HAVING WON THE ISL CROWN 3 TIMES IN 2014-15 (INAUGRAL SEASON), 2016-17 AND 2019-20 ATK-MOHUN BAGAN FC ARE BACK TO DEFEND THEIR TITLE ON 20th NOVEMBER
They started their 2014-15 season under the coaching of Antonio Lopez Habas and their marquee Luis Garcia, a former UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2005. They won the ISL Title by beating Kerala Blasters 1-0 in the added time goal. Habas used mainly a 4-2-3-1 formation which would eventually turn to 4-3-3 on the ground.
In the 2015-16 season they signed Helder Postiga as their marquee player after they released Luis Gracia. They also signed Iain Hume who helped Kerala reach the finals in the previous season. They qualified for playoffs but were beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Chennaiyin FC. In March 2016, Habas left the club due to some issues with the club and joined FC Pune City.
For the 2016-17 season, another spainish manager, Jose Molina (former manager of Villareal) took over. ATK were crowned champions again for the 2nd time after beating Kerala Blasters 4-3 on penalties, after scores were level 1-1 after full time. They used the same tactics which led them to their first ISL title.
ATK had two of the most disappointing seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19, with Teddy Sheringham and Steve Coppell, former Manchester United players as managers respectively.
The only plus point for the 2018-19 season was that ATK appointed Sanjoy Sen as their technical director to sign some of the best local as well as international players.
With the establishment of Super Cup in 2017-18 season, as a successsor to Federation Cup, ATK did not even qualify for the quater finals after losing 3-1 to FC Goa. They finished as a 4th placed team in 2018-19 Super Cup after a 3-1 loss to Real Kashmir.
In 2019-20 season, ATK became the first team to win the 3rd crown of ISL after defeating Chennaiyin FC 3-1. On 1st July 2020, ATK merged with Asia’s most successsful club, Mohun Bagan A.C. to be named as ATK MOHUN BAGAN.
A LOOK AT THE STYLE OF PLAY WHICH COULD BE USED IN 2020-21 SEASON
Having Antonio Habas as their manager is a blessing for ATK Mohun Bagan. He is a manager who can loves to play a very attacking football which also requires a lot of work rate for the players. He also demands a high pressing line which is quite fulfilled by the likes of Roy Krishna and David Williams.
Being himself a spainish international, he has roped in some finest spainish players for the 2020-21 season by retaining both Edu Garcia and Javi Hernandez, and also re-signing Tiri as a free agent from Jamshedpur FC who played a part in the title winning season of ATK in the 2016-17 season.
ATK Mohun Bagan has one of the most balanced squads with a quality of foreign as well as home grown players. With the signing of Sandesh Jhingan and retention of Sumit Rathi, along with Tiri as their options to play as centre-backs; Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya who has a lot of experience, and the 20 year old Dheeraj Singh who represented India in the U-17 World Cup; in the midfield ATK MB has the likes of Indian players like Pronay Halder, Michael Soosairaj and Jayesh Rane and foreigners such as Edu Garcia, Javi Hernandez, Brad Inman and Carl McHugh; in full backs there are the lethal crosses of Prabir das and some great Indian players such as Pritam Kotal and Subasish Bose. In the front there are Roy Krishna and David William who will most likely be the first choice for Habas undoubtedly, some Indians who could help in the front are Jobby Justin, Manvir Singh and a 20 year old Komal Thatal who also represented India in the U-17 World Cup.
FACT : KOMAL THATAL IS THE YOUNGEST PLAYER TO FEATURE IN THE ISL WITH AN AGE OF 17 YEARS AND 132 DAYS.
With the likes of so many creative, talented and young players, ATK Mohun Bagan are the title contenders without any doubt. They also have a very strong and good depth in their squad.
Who knows, maybe its not just an ISL trophy they could win this season!!
Having such a solid back three, gives ATK MB a chance to push their fullbacks to deliver fine crosses as we have seen in previous season with Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal and Subasish Bose. The vision of Edu Garcia cannot be ignored, as he is a versatile playmaker and has also scored and assisted dozens of goals for his team.
The lineup could also be set in a fashion of 5-3-2 instead of the 3-5-2 in need of the hour.
ATK Mohun Bagan are going to be a tough team to score a goal against and its definitely going to be fun if players maintain the same momentum as they did last season.