The upcoming set of encounters could go a long way to deciding the fate of certain teams.

The first week of the Indian Super League, after the Asian Cup break, has been done and dusted. Bengaluru’s tough loss against Mumbai City FC and Goa’s stalemate against Jamshedpur along with Northeast’s loss in Bengaluru have blown the race for the playoff spots wide open.  However, Chennaiyin’s narrow loss to NorthEast meant that the Marina Machans will not be defending their title this season, as John Gregory’s side got eliminated mathematically; the first side this season to do so.

Gameweek 14 puts forth several crunch fixtures that could decide the playoff spots or decide fates of certain teams regarding the same. With several teams in the top five facing each other, this week could very well see the pack thinning out. Here is a detailed analysis of all the fixtures in the coming week.

Mumbai City FC Vs FC Goa

Date & Venue: 1st February, Mumbai Football Arena

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 HD & Hotstar

The playoff battle is heating up and this fixture could be a huge decider for both team. Mumbai City come into this game after handing high-flying Bengaluru their first loss of the season. FC Goa, on the other hand, sit at fourth, precariously at the edge of the playoff spots after a goalless draw against Jamshedpur FC.

Jorge Costa will be preparing his side for revenge when FC Goa arrives. The Gaurs routed the Islanders 5-0 in the reverse fixture. Both sides have three wins each over nine matches with the remaining three matches ending in a draw. The winner of this tie will hold the upper hand in terms of head-to-head record and also the playoff push.

Sougou will lead the frontline for Mumbai, while Coro will do the same for Goa

Jorge Costa’s 4-3-3 has worked wonders for the Mumbai based outfit. Despite a shaky start in the competition, the Islanders have surprised many with brilliant execution in offense coupled with solidity in defense. The front three of Pape Modou Sougou, Rafael Bastos and Arnold Issoko have utilised their freedom within the system with utmost brilliance.

Sergio Lobera’s fluid attacking football has made many neutral fans inclined to Goa. The Spaniard’s tactical acumen is clearly seen in his side’s positional superiority on the field. The triangle of Edu Bedia, Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous have been the main perpetrators with able support from Brandon and Jackichand in the flanks.

Pape Modou Sougou finds himself thick in the race for the Golden Boot. The Senegalese striker has scored 9 goals this season and will be looking to add to his tally and also secure Mumbai City’s top spot in the table.

Moroccan midfielder Ahmed Jahouh would be looking to cement his place in the starting eleven with a strong away performance. The former Moghreb Tetouan player has been ineffective for most trips away for Goa and this fixture would be the ideal stage to silence the critics.

Chennaiyin FC Vs FC Pune City

Date & Venue: 2nd February, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 HD & Hotstar

Defending champions Chennaiyin have been mathematically ruled out of contention for a playoff spot after their loss to Northeast United while FC Pune City stand a very small chance for qualification. The away side will be hoping for a final push for the top four and will be more likely the more aggressive of the two. For Chennaiyin, it is all about pride.

The Marina Machans hold the upper hand over the Stallions in this tie winning seven times out of a possible nine. The remaining two matches were stalemates with Pune yet to register a win against the Chennai-based outfit. The current hosts ran away winners with a scoreline of 4-2 in the reverse fixture in November.

Chennaiyin are mathematically out of the playoffs race, while Pune still have a chance

John Gregory will mostly set up his side in his preferred 4-2-3-1 shape. The unavailability of Mailson Alves will hurt the gaffer in terms of defense. Anirudh Thapa looks likely to return to the starting lineup, taking the place of The former Kerala Blasters duo’s(Vineeth and Narzary) chemistry will be key for the home side.

For the Stallions’ first match after the break, Phil Brown will likely put up a 3-4-3 system. The pace and versatility of wingbacks Ashique Kuruniyan and Tamang will be key if the Stallions are going to use the width and space offered by Chennaiyin. Marcelinho and Iain Hume will be looking to exploit the gaps that open up due to the width of the system.

C K Vineeth had a pretty ordinary outing against Northeast in Guwahati. However, he will be looking to endear himself to the Chennaiyin faithful when he plays in his first home game for the Marina Machans. His predatory skills could prove to be the difference in this contest.

Iain Hume has been one of the consistent performers in the first four seasons of ISL. He has not yet shown his complete brilliance in Pune colours but his arrival has coincided with the side’s slight change in fortunes. His performance in this match and the ones to come will be crucial if the Stallions want to make a late playoff push.

ATK Vs Jamshedpur FC

Date & Venue: 3rd February/ Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 HD & Hotstar

With the end of the regular season coming close, this match could end up swaying the playoff race in favour of one side. ATK are 6th in the table 3 points and one spot behind Jamshedpur. A victory here for the home side could make the playoff race more interesting. Jamshedpur will, on the other hand, look to increase their advantage in the fifth position.

ATK are yet to breach the Red Miners having lost once and drawn twice in three meetings against the Men of Steel. They will hope for a turn in fortunes this time around. The first meeting between the two in ISL 5 ended up being a hard-fought draw.

Halder will protect ATK’s backline, while Memo will do the same for Jamshedpur

Steve Coppell favours a tough-defending 4-2-3-1 formation with only one major change from the Kerala Blasters game. Komal Thatal will get the nod to start over Jayesh Rane. The youngsters’ pace and close control will provide a more efficient facet of attack. Strong and physical Andre Bikey and John Johnson will look to shut out the likes of Tim Cahill and Sergio Cidoncha.

Cesar Ferrando employs a similar 4-2-3-1 formation. Mario Arques and Memo are the backbone of this system, with their fluidity and controlling of the play vital to the Red Miners’ attacks. Tim Cahill looks likely to start up front replacing Pablo Morgado.

Edu Garcia’s performance will in all likelihood sway the result of the match. ATK’s new signing impressed in his first game against the Kerala Blasters and capped his performance with a fine goal to open the scoring.


Michael Soosairaj’s pace on the flanks will be crucial for Ferrando’s defense and attack. He will be tasked with stopping the ATK wingers from exploiting spaces for counters, while imposing himself on the attacking end of the pitch also.

Delhi Dynamos Vs FC Goa

Date & Venue: 4th February/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi.

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 HD & Hotstar

With playoff chances looking very minuscule, Josep Gombau will be hoping to finish this season strongly. FC Goa, on the other hand, will need to maintain their advantage against Jamshedpur and solidify their hold on the 4th place. For that, a win is a must.

The capital city side have won only three out of the eleven head-to-head fixtures with the Gaurs emerging victorious 7 times. The last meeting between the two sides saw Goa eke out a comeback victory against Josep Gombau’s side.

Dorronsoro will be Delhi’s custodian, while Nawaz will be Goa’s

Josep Gombau will opt for a 4-2-3-1 with Daniel Lalhimpuia as the lone striker upfront. Shubham Sarangi and Nandakumar will be trying to use their pace on the flanks and support the creative fulcrum that is Rene Mihelic. Bereft of Pritam Kotal, Mohammad Sajid Dhot will slot in for Delhi at right back.

Sergio Lobera’s fluid 4-4-2  will see Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous support each other up front. The centre-back pairing of Fall and Pena will look to shut out Lalhimpuia’s forays into the box. New signing Zaid Krouch will look to make a difference from the bench.

The pacy Nandakumar Sekhar will be on whom the onus is on, especially with the absence of Chhangte. Josep Gombau has relied on the youngster’s energy and skill to provide an alternate dimension to their attacks. He will be looking to cause problems for the overlapping full-backs in the FC Goa side.

For the Gaurs, new signing Zaid Krouch will be looking to make an impact after an indifferent substitute appearance against Jamshedpur. His creativity will be key if Goa wants to recover from their temporary slump.

Bengaluru FC Vs Kerala Blasters

Date & Venue: 36th February/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 HD & Hotstar

For Kerala Blasters, this tie has always been a must-win, especially with the rivalry between the two sets of fans. The away side will be looking to win all of their remaining matches to grab at the small chance at a playoff spot. Bengaluru FC meanwhile will be looking to redeem themselves after their first loss under Carles Cuadrat in ISL 5.

It has been all Bengaluru in this fixture with the home side having won all three meetings against the Yellow Brigade, including a 1-2 victory in the first half of the season at Kochi.

Chhetri will be aiming to get back on form for Bengaluru, while Doungel will be looking be his side’s talisman

Bengaluru looks likely to line-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Chhetri starting up front. Due to the departure of Chencho, Khabra will play in the middle of the park.

Nelo Vingada will field an unchanged lineup from the stalemate against Kolkata. The 4-3-3 formation will allow Stojanovic and Krcmarevic to be at their creative best and they will have to do their best to feed the likes of Seminlen Doungel and Matej Poplatnik if Kerala has to get anything from this fixture.

Indian Skipper failed to make a mark in the first game after the break after a very nonchalant show. The West Block Blues will be hoping that their poster boy will inspire the team as he has always done for them. Chhetri himself will be looking to add to his tally of 5 goals.

Matej Poplatnik managed to make a difference against ATK when he was a key part in the Yellow Brigade’s equaliser. The Slovenian striker’s intuition and instinct will be key if the Blasters want to win their first game against the Blues. He will need to prove his value against the tough Bengaluru defense.