Two-time champions of the Hero Indian Super League, ATK are all set to add another trophy to their cabinet. The club from the ‘Mecca of Indian Football’ signed some big foreign names during the transfer window along with some great domestic signings.
To much joy of the ATK fans, Antonio Lopez Habas, the former Spanish footballer, and former ATK coach, is back in Kolkata, along with lots of hope, to coach the two-time champions for the sixth edition of the Hero Indian Super League. ATK has predominantly done well in past, in this competition under their head coach Antonio Lopez Habas, and hence, much is expected from him.
Let’s take a brief look at their complete squad, their strengths, weakness, ratings and their possible Line-up.
Head Coach: Antonio Lopez Habas (Spain)
Arindam Bhattacharya, Dheeraj Singh, Lara Sharma.
Pritam Kotal, Pabir Das, John Johnson (England), Agustin Iniguez (Spain), Anas Edathodika, Anil Chavan, Sumit Rathi, Ankit Mukherjee, Salam Ranjan Singh, Sena Ralte.
Carl McHugh (Ireland), Javier Hernandez (Spain), Pronay Halder, Sehnaj Singh, Edu Garcia (Spain).
Jayesh Rane, Komal Thatal, David Williams (Australia), Jobby Justin, Balwant Singh, Michael Soosairaj, Roy Krishna (Fiji).
Two-time Hero Indian Super League Champions roped in shot-stopper Dheeraj Singh from Kerala Blasters during the transfer window. ATK’s commonly called ‘Savejit‘ is now with his former club Mohun Bagan on loan from ATK.
Arindam Bhattacharya, who joined ATK last season from Mumbai City FC made 18 appearances for the club. Habas might go with experienced Arindam, but he also has the options of young Dheeraj Singh and Lara Sharma as well. Dheeraj Singh made 13 appearances for Kerala Blasters last season and he’ll be a strong contender to keep the goal for Habas’ side.
ATK was very active in the transfer window and made some big announcements about the signing of players one after the other. They’ve signed Spanish central defender Agus and also extended the contract of former Bengaluru FC pillar John Johnson.
ATK does have a formidable Indian defensive lineup to depend up on. Experience of INDIA Internationals, Prital Kotal and Anas Edathodika will be a big boost for ATK’s defense. However, Anas is not in the greatest of forms and the defender didn’t have his greatest of day back in the field for India in the World Cup qualifier game against Bangladesh in Kolkata. Salam Ranjan Singh might start ahead of Anas for ATK after Anas’ poor form in the blue Jersey. Pabir Das is another full-back alongside Pritam, who has pace to burn, and surely the club level experience he got with Mohun Bagan being his previous club, makes him a valuable addition to the squad. Anil Chavan will be a young prodigy to watch out for in this ATK defensive setup.
Anas presence will be missed in the first game against Kerala Blasters since, he’s facing suspension for picking up Red card against Indian Arrows for his former club Kerala Blasters in the Hero Super Cup 2019.
Kolkata based club has spent huge money ahead of the new season on signing some big names. ATK retained the services of Spanish attacking midfielder Edu Garcia, who has previously played for Bengaluru FC. However, Edu Garcia just made six starts for ATK and has netted thrice for his club with two assists to add on with it. His presence in the midfield will be vital for Habas considering the forward attack that ATK possess this season.
New signings Carl McHugh from Ireland and Javier Hernandez from Spain will also be up for choice in the midfield area. Former Mumbai City FC central midfielder Sehnaj Singh will don ATK jersey after spending three seasons with the Islanders. Sehnaj Sigh will partner with INDIA International, Pronay Halder and Edu Garcia might just play in front of these two midfielders.
ATK this season, has the best attacking line up in the Hero Indian Super League season-six on paper without any doubt. ATK have bolstered their attack by bringing in two in form forwards from A-League. The addition of Wellington Phoenix’s attacking duo will be a great boost up front.
This duo will be a great threat in the opposition goal with their goalscoring capabilities. Both Williams and Krishna have scored combined 30 goals for Wellington Phoenix in the A-League competition. The Fiji international can also create opportunities inside the box as well. Apart from these foriegn stars, they do have some sharp shooters as well. I League winner with Aizawl FC, Jayesh Rane and former Mohun Bagan boy, Balwant Singh will also add strength to this attacking lineup, who have extended their contracts with the club. Komal Thatal the star of the U17 WC squad, also stays with the side after making 12 starts last season and found the net once and might just find back his top form this season causing serious trouble to opponet defenders, as his goal against Brazil may just start haunting other teams too, very soon.
Along with Anas, ATK also signed another Keralite, Jobby Justin from East Bengal forward, who was in dream form in the last I-League, in this transfer window. The Keralite’s impressive performance in the I-League last season made ATK go for him in the Transfer Window, as Jobby scored 9 goals and made 4 assists in his 17 appearances for his former club in I-League. The Keralite also got the international call-up from INDIAN Head Coach, Igor Stimac after getting impressed with his dynamic skill sets and sincerity.
ATK also roped in another Indian international who recently got his call-up under Igor Stimac, who is none other than Michael Soosairaj. The Tamil Nadu forward is brilliant in the wings and can dribble past the defenders, to score some spectacular goals as we saw in the last Hero ISL Season. The 24-year-old forward scored 4 goals for Jamshedpur last season in Hero ISL and was in sensational form for Chennai City FC, the season before, and will be a player to watch out for.
However, Jobby Justin with Anas will miss the ATK’s first game against Kerala Blasters as he’s serving his six-match suspension after having an ugly spat with Aizawl FC defender Kareem Nurain. The forward has already served three of his six suspensions last season and he’ll miss the first three games of ATK in ISL. Jobby won’t be available for the games against Kerala Blasters, Hyderabad FC and Chennaiyin FC.
Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, John Johnson, Sena Ralte
Pronoy Halder, Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, M Soosairaj
David Williams, Roy Krishna.
Writer’s choice Line-up:
Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, John Johnson, Sena Ralte
Jayesh Rane, Pronoy Halder, Edu Garcia, Michael Soosairaj
Jobby Justin, Roy Krishna.
Total squad rating- 8.5/10
ATK has all the possibilities to create threats in the opposition goal with their current squad. If they can hold it at the back with defence, Habas’ side can challenge the title for sure without any second thoughts. Considering other squads, ATK is the strongest on paper and we need to wait till 20th of this month to check if they can produce goods on the field with this power packed squad.