4 Things to Look Out for as Kerala Blasters and ATK Kick off Season 6 of the Indian Super League

Kerala Blasters will host arch-rivals ATK at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, Kerala, for the opening match of the Hero Indian Super League's 2019-20 season on Sunday evening.


The two sides have an incredible history, having met each other in two ISL finals in 2014 and 2016 and are since then the most awaited fixtures on the calendar.


In the wake of the above, here are four things to look out for as ATK travel to Kerala to face the Blasters in their own den.....

4. Return of ATK's ISL winning coach Antonio Habas

Antonio Habas returns to ATK in the Indian Super League after a three year gap following his first stint with the club leading to title glory in the year 2014.


ATK haven't quite been the same since his departure from the club in 2016 and they will hope that his return is a sign of glory days returning to Kolkata this season.

3. Kerala's time to improve on past performances

As far as head-to-head records go, Kerala Blasters have more reason to worry as past encounters against ATK have incurred quite a few defeats on them.


Both teams have faced each other 12 times in ISL history with ATK winning five and the Blasters winning two. The rest five games have ended in a draw.


Kerala have a huge chance of starting a new era in their own history by beating ATK in their first game of the season, especially after undergoing a season to forget last time out.


One interesting stat to witness here is despite how bleak the head-to-head record looks, Kerala Blasters FC haven’t lost against ATK since the final of Hero ISL 2016. Last season, the Blasters won one and drew one in their two encounters against the Kolkata side.

2. Key players, probable XI and injury updates

Kerala Blasters:


Important Players - Bartholomew Ogbeche, Gianni Zuiverloon

Injured - Sandesh Jhingan
Suspended - None


ATK:

Important Players - Roy Krishna, David Williams 

Injured - None  
Suspended - Jobby Justin, Anas Edathodika


Probable XI:


Kerala Blasters: TP Rehenesh, Abdul Hakku, Gianni Zuiverloon, Jairo Rodrigues, Lalruatthara, Mario Arques, Halicharan Narzary, Sahal Abdul Samad, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Sergio Cidoncha, Bartholomew Ogbeche


ATK: Dheeraj Singh, Pritam Kotal, John Johnson, Agustin Iniguez, Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Sehnaj Singh, Edu Garcia, Michael Soosairaj, David Williams, Roy Krishna

1. A-League legend David Williams much awaited ISL debut

31-year-old Australian David Williams and Fijian international Roy Krishna will make their much-awaited debut for ATK against Kerala Blasters and there is more than one reason why the Yellow Brigade should be alert with him on the prowl.


Williams played for Wellington Phoenix in the Australian A-League where he forged a lethal partnership with fellow ATK recruit Roy Krishna. The pair bagged a total of 30 goals between them in the 2018-19 season with Williams himself accounting for 11 of them.


ATK coach Antonio Habas too has been pretty vocal of Williams and Krishna's talents as he said, "David Williams is a signing I am very happy with. His pace and technique will be valuable to us. He also brings variety to the squad since he can play on either side of the wings as well. His understanding with teammate Roy Krishna will be crucial for us,” he added.