The Kolkata based ISL franchise and two times champion ATK had a roller coaster ride for the past two seasons as they failed to earn the playoff spots in both cases. Thus they seemed to have again kept the faith on their most successful gaffer Antonio Lopez Habas, the Spanish old man who led the flying tigers to be the maiden champions and also made them the runners up in the second season.
In the previous season ATK suffered a lot to find a perfect target man in their attacking third and thus have brought in A-League stars Roy Krishna, David Williams and Dario Vidosic to cope with that void. The Red and Whites have also signed in former Quess East Bengal striker Jobby Justin to bolster their attack. It’s now clear that the flying tigers are on a mission to revamp their lost glory as they have arguably the strongest team for the upcoming edition of ISL.
Indian: Arindam Bhattacharya, Dheeraj Singh, Lara Sharma
• Defenders :
Indian: Anas Edathodika, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Ankit Mukherjee, Anil Chawan, Sumit Rathi
Foreigners: John Johnson, Agus Garcia
• Midfielders :
Indian: Pronoy Halder, Sehnaj Singh, Jayesh Rane, Micahel Soosairaj, Komal Thatal
Foreigners: Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, Javi Hernandez
• Forwards :
Indian: Balwant Singh, Jobby Justin
Foreigners: Roy Krishna, David Williams
• SQUAD ANALYSIS :
• Goal Keeping :
Arindam Bhattacharya was in a great form last season and that earned him a contract extension with ATK. The veteran custodian is expected to becone a wall hard to break for opponents as his fitness, agility and reflex are enough to turn his age to a mere number. On the other hand Habas will have options in the form of Dheeraj Singh and Lara Sharma. Dheeraj the U-17 World Cup star has proved his capabilities under the bar for Kerala Blasters previous year and is sure to add strong options to the team along with Lara Sharma who has been recently promoted from the ATK Reserves team.
ATK has always been a side with strong defence with ace centre-backs John Johnson, Agus Garcia and Anas Edathodika the flying tigers are expected to add extra depth to their back line. On the other hand Indian international Pritam Kotal along with young and talented Ankit Mukherjee, Sumit Rathi and Anil Chawan will add sharpness to the flank play.
ATK this time has grabbed a lot of options in the midfield and are expected to come out with a lot of combinations. Carl McHugh, Pronay Halder and Sehnaj Singh will be playing the roles of central midfielders along with Edu Garcia and Michael Soosairaj operating from the right wing and Javi Hernandez, Jayesh Rane and Komal Thatal operating from the left wing. The Red and Whites will surely have an in vivo competition among it’s midfielders to grab a spot in the starting XI that surely will boost the composure of the team.
• Forward :
With Roy Krishna, David Williams, Balwant Singh and Jobby Justin fitting into the role of strikers, ATK arguably had made the strongest forward line up this season. The former Wellington Phoenix duo has been in a great form last season along with Jobby Justin who also came out to be the highest Indian goal scorer in the I-League last season, the flying tigers are expected to be a great threat for the oppositions unlike previous season.
• PAST RECORDS :
2015: Runners up
2017-18: 9th Position
2018-19: 6th Position
• PRE-SEASON :
ATK this time have opted their den, Kolkata as the pre-season spot. Unlike previous season they have opted regional and indigenous clubs as their opponents instead of foreign clubs. This time they are much on adapting their players to the Indian conditions as they want to stay clinically fitter because injury has always been a setback for the Kolkata based ISL franchise. ATK has played all together five pre-season friendlies and have come out with the results as follows:
4-0 vs ATK Reserves
6-0 vs Southern Samity
5-3 vs Mohammedan Sporting
4-1 vs Peerless SC (CFL Champions)
0-0 vs TRAU (Match Abandoned)
• MANAGER’S QUOTES :
“Balance is the most importanat part of the team and my obsession is to build a competitive team with a lead in defence and a lead in attack.”
• WRITER’S TAKE :
ATK is definitely one of the strongest team in the upcoming ISL season as they have maintained a balance and composure through all it’s sectors in the squad. The team has turned to be perfect blend of experience, talent and youth which surely is on a mission to revamp their lost glory. The flying tigers are on a target to become the first team to win the ISL for three times. The gaffer Antonio Lopez Habas has always brought champion’s luck for the team and is expected to earn a spot within the top two positions if they can maintain the sharpness and depth in their squad that ATK is renowned for.