ISL 2018-19: ATK squad analysis - Former champions aim to revive fortunes

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Goal analyses the squad of two-time champions ATK ahead of Indian Super League season five....

The Indian Super League (ISL) season five is set to kick-off in less than a week's time with champions ATK taking on Kerala Blasters in the season opener in Kolkata on September 29.

As the new season beckons, we look at how ATK are aiming to revive their 

ATK are coming into the new season after a dismal outing last time around where they could only finish ninth in the league stage. 

Coach

Steve Coppell ATK Jamshedpur FC ISL 4 2017/2018

ATK had a terrible season under a troika of coaches last season in Teddy Sheringham, Ashley Westwood and Robbie Keane. The abysmal show prompted the team management to make major changes in the squad this season. They have roped in the experienced Steve Coppell at the helm of affairs.

Coppell is a safe option, given his track record in the ISL, with an in-depth knowledge of Indian football. His pragmatic approach has had success in the past. Under him, Kerala Blasters finished runners-up in 2016 and Jamshedpur FC only missed out on a play-off spot by a whisker. ATK signed Coppell a bit late though, especially after signing most of the Indian contingent. 

New signings

Indian players: Arindam Bhattacharya, Aiborlang Khongjee, Arnab Mondal, Sena Ralte, Ricky Lallawmawma, Pronay Halder, Cavin Lobo, Malsawmzuala, Sheikh Faiaz, Balwant Singh, H Lalmuankima

Foreign players: Gerson Vieira, Andre Bikey, John Johnson, Manuel Lanzarote, Noussair Al Maimouni, Kalu Uche, Everton Santos

Notable signings:

Manuel Lanzarote FC Goa Chennaiyin FC ISL

The Kolkata-based franchise have added several big names, both Indian and overseas, to their squad this season. The six out of their seven foreign players have prior experience of playing in the ISL. Among the most notable foreign signings are former Bengaluru FC defender John Johnson, Kalu Uche who was the third highest goal scorer in ISL last year and Manuel Lanzarote, one of the best playmakers in the league last season. 

ATK have spent big and India international players Balwant Singh, Pronay Halder, Cavin Lobo and Arnab Mondal have come on board to bolster ATK’s squad.

Strength & Weakness:

Steve Coppell has an array of footballers in every position this season. They have good squad depth except in the right-back position, given Prabir Das' fitness concerns. 

The team has a very strong attack with players like Manuel Lanzarote, Kalu Uche, Everton Santos, Balwant Singh and others.

But coach Coppell has a pragmatic philosophy and banks on a counter-attacking style of football. There is a chance that the star attackers may not be fully exploited which may hamper ATK’s game. Also, they seem to lack a bit of height in the attack.

Complete Squad:

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Arindam Bhattacharya, Avilash Paul

Defenders: Aiborlang Khongjee, Gerson Vieira, John Johnson, Arnab Mondal, Ricky Lallawmawma, Sena Ralte, André Bikey, Prabir Das

Midfielders:  Hitesh Sharma, Pronay Halder, Sheikh Faiaz, Malsawmzuala, Yumnam Singh, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Komal Thatal, Manuel Lanzarote, Cavin Lobo, Noussair El Maimouni

Strikers: Kalu Uche, Balwant Singh, Everton Santos, Jayesh Rane

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