Three games. Three loses. Zero goals scored. Seven goals conceded. Bottom of the table. It’s fair to say that things arent going as planned for Robbie Fowler’s East Bengal. In their inaugural season, the Red and Gold have yet to pick up a point from their matches. They will be hoping to change that soon. Despite the disappointing statistics concerning their defensive and offensive records, East Bengal has actually seen a gradual improvement in their quality of play as the season progresses. Against Northeast, they were robbed of two clear penalties because of poor refereeing. (which has started to become characteristic of ISL) They deserved more than what the 2-0 scoreline suggested. SC East Bengal will be desperate to get off the mark and truly kickstart their campaign in the coming match.
Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, has been one of the steadier performers this season. The Red Miners have notched a comparatively respectable tally of five points from their first four games. They have lost only one game so far this season. Jamshedpur has also been a victim of poor refereeing, and probably deserve more than their current points total. However, they will be coming into the clash with East Bengal high on confidence after defeating the previously unbeaten ATK Mohun Bagan in a convincing manner.
Team News and Predicted Lineups
East Bengal is expected to be without captain and defensive veteran Danny Fox for a second successive game. Loken Metei is out with an injury. However, Aaron Amadi Holloway has returned to training and may play a part in Thursday’s game which can prove to be a massive boost to SC East Bengal’s chances at getting some points against Jamshedpur.
Formation – 3-4-2-1 – Debjit, Neville, Irshad, Sehnaj, Das, Angousana, Lyngdoh, Gharami, Maghoma, Pilkington, Jeje
Jamshedpur is relatively injury free and should be able to field a strong eleven, taking into consideration some minor injuries.
Players to Watch Out For
The SC East Bengal defense has been extremely shaky so far this season and it is time for experienced defender Scott Neville to step up and take some responsibility. He will be vital in ensuring that the backline remains tight against the threat of the quick Jamshedpur attackers and should avoid making any careless errors which may lead to goals (as seen in his hashed clearance of the through ball by Appiah, which led to the unfortunate opening goal for Northeast last game). If Neville can deliver an assured and clinical performance, East Bengal has a great chance of coming away with their first-ever ISL clean sheet.
Valskis needs no introduction to ISL fans. He established himself as one of the league’s leading strikers last season. As he was tied for the golden boot award for the most goals scored. Despite the initial fears that he would not be able to continue his fine form after shifting to a comparatively toothless Jamshedpur side. Valskis has picked up right where he left off and proven all his doubters wrong in the process. The tall Lithuanian has scored five goals in four matches and has been at the forefront of nearly every Jamshedpur attack. He made the difference against ATKMB and has the ability to make an impact once again on Thursday against a feeble SCEB defense.
This match is of great importance to East Bengal, as another loss would have severe repercussions on and off the pitch. Failure to earn any points would be a great blow to the confidence of the players and the cohesion amongst the team as well. Jamshedpur on the other hand has the opportunity to stamp their credentials as serious top four contenders with a win. With so much on the line for both teams, it promises to be an entertaining encounter. The result will have its own both long-term and short-term repercussions on the campaigns of both teams.