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Kerala Blasters FC news: Is it time for head coach Ivan Vukomanovic to rethink his tactics?

Kerala Blasters FC head coach Ivan Vukomanovic; Credit: Twitter/@KeralaBlasters
By Sreejith C R | Oct 25, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

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Last year’s Indian Super League (ISL) finalists Kerala Blasters FC haven’t had the best of the start’s to the new campaign, having lost two of their three games thus far. After the thrilling 3-1 victory over East Bengal in front of the vociferous home fans, the Yellow Army were humbled by ATK Mohun Bagan (2-5) and then lost to Odisha FC (2-1) on Sunday. The Blasters’ defence, which was one of the best in the league last term, doesn’t look solid enough, while the attackers are lacking coordination. It seems like the management has not been able to find the right replacements for Jorge Pereira Diaz and Alvaro Vazquez, who left the Kochi-based club to join Mumbai City FC and FC Goa respectively. 

The Blasters, who kept the  most number of clean sheets (8) in the league last term, have already conceded eight goals in three games. The centre-back duo of Hormipam Ruivah and Marko Leskovic seems to be struggling. Especially Hormipam, whose individual errors have cost the team badly. The talented 21-year-old who earned his maiden national team callup last term for his stunning performances, needs to improve on his positional play and decision making. Meanwhile, four of the eight goals conceded by Blasters this term came in the final quarter of the match.Therefore, Vukomanovic needs to find a way to keep his defence intact for the entire 90 minute. 

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In the attacking department, the departure of Pereira Diaz and Vazquez has had a huge impact on the team. Last season, the attackers had developed brilliant understanding with the wide players Luna and Sahal Abdul Samad, which was pivotal to their game plan. The positional interplay between Luna, Vazquez, Diaz and Sahal often proved too difficult for the opposition defenders to deal with and the quartet ended up scoring a combined total of 26 goals. Meanwhile, the new arrivals, Dimitrios Diamantakos and Apostolos Giannou are still finding their feet in Indian football. Although Ivan Kalyuzhnyi has been impressive so far, having scored three goals, the Ukrainian is a different kind of player to Vazquez and Diaz. He is more of a midfielder who has been deployed behind the striker in a free role. 

Although Kalyuzhnyi’s big stature has been used effectively up front for aerial dominance and hold up play, the Yellow Army’s conversion rate in front of goal has been pretty poor. Blasters’ new formation is more like 4-2-3-1, with Diamantakos leading the line and the likes of Luna, Kalyuzhnyi and Sahal providing the support. The midfield-duo of Jeakson Singh and Puitea have been the biggest positives from the first three games. The youngsters have been brilliant with their work rate, while also giving a good account of themselves in terms of creativity. Vukomanovic is an experienced tactician who knows the team very well and the Yellow Army has enough quality in their ranks to turn their fortunes.



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