Bengaluru FC have had a great start to their season statistically, with four wins and one draw in their five games. The Blues sit in second place, three points behind leaders Goa having played two games less.
However, Bengaluru haven’t ‘dominated’ the league like they did last season. They were made to work hard for their wins against Chennaiyin FC and ATK. The Blues had their fair share of luck when they edged out Kerala 2-1 in a closely contested tie.
But there’s one player who is continuing his exploits from a stellar first season, the Venezuelan hitman Miku Fedor. Miku has scored three goals and provided two other in the five games this season. The forward has been involved in one or more goals in four of the five games. The one game where Miku failed to score or assist happens to be the tie against Jamshedpur FC, the only time Bengaluru failed to grab all three points.
Miku’s conversion rate of 25 per cent isn’t particularly appealing but his importance on the field transcends mere numbers. The forward has imbibed additional attributes this season which has benefited the team to a great extent.
Carles Cuadrat’s philosophy is not much different from Albert Roca’s but it isn’t a carbon-copy either. The 50-year-old has added some pragmatism to Roca’s free-flowing possession-based football. This has demanded some players to work harder when out of possession and Miku has delivered brilliantly, shuttling between lines, causing the opponent centre-halves discomfort and forcing mistakes.
The hitman is also heavily involved in build-up now and often drops deep to create chances. The two assists compared to none all of last season is a testament to this. With new signing Xisco Hernandez taking his time to get accustomed to his new team and major creative outlet from last season, Dimas Delgado, missing a couple of games, Miku's intelligent game has helped the Blues carve out chances.
Against Chennaiyin, Miku latched onto a pass from Xisco against the run of play and smashed the ball past Karanjit Singh. His second goal came against a hapless Pune defence, but he should have scored more in that fixture, given the quality of chances and the state of Pune’s defence. However, the forwards did cap it off with an assist to captain Sunil Chhetri after shrugging off Pune’s Adil Khan and releasing Chhetri into space. Miku provided his captain again two weeks later as he threaded a pass through Kerala’s defence and Chhetri made no mistakes in burying that.
Miku’s moment of the tournament so far has been the freekick against ATK where he unleashed a thunderbolt above the wall and into the top corner, one of the bast the Indian Super League (ISL) has seen. However, in Bengaluru’s 2-2 stalemate against Jamshedpur, Miku was closely followed and failed to get a single shot on target. The Venezuelan could not complete his dribbles, was dispossessed often and had very less impact on the game.
The 33-year-old brings more than just goals for Bengaluru. His ability to draw up to three defenders sets the likes of Chhetri and Udanta Singh into space and provides Bengaluru numerical advantage before someone pulls the trigger. On and off the ball, Miku has been crucial to Bengaluru’s early success in the season.
It’s safe to state that the Venezuelan will be extremely crucial for Bengaluru in the long season ahead and his form will certainly determine how their season pans out.