Kerala Blasters are yet to explode in the Indian Super League, even while approcahing the final stage. Lack of a good finisher is a prime reason for their less than impressive display. Read more below.
With an abject defeat to Goa FC, Kerala Blasters have found themselves in a tough spot once again. The team is struggling to get the things going its way despite the huge fan base and the blessings of the cricket god Sachin Tendulkar himself. Eventough the Blasters started their home matches with a hard-fought win, their subsequent matches resulted in lacklustre draws. They came back strongly, only to be pushed back again. Even though they enjoy the 4th place on points table, they are still not secure there.
Anyone could say that Kerala Blasters displayed amazing football in all their games, even matches in which they lost. So where does the problem lie? As far as the team is concerned, what haunts the Blasters is the absence of a good striker.
If we look at the better performing teams in the league, a effective finisher is a common factor among them. Athletico de Kolkata has Fikru while Chennaiyin FC has Elano. But Kerala hasn't been able to point to no such name so far.
The Blasters are among the top of teams which created maximum goal chances. They have good possession rate and strong defence. Yet their goal conversion rate is pitiable, occupying at the bottom of the table. This clearly point to the need of a good striker.
Kerala Blasters do have some strikers in CS Sabeeth, Andrew Barisic and Iain Hume. But all of them together haven't manged to score much. Iain Hume have scored 4, making him the best among the lot. The largest margin Kerala Blasters won in the league was 2-1.
Iain Hume is a fantastic player but he often get no support in configuring the attack. His teammates' unability to rise to his level hinders the attacks and they fade away despite initial promise. Adding to their woes, the one striker the Blasters have got their hopes pinned upon, Michael Chopra, is in the grip of injury as well. Eventhough he played in a number of matches, it was plain that he was not up to the desired fitness level.
David James, the coach and marquee player of Kerala Blasters, has got his plate full now. He has to decide upon the right combinations and strategy with the available players. Then only they will see a positive result.
The Blasters' next match is against the powerful Chennaiyin FC led by Italian legend Marco Materassi in former's home ground. Chennaiyin had beaten Blasters when they first met at Chennai. The win is crucial for Kerala Blasters as it will determine the fate of them as the progress is concerned. It is imperative for Kerala Blasters to finalise upon a winning combination as each game ahead is very crucial.
The two-time ISL runners-up are not having the best of the result so far. The team is slowly, and steadily restoring the parity, and these stars, both overseas, and homegrown, have played contributed immensely to their gamepaly.