After making it to the Indian Super League this season, East Bengal sought to make an impact on the Indian Top flight and establish their supremity in the biggest stage of Indian Club football.
We take a look at SC East Bengal’s squad for the 2020-21 ISL season, and analyse it’s pros and cons, and take a look at a few other aspects.
Last Season’s Performance:
As said earlier, East Bengal have newly joined the Hero Indian Super League, following the footsteps of their biggest predators Mohun Bagan, who merged with two times ISL champions ATK to form a new entity called ATK Mohun Bagan.
East Bengal previously played in the I League, the 2019-20 season was a bit tacky for the club, as their biggest rivals Mohun Bagan overpowered them and won the league. Even though the season wasn’t completed due to the pandemic and had 4 matches to spare, Mohun Bagan 16 points ahead of runners up East Bengal with huge goal difference, which made it practically impossible for East Bengal to overshadow the Mariners.
Transfer Window dealings:
SC East Bengal, had a slightly quite transfer activity this season. They had a full pool of Indian Players but the foreign signings was much anticipated by the fans. They roped in Robbie Fowler as their Head Coach, who himself was a quite illustrious striker himself.
Robbie Fowler’s biggest signing this season was Anthony Pilkington and their other signings include the likes of Daniel Fox, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Jacques Maghoma, Ville Matti Steinmann and Scott Neville.
His domestic player signings included the likes of prolific players such as Narayan Das and Jeje Lalpekhlua just to name some. While they haven’t signed their 7th foreign player yet but according to sources it is most likely to be Joe Garner who is set to join SC East Bengal from Wigan Athletic.
Many players fell out of the wishlist of coach Robbie Fowler and they are Pintu Mahata who has joined Sudeva FC, and Right Back Rino Anto has been left out of the squad with the likes of Cavin Lobo, Lalrindika Ralte, Omid Singh and Jaime Santos. Though many players who have contract was told to find a suitable club they want to join and if not they will be kept in reserve squad for playing in other tournaments like Calcutta Football League.
East Bengal’s midfield is their strongest point with the likes of Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, Matti Steinmann. The presence of Robbie Fowler will make sure that the players are motivated always and given his managerial record in A- League where he managed Brisbane Roar which was a 9th placed team and after taking charge he finished 4th with them.
If this team had a weakness then it surely would be the time span they had to set up a formidable team which would look good on paper. The chemistry buildup will play a huge part in the season. Their counterpart ATK Mohun Bagan already had a settled team because most of their players were already playing for ATK FC before the merger happened.
Robbie Fowler prefers to play this formation and also he prefers to play possesion based football with 3 defenders at the back and full backs. This helps his team to launch counter attack through both the flanks and score goals as a result. This play style of Robbie Fowler will be a potential threat for East Bengal to launch upon their opponents when required.
Players to watch out for:
Anthony Pilkington: A formidable player with an experience of playing Premier League football for three seasons. With experience like this will be surely a threat for the opponents as he possesses such calibre.
Daniel Fox: Another experienced player Fox has also played in the English Premier League for Burnley and Southampton, before a stint with Wigan Athletic and then Nottingham Forest.
Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Rafique Ali, Mirshad Michu, Sankar Roy
Defenders: Abhishek Ambekar, Anil Chawan, Daniel Fox, Gurtej Singh, Lalramchullova, Mohamed Irshad, Nayaran Das, N Rohen Singh, Novin Gurung, Rana Gharami, Samad Mallick, Scott Neville, Pritam Singh
Midfielders: Bikash Jairu, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Haobam Singh, Jacques Maghoma, Loken Meitei, Milan Singh, Mohammed Rafique, Sehnaj Singh, Surchandra Singh, Matti Steinmann, Wahengbam Luwan, Yumnam Singh, Anthony Pilkington, CK Vineeth, Harmanpreet Singh
Forwards: Balwant Singh, Girik Khosla, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Aaron Amadi Holloway