A peek ahead at the Group of "excitement"...The 115th edition of the IFA Shield is all set to kick-off on Friday with the Aryan Club taking on Shillong Lajong FC at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata, at 3 pm.
The Group B of the competition comprises of five clubs, namely: Mohun Bagan, Chirag United, Pune FC, Shillong Lajong FC and Techno Aryan Club.
Goal.com analyzes each of these five teams as per their recent form and record before they take battle against each other...
Commemorating a century since their first IFA Shield victory in 1911 and becoming the first Indian club to beat an English team, this will be a special year in this prestigious competition for the Mariners.
Will It Be Celebration Time Again?
The Maroon and Green brigade have not clinched any major trophies since winning the Federation Cup under former coach Karim Bencherifa in the season 2008-2009 and is going to be a serious test of resolve for standing technical director Subhash Bhowmick. Their form in the I-League has been shoddy and the 4-1 defeat to Dempo shall definetely play on their minds.
Winning the Durand Cup has certainly boosted their confidence before the start of the I-League but Subrata Bhattacharya's boys failed to live upto the hype. The addition of Sunil Chhetri to the squad would be of little relevance as the striker would be on national duty during the IFA Shield.
Can He Repeat The Feat In The IFA Shield?
The competition will also be a good time to assess their newly recruited attacking midfielder Choi Young-II.
The 1.45 pm kick-off has been a cause of concern and participation in IFA Shield means Pune FC have to endure more of the same. It's been a rollercoaster ride for the club this season in the I-League and goalscoring remains to be a major cause of concern for coach Derrick Pereira.
Is This Pune FC's Opportunity For Revival?
It will be a good opportunity for the club to test some players who haven't been a regular feature in the I-League and hope that the Edmar-Keita combination finally begins to click.
Shillong Lajong FC
One of the most famous clubs in Indian football is back in the circuit after being relegated at the end of last season. Their performances in Cup competetions was decent which is a warning for their fellow rivals in the group not to take them lightly.
Are We Going To Witness A Similar Reception?
Under British coach Pradyum Reddy, it will be exciting to watch the north-eastern flavour back in action and to expect a good crowd given the kind of fan following the club has managed.
Techno Aryan Club
Once known as the supply line for top footballers in the country, this historic club from Kolkata have nothing to lose as they enter the tournament with the tag of being the underdogs.
Do We Have A Noteworthy Contender?
Aryan Club have notably finished third in the 2010 Kolkata Premier Division League in which, to boast of a record, they have not lost a single match and also beat East Bengal in the last match although the eventual champions allegedly rested their key players since they had already won the league.
Who do YOU think will be the best team amongst the five?