Being the traditional powerhouses of Indian football, Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan carry the burden of expectations of their fans and are expected to win titles and trophies whenever they compete.
East Bengal, though, have failed to win a national league title since the 2003-04 season and have not won a cup competitions since their Federation Cup triumph in 2012. On top of that, they had a nightmare of an outing in their debut Indian Super League (ISL) season last year.
Thus, the Kolkata side will be eager to brush off all the negativity in the upcoming 2021-22 ISL season.
The team began training in the second week of October and have already played three friendly matches against Vasco, Salgaocar and Gokulam Kerala. They have been victorious in each of the three matches. Their campaign kick-starts on November 22 against Jamshedpur FC.
East Bengal Squad
Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharya, Sankar Roy, Suvam Sen.
Defenders: Haobam Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Daniel Gomes, Adil Khan, Hira Mondal, Sarineo Fernandes, Joyner Lourenco, Tomislav Mrcela, Franjo Prce.
Midfielders: Mohammed Rafique, Wahengbam Angousana, Bikash Jairu, Loken Meitei, Songpu Singsit, Sourav Das, Amarjit Singh, Jackichand Singh, Romeo Fernandes, Amir Dervisevic, Darren Sidoel.
Forwards: Daniel Chima, Antonio Perosevic, Subha Ghosh, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Semboi Haokip.
What are the strengths of East Bengal?
The Kolkata giants have made several changes to their squad from last season and have also got a new coach in Manolo Diaz who replaced Robbie Fowler at the helm this season. They have also added some big Indian names to their roster like last season’s Golden Glove winner Arindam Bhattacharya, former national team defender Adil Khan, Amarjit Singh and Jackichand Singh.
With Arindam in between the sticks, they have a seasoned campaigner who would help organise the defence. In the middle of the park, they have quality Indian midfielders like Sourav Das and Amarjit, who is looking to revive his club career after two disappointing campaigns due to injuries. Jackichand Singh has struggled to hit the highs of his career and will look to replicate his form from FC Goa days which catapulted him into the limelight. Among the foreign midfielder recruits, East Bengal have signed former Ajax academy graduate Darren Sidoel and Amir Dervisevic, who played for NK Maribor in Slovenia.
What are the weaknesses of East Bengal?
While the Red and Golds have managed to sign an experienced player like Adil Khan in central defence, they have several young full-backs in their squad who will be playing in the ISL for the very first time. So, the lack of experience in the backline will be a concern for their Spanish manager Manolo Diaz. The club, though, have signed two foreign central defenders Tomislav Mrcela and Franjo Prce and a lot will depend on how the overseas players perform for the Kolkata side.
Who are the key players of East Bengal?
The three key players of East Bengal who can prove to be the difference-makers are Amir Dervisevic, Darren Sidoel and Arindam Bhattacharya.
What are the fixtures of East Bengal?
All matches are to kick off at 7:30 pm IST.
|Nov 21||7:30 PM||East Bengal vs Jamshedpur FC|
|Nov 27||7:30 PM||East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan|
|Nov 30||7:30 PM||Odisha FC vs East Bengal|
|Dec 3||7:30 PM||Chennaiyin FC vs East Bengal|
|Dec 7||7:30 PM||East Bengal vs FC Goa|
|Dec 12||7:30 PM||East Bengal vs Kerala Blasters|
|Dec 17||7:30 PM||NorthEast United vs East Bengal|
|Dec 23||7:30 PM||Hyderabad FC vs East Bengal|
|Jan 4||7:30 PM||Bengaluru FC vs East Bengal|
|Jan 7||7:30 PM||East Bengal vs Mumbai City|