Is ATK the favorites for the ISL title this year?
Is ATK the favourites for the ISL title this year?
ATK was founded in 2014 for the inaugural season of the Indian Super League. Saurav Ganguly and the Spanish club Atletico Madrid were partners in the venture. The club started its ISL journey in style and won the first season. The team managed by Antonio Lopez Habas soon became the most stylish team in the league. They won two out of their first three seasons and looked unstoppable. However, Habas left the club, Ian Hume, top scorer for the club for two consecutive seasons retired, and things started going downhill from the moment. ATK failed to qualify for the playoffs, and the worst came in the 2017-18 season when they finished 9th, their worst ever finish in an ISL season. The following season didn’t provide any success as well, and the team finished at the 6th spot.
Finally, ATK, based in the football-crazy town of Kolkata, made a decision. The team management re-hired Antonio Lopez Habas to manage the club, and with him, the club saw a return of the high pressing game.
What Makes ATK favourite for the title this season?
The biggest shortcoming in ATK’s play over the past two seasons was an evident lack of goals. The team failed to score goals. The first change that Habas brought after rejoining the group was to lead the attack of the team with attackers. Habas signed the MVP of A-League, Roy Krishna, and signed David Williams as a strike partner for ATK. The strike partnership has managed to score 13 goals out of 21 scored by the team. Edu Garcia has been converted into a super-sub and has scored three goals after coming on as a sub after 75 minutes.
The Indian Core:
Another Strength of ATK this season has been its core, which is built upon Indian players. The team has many domestic stars in Michael Soosaraj, Pritam Kotal, Jayesh Rana, Pranoy Halder, and the veteran Indian defender Anas. The strong Indian core allows Habas to build the team around David Williams and Roy Krishna. The Indian players have impressed for ATK and are playing a significant role for the team.
Javi has been in fine form for ATK and is a significant reason for their success this season. Everything in ATK’s midfield seems to go through him, and his defence-splitting passes often create chances for the forwards, Hernandez is well supported by Soosaraj who has emerged as one of the best Indian players this season. If the midfield manages to carry this form for the rest of the season, ATK definitely will be the favourite for the title.
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