It remains to be seen how the defence fares this time though, with the absence of some familiar faces. However, Bengaluru FC still has enough potential on paper to make it to the semi-finals at least.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter.com / @BengaluruFC