ISL 2017-18: Kerala Blasters vs ATK - The key battles to decide the fate of the game


Internet Desk: The season 4 of the Hero Indian Super League is about to have a scintillating start as the finalists of the previous edition -  ATK and Kerala Blasters FC will be taking on each other in the opening game of the competition. The deafening cheer of the 55,000 fans, the colourful Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, commonly known as the "Kaloor Stadium" will witness a battle between the two Manchester United tacticians -Rene Meulensteen and Teddy Sheringham. Here goes the key battles of the game which can decide the fate of the game.

Teddy Sheringham vs Rene Meulensteen: The most important battle. Meulensteen has been one of the most loyal soldiers of former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson during his famous tenure at Old Trafford. The man who trained legendary stars like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, will now be working with two of his former students Wes Brown and Dimitar Berbatov and against one of his his famous students Teddy Sheringham, who will be the new boss of the defending champions ATK. Meulensteen though has a huge experience with him as a coach, but Sheringham will no doubt try to shock his coach at his own backyard in the first game of the competition. The ATK boss will miss his key weapon on the upfront- Robbie Keane, who suffered an injury during the training. On the flip side, The KBFC boss doesn't have too many injury concerns.

Robin Singh vs CK Vineeth: Two national team forwards will be playing against each other. Robin Singh - who is known for his physicality and strength on the upfront, would be carrying some extra load, as he will have to take the burden of scoring goals in the absence of Robbie Keane. CK Vineeth has been one of the most prolific goalscorers in Indian domestic football from the 2016 season. Significantly, it was his KBFC stint in the previous season where it all started for him. No doubt, Vineeth to play a key role for Kerala in this seadon as well.

Iain Hume vs Zequinha: Another interesting battle. Iain Hume started his ISL journey for KBFC in the 2014 season, but in the last couple of seasons, Hume had been the main target-man on the upfront for ATK. The highest goalscorer in the history of the competition has returned back to his former club this season. KBFC will no doubt be relying heavily on Hume to taste the first taste of glory. Zequinha on the other hand has rich experience of playing in Portugal and represented almost all the youth national teams of Portugal. Filling in the shoes of the great Iain Hume at ATK will be never easy. It is to see how Zequinha responds to the big occasion.

Wes Brown vs Jordi: Manchester United legend Wes Brown has been the successful part of so many great  silverwares during his stint at Old Trafford. The central defender has been famous for his amazing interceptions and presence in the air. His experience will be priceless for the KBFC side when they will take on ATK. Jordi on the flip side has been a hugely experienced centre back who played with outright dominance against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the La Liga. His rich experience on the heart of the midfield will be vital for the other ATK defenders as well. The Kolkata franchise have released all their foreign defenders who led to glory in the previous season and that is why Jordi's role in the side will be crucial.

Dimitar Berbatov vs Eugeneson Lyngdoh: Dimitar Berbatov, the Manchester United legend is no doubt the biggest name among all the international players who will feature in this year's ISL. Berbatov, the gifted ball player with sublime control will be playing just behind the centre forward, as a no.10. It will be interesting to see how the ATK boss plans to stop him. On the other hand, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, has been India's best attacking midfielder in the last few years. An Indian midfielder of such European style and quality is hard to find and a player like him on board can be a huge boost for any team. The duel between Eugene and Berbatov will hold the key for the opening game of the season 4 of the ISL.

The ISL had always come up with some enthralling games in the past and the first game will be another one to add to that tally.

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