The final of the 2019/20 Indian Super League season is on the cards while battles for glory in other leagues have also intensified. ATK will fancy themselves against two-times champions Chennaiyin FC in the final for ISL.
ATK, after going 1-0 down against Bengaluru FC in the first leg of the semi-final, turned the tables with an astounding 3-1 win in the return leg at home. That said, an interesting final is lined up for the ISL faithful on Saturday. For those keeping a tab on Nostragamus fanatsy, these players are here to ease your selection dilemma.
Player: Nerijus Valskis
Team: Chennaiyin FC
Match: Chennaiyin FC vs ATK
The “kis” of Lithuania, Nerijus Valskis has banged in 14 goals and six assists for Chennaiyin FC and is one of the reasons why his side managed to defy odds late in the campaign. When FC Goa eliminated the three-goal deficit in the second leg against Chennai, it was Valskis’ 59-minute strike that helped them go through.
Nerijus Valskis is fourth in the run for the golden boot this season, tied with Ferran Corominas and trailing just a goal behind Bartholomew Ogbeche of Kerala Blasters and ATK's Roy Krishna.
Valskis would be an important cog in Owen Coyle’s team if they want to win their third ISL title.
Player: Ciro Immobile
Match: Atalanta vs Lazio
Lazio are challenging for the Serie A title and are giving a star-studded Juventus a run for their money. This has been made possible because of the amazing goal scoring form of their talismanic centre-forward, Ciro Immobile. The 30-year-old has been in a mind-numbing form this season, scoring 27 goals and seven assists for the Eagles.
Apart from his amazing exploits, Lazio have only lost twice when Immobile has scored and only once away. So, when they travel to Atleti Azzurri d'Italia to face fourth-placed Atalanta, they will be rather confident with Immobile upfront. If Lazio want to keep the pressure on piling up on Juventus, they will have to keep winning which surely looks like the “Italian Job”.
Player: Timo Werner
Team: RB Leipzig
Match: RB Leipzig vs SC Freiburg
21 goals and seven assists, that’s how the 24-year-old German has replied to the critics who questioned his abilities. Timo Werner has looked a lot clinical this season and couple that with his blistering pace, no wonder he schools defences on his own.
Werner already has an incredible record against Freiburg who have conceded 10 goals in nine matches against Leipzig. So, picking Werner against Freiburg on a home fixture is practically a no-brainer.
Player: Karim Benzema
Team: Real Madrid
Match: Real Madrid vs Eibar
Probably one of the most successful strikers in the history, Karim Benzema has scored 14 goals and assisted six for Los Blancos in La Liga this season as they stay on the heels of Barcelona.
Benzema is second in the top scorers’ list in the league, six behind none other than Lionel Messi. Even in the tumultuous 2018/19 season, Benzema was the shining light for the Whites, scoring 30 goals in all competitions. The 32-year-old will be one of the most important players for his team if his manager, Zinedine Zidane wants to replicate the success of his previous stint.
Player: Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
Match: Manchester City vs Arsenal
The performance of Mikel Arteta’s team has bene quite convincing so far, and the one player who has been the reason they have made a significant progress is their Gabonese forward and club captain, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. When the team is in the ninth place of the table, and he is on the top of the goal-scorers’ chart with Jamie Vardy at 17, you have to believe in the ability of the player.
Aubameyang has been influential in Arsenal’s resurgence under Arteta and after the Xhaka episode. Arsenal are unbeaten in thier last eight Premier League this season, so when they go to Etihad Stadium to face the defending champions, Manchester City, a lot will depend on Aubameyang.
Judging by the fact that it is only an eight-point gap between them and the top-four spot, it won’t be fanciful if they go for the win.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Oscar Del Pozo