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ISL 2020-21: Porous backline, a discomfort that has let down Carles Cuadrat

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Much of the discussion centered on the tasteless attack on Bengaluru; A closer look reveals their defense has been just as fragile, according to OptaJeev statistics

In almost every press conference, Carles Cuadrat would have been bombarded with a few repetitive questions: Why can’t Bengaluru score so many points in open play? Do you think the new foreign signings in attack are doing enough? or why is the conversion rate so low?

Cuadrat calmly took them in his stride and would always defend his players, be it Cleiton Silva, Kristian Opseth or for that matter Deshorn Brown. After making a blank against Jamshedpur FC, the coach said: “We are creating chances with Sunil (Chhetri), Cleiton (Silva) and the numbers nine doing their job, getting room for the wingers. We have more players on our team who can provide us with goals. ”

And before facing Mumbai when he was asked about the same issue, he replied: “When you score you are closer to scoring again because you are forcing the other team out. If you see the last game, we really create a lot of chances in the other game and there was room for our players. We also have to do better not to concede because you lose two games 1-0. When you concede, you can lose. The guys understand this and work very positively. ”

While many missed the forest for the trees, the second part of Cuadrat’s response hit the nail on the head. Bengaluru needs to improve defensively to gain more points.

the Blues have conceded 12 goals this season in nine matches, while in the previous campaign they had dropped just five after playing an equal number of games. They have boasted six clean sheets in nine matches in 2019-20, while they only managed two in the current edition.

Pratik Chaudhari has teamed up with Juanan at the heart of the defense and it’s amply clear that the duo need to hone their frequency. Injuries to Rahul Bheke and Ashique Kuruniyan at the start of the season further complicated things for the former ISL (Indian Super League) champions.

Against ATK Mohun Bagan, Chaudhari and Harmanjot Khabra were guilty of failing to close David Williams fast enough, allowing the Australian to slide in, make room and pull the trigger. Whereas in the next game Juanan allowed Stephen Eze of Jamshedpur to get ahead of him and nod in the head which turned out to be the final winner.

Their defense against set pieces also fell short. Eze’s goal came from the second phase of a free kick as, against Mumbai City, two of the three goals were flag kicks. While Gurpreet Sandhu’s howl might be the main reason for the third goal, you can’t look away from poor scoring in dead ball situations. Fran Gonzalez and Juanan were behind the attacker as Bartholomew Ogbeche was suspended in the air to unleash a powerful header. Fundamental mistakes and individual mistakes have come to the fore time and time again for defensive fouls.

Speaking of individual mistakes, Sandhu also bears his fair share of the blame. His save percentage in the previous season was at a staggering 80%, while in the current edition it has fallen to 63.6%.

In short, the entire defending unit has been beaten this season. To put things in perspective, they’ve been dribbled several times (48-61 times), conceded more shots on target (25-33), while the tackle hit rate (67.7% to 62.2 %) has fallen. .

But did the management take the right step by showing Cuadrat the door? Well, that might be a tricky question to answer.

The recent results and, more importantly, the lackluster style of play are proof that Bengaluru lacked cohesion on the pitch. But keep in mind that most teams haven’t had a regular preseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the Eagles. Their strangers also arrived late, and it is common for an attacker to take time before settling into a new environment.

Moreover, their next six matches are against teams that are below them in the table. In fact, their next formidable opponent just happens to be ATK Mohun Bagan on February 9. A little patience and a little more confidence, though rare in world football these days, on the winning ISL manager, could have done the trick.

Note: Statistics used in this article are from OptaJeev