The Indian Super League 2021-22 is up and running in full flow with some exciting matches already having lit up the competition. Soon, we would come across the Kolkata derby where perhaps the oldest rivalry in Indian and probably Asian football--SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan would unfold. This is easily one of the biggest clashes in the competition and football fans, especially in West Bengal eagerly wait for this match to happen. Passionate fans, divided by culture, engage in friendly as well as violent (sometimes) banter as this match comes with high stakes. Well, this season too, the Kolkata derby promises to be a mouth-watering encounter with both sides looking good ahead of the mega-clash. On November 27, SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan would lock horns in what would be the first Kolkata derby of the season. Indian Super League Points Table 2021–22 Updated: Mumbai City Get Off to Winning Start

Well, this big match is just five days away and here, we present to you five things to look forward to when the Mariners take the field against the Red and Gold Brigade at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa.

Roy Krishna (left) and Manvir Singh (right) celebrate ATK Mohun Bagan's win over SC East Bengal last season (Photo credit: Twitter)

1) Can East Bengal snap their two-match losing streak?

SC East Bengal had an unceremonious maiden season in the Indian Super League last year where they finished ninth in the 11-team table with just 17 points from 20 matches. Their start was specifically was a very poor one and it came against ATK Mohun Bagan. Playing their debut ISL match and that too against their archrivals, SC East Bengal could do little to trouble their opponents and were handed a 0-2 defeat. Many SC East Bengal loyalists had thought that this loss would be avenged in the reverse fixture but that did not happen. They lost 3-1 this time and needless to say, such poor performances outlined their ISL 2020-21 campaign.

Roy Krishna and Hugo Boumous celebrate a goal (Photo credit: Twitter)

2) Roy Krishna-Hugo Boumous duo

Even before the season began, last year's finalists ATK Mohun Bagan emerged as one of the title favourites as many had predicted that the partnership between midfield general Hugo Boumous and star striker Roy Krishna would be pivotal to the team's success. And they were not wrong. ATK Mohun Bagan won their first game of the ISL 2021-22 season beating Kerala Blasters 4-2 and these two players were the stars of that win. Boumous scored as early as in the third minute with a sensational long-range strike and he sort of assisted the second goal when he sent Roy Krishna clear into the Kerala Blasters box with the keeper to beat. Blasters custodian Albino Gomes fouled Krishna and the latter converted the penalty. Their partnership looked deadly against Kerala and once again, Antonio Habas would bank on these two players to make a difference in the Kolkata derby.

Manolo Diaz (left) and Antonio Habas (right) (Photo credit: Twitter)

3) Manolo Diaz vs Antonio Habas

It would not be a battle between two teams but also one involving both the gaffers--SC East Bengal's Manolo Diaz and ATK Mohun Bagan's Antonio Habas. Both Spanish tacticians have different techniques of having their teams play the game. While Diaz relies on possession-based football and unpredictability in attack, Habas is mainly a pragmatic coach, depending on set-pieces, counter-attacks and individual performances to score goals. This contest would also be clash of tactics. Habas is a proven customer in the ISL, having won the league twice while Diaz is in his debut season.  It would be interesting to see which Spaniard comes out on top.

Arindam Bhattacharya (Photo credit: Twitter)

4) Arindam Bhattacharya in SCEB goal

Arindam Bhattacharya celebrated with ATK Mohun Bagan last season as they defeated SC East Bengal in both fixtures of the season. This time though, he would be seen as an SC East Bengal player and protecting the goal for the Red and Gold Brigade. He swapped sides in the transfer window and put up a strong display in his side 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC in their first match this season. The Golden Glove winner from last season looks to make a statement, this time, from the other end.

Roy Krishna (Photo credit: Twitter)

5) Roy Krishna is on a scoring streak

Roy Krishna has been one of Indian Super League's best strikers and ATK Mohun Bagan would agree that they are indeed lucky to have a talismanic player like him. The Fiji striker scores consistently and last season, ended with 14 goals to his name. He had scored in both matches against SC East Bengal last season. Can he take his goalscoring streak against the Red and Gold Brigade to three games?

Just five days are left for this iconic rivalry to unfold once again in the Indian Super League. Would ATK Mohun Bagan reign supreme once again or would SC East Bengal have the last laugh and register their first win over their city rivals in the competition? Stay tuned to find out!

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 22, 2021 11:59 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website