Kerala Blasters FC will be looking to clinch the title this season under Kibu Vicuna. The new-look Kerala Blasters is all set to conquer for the title in Indian Super League. The club has appointed I-League winning Spaniard Kibu Vicuna as their head coach for their new campaign. The fans are having huge expectations on Kibu after a successful season with Mohun Bagan in I-league.
The management has also done a good work in the off-season as well to rope-in some good names. Although, they lost some key players from last season likes of Sandesh Jhingan and Bartholomew Ogbeche. The team wil play their first game against new entrants ATK Mohun Bagan FC in the season opener. The Kochi-based club will miss their 12th man from the stands as the game is taking place in Goa due to Coronavirus outbreak.
Kerala Blasters has had a rollercoaster in their performances in past seasons. Fans will be hoping for a change in fortune with this new roster. The club reached finals in the inaugural season, although finished at last in the next season. This has been the story and the club is yet to win a major trophy in Indian Football. With huge investment on the new signings a successful season this term is definitely on cards for the yellow army.
Last season Eelco Schattorie failed to make an impact in the side as a coach. The club failed to reach the playoffs yet again for the third time in a row. Injuries hit the club hard last season with their senior stars sidelined for the entire tournament. However, they’ll be keen to bounce back stronger this season.
Kerala Blasters FC Full squad and Ratings
Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Khan, Prabsukhan Singh Gill, Shabir Khan
Kerala Blasters have made signings with future as their prime consideration. After the appointment of Karolis Skinkys as the football director, Kerala Blasters are now having a clear map in their vision. The club have gone for a young side and mainly in their goalkeeping department. However, they have roped in Albino Gomes this transfer window.
Bilal Khan is expected to keep the goal this season although Albino can be an better option for Kibu. Indian Arrows goalie Prabsukhan Singh Gill will also be available for Kibu Vicuna to gaurd their goal.
Defenders: Abdul Hakku, Bakary Kone, Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro, Lalruatthara, Nishu Kumar, Sandeep Singh
Kibu Vicuna won’t have a problem in the heart of defense. Kerala Blasters have managed to rope in a brilliant defensive pair this term. Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu is expected to pair-up in the centre-back position. However, followers will miss Jhingan in their defensive set-up.
They also have Abdul Hakku as a backup option if things don’t work well with Costa-Kone combination. Goan full-back Jessel Carneiro had a good season under Eelco last term in ISL. He’ll once again don the left side of park for the Kerala club. While, new signing Nishu Kumar will play from the right-back position. Lalruatthara and Sandeep will also wait for their chances to impress new coach.
Midfielders: Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Vicente Gomez, Lathathanga Khwalhring, Givson Singh, Nongdamba Naorem, Prashanth Karuthadathkuni, Rahul KP, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar, Sahal Abdul Samad, Seityasen Singh, Sergio Cidoncha, Yendrembam Denechandra
The midfield department for the Blasters is really impressive comparing other sides. This set-up has all the firepower and energy to take down opposition. Addition of experienced midfielder Vincente Gomez has made it more stronger. The key strength of Blasters midfield is Indian players in their side.
Jeakson Singh, Naorem and Rahul KP are expected to be in the starting eleven. However, fan favourite Sahal Abdul Samad might be opted over Jeakson Singh. Noarem will be a treat for the fans, who had a brilliant season for Mohun Bagan last season in I-League. He managed to secure five assists and two goals under Kibu Vicuna.
Forwards: Facundo Pereyra, Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan
Similair to their midfield lineup, Kerala Blasters has super destructive pair. Gary Hooper and Jordan Murray could prove to be a big threat to the oppositions. The pair could also be joined by South-American forward Facundo Pereyra, who is currently injured and expected to be back soon fit.
Former Norwich forward Gary Hooper will don the Kerala Blasters jersey in 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League. The 32-year-old striker has a record of scoring number of goals, wherever he plays. He replicated the same for Wellington Pheonix last season with eight goals in 21 appearances. He also managed to get five assists in A-League last season. The English forward will now play under Vicuna for Kerala Blasters this season.
The forward is considered to be the replacement of Bartholomew Ogbeche, who scored 15 goals for the side last season. We have to wait and watch if Hooper can fill in the boots of Ogbeche.
Kerala Blasters have a good attacking setup but that can be possible if they’re allowed to move forward. New Spanish recruit Vincente Gomez will have to do the exact role of that in the midfield for Blasters. The defensive midfielder has made over 300 appearances in Spain for clubs like Las Palmas and Deportivo La Coruña.
The 32-year-old midfielder needs to imply an anchoring role in the midfield for Blasters. Vincente’s addition for sure be a big boost for the entire side. Vicuna will be expecting his countrymen to produce the perfect number 6 role for Blasters.
Kerala Blasters FC Probable Line-up
Bilal Khan (GK); Bakary Kone, Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro, Nishu Kumar; Jeakson Singh, Vicente Gomez; Facundo Pereyra, Rahul KP, Nongdamba Naorem; Gary Hooper
Kerala Blasters FC Fixtures (Till Round-10)
20th November – Kerala Blasters vs ATK Mohun Bagan
26th November – Kerala Blasters vs NorthEast United FC
29th November – Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters
06th December – FC Goa vs Kerala Blasters FC
13th December – Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
20th December – Kerala Blasters FC vs SC Ast Bengal
27th December – Kerala Blasters FC vs Hyderabad FC
02nd January – Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
07th January – Kerala Blasters FC vs Odisha FC
10th January – Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters
Kerala Blasters FC Season Prediction
Kerala Blasters haven’t been doing good in the past three seasons. They could have gone on to the next stage of Indian Super League last season. But, failed to reach play-offs by an inch. But, the side is looking strong on paper and Vicuna just needs to implement this on the field. They’ll have a check on very first game of the season against ATK Mohun Bagan. Kibu will also look to do everything in his power to guide his team to glory.
Predicted Finish: 5th