It’s time for a battle of two teams who have not had a perfect start to the season but with one team slightly better than the other. It’s time for Kerala Blasters to host Delhi Dynamos.
The hosts opened the season away to ATK and David James pulled off a tactical plan to perfection. Deploying Nikola Krcmarevic as a shield in front of the defence proved a masterstroke as the Serbian made a fantastic debut. The Blasters ran out 2-0 winners in that encounter and were on a high going into the second match.
Opponents there were Mumbai City who came to town looking for a win after not getting one in the opening match. Kerala dominated that match but couldn’t get a win as Mumbai managed to sneak a point and get a 1-1 draw in a match Kerala should have gotten all three points from.
Kerala have now not played a match for 15 days and could perhaps be a little rusty when Delhi come to visit Kochi. Delhi however, won’t be rusty as they played a game just four days ago.
That match on Wednesday ended in a heartbreaking loss to ATK. Balwant Singh opened the scoring for ATK after 20 minutes, but Pritam Kotal pulled Delhi back even but just six minutes before full-time Noussair El Mimouni crushed Delhi’s hopes with the match-winning goal.
That means they have one loss and one draw from their first two matches after their hard-earned 1-1 draw against Pune City on the opening day.
Fatigue or rust?
So one team who hasn’t played for two weeks but have won this season, and one team who will play their second game in four days. How will that affect this match? It could be an interesting point to follow as the game progresses. Perhaps the schedule could have an effect even before the game? The question there becomes; will Josep Gombau make massive changes or will he field the same 11 who played against ATK?
Tactically this could be an interesting encounter as well. Will David James be able to pull off the same masterstroke as he did against ATK in the season opener to neutralise Delhi’s attacking power or will he play a different way? Gombau, on the other hand, looks committed to the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 or whatever you want to call it, and that probably won’t change much come kick-off later today.
So two coaches who like to play the tactical game and two teams who need a win to really get the season kicked off properly. Delhi needs it more than Kerala do but Kerala will be keen to show Delhi who’s boss after being slightly mugged by Mumbai last time out.
It should be an interesting affair nonetheless.