The first round of games indicates that this season, the league is set to be a more evenly-contested one as compared to previous campaigns.
The much-awaited fifth edition of the Indian Super League finally got underway on 29th September, to the delight of football fans in the subcontinent who had been waiting eagerly to see their sides take to the field yet again in the ever-growing league.
We at Khel Now take you through five takeaways from the first game week of the ISL.
5. Delhi Dynamos’ fullbacks are key to their gameplay
Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal took up guard for the Delhi Dynamos as their starting fullbacks against FC Pune City. It quickly became evident that their bombarding runs down the wings were crucial to anything Delhi did from an attacking point of view.
However, the two were often caught out of position with acres of vacant space behind them which left the dynamos very vulnerable to counter attacks. Going forward, a balance of attack and defence from the fullbacks will be crucial if Delhi are to challenge for the title.
4. ATK are overdependent on Lanzarote
The ATK captain was blocked on multiple occasions in his last game
Steve Coppell’s Kolkata side looked devoid of any footballing tactic other than to depend on Manuel Lanzarote to produce a moment of magic as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Kerala Blasters. ATK entered the tournaments as one of the favourites to lift the trophy but they will need to play with more dynamism if they are to live up to their billing.
The former FC Goa midfielder was marked closely by Kerala Blasters in their opening game, a tactic that Coppell can expect in the fixtures to come. The veteran English tactician needs to think of a counter tactic to free the Spaniard as well as use other players in attack, to open up more scoring opportunities for the Kolkata based side.
3. Wingplay will be a headache for Carles Cuadrat
Rahul Bheke and Nishu found themselves pegged back throughout the game against Chennaiyin FC. The Indian pair usually love to go on forward runs all the way up or into more central areas of the pitch. This is essential to the gameplay the Blues field.
However, the lack of attacking intent from the fullbacks meant that the Blues looked a far less threatening side than we are used to seeing.
2. Coro is FC Goa’s main man
The Spanish forward was on song yet again as he scored a brace in his side’s 2-2 draw against a resilient NorthEast United FC side. As long as Coro can keep his scoring boots on, Goa will possess a lethal threat going forward. The two goals in the first game of the tournament was a statement of intent from the 35-year-old.
The Spanish striker was in red-hot form last season and a brace already in the first game of the season could mean a similar performance by him this term. Sergio Lobera’s tactics have allowed the Gaurs to be one of the best attacking units in the Indian Super League (ISL) and Coro’s involvement could land them a playoffs position this season.
1. Mumbai City FC need to sort out their defence
Mumbai City FC’s defensive frailties were on full display as they were put away by the relatively young Jamshedpur FC, who are only in their second season in the Indian Super League. The Mumbai side possesses one of the most potent attacks in the league. However, mistakes in defence could cost them dearly as they go forward in the tournament.