ISL- Indian Super League

ISL 2020-21 Talking Points: Why so many draws in the league?


February 4 2021
ISL 2020-21

This week’s action in the league saw the emergence of some important topics worthy of a closer look.

The Indian Super League (ISL) is approaching the business end of the 2020/21 season. With every passing matchday, the ISL 2020-21 is spicing up whether it is in terms of league standings, performances or upsets.

Gameweek 15 of the league had a lot to offer as well. From NorthEast United upsetting ATK Mohun Bagan to Hyderabad FC depriving Bengaluru FC of a win with two late goals. The race for the playoffs is heating up as well with teams tightly packed in the middle.

Here are the talking points from ISL 2020-21 Gameweek 15:

5. Chennaiyin FC discovered the method to stop rampant Mumbai City FC

Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC played out a 1-1 draw when they clashed on 25 January 2021. The match was heavily in the favor of the Islanders on paper, who had come into the fixture on the back of a comfortable victory over SC East Bengal. Chennaiyin FC on the other hand, had lost their last game to ATK Mohun Bagan.

Despite facing tall odds against the league leaders, the Marina Machans showed immense grit. They chased the game for the most part, but a solid second-half performance saw them shutout MCFC’s attacking prowess and pile the pressure on their defence. They were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty which was easily converted by Esmael Goncaves.

4. NorthEast United FC – giant-killers of the season

WATCH: ISL 2020-21 Highlights M76: Mumbai City Vs NorthEast United

Khalid Jamil’s early influence post-Gerard Nus’ dismissal had been positive, but the effect of his appointment finally showed against a strong ATKMB side. The Highlanders were not given a chance before kickoff, since the Mariners were backed to be victorious due to a stronger squad. However, it was the other way around.

NEUFC caused a huge upset by defeating Antonio Lopes Habas’ men by 2-1 and lived up to their tag of giant-killers. Interestingly, both of MCFC’s defeats have also come at the hands of the Highlanders.

3. How can Jamshedpur FC break their goalscoring duck?

Jamshedpur FC drew their game against Kerala Blasters, where both sides could not score on the night. Incidentally, this was the second consecutive goalless draw from Owen Coyle’s men. Their goalscoring prowess has certainly hit a roadblock. In recent weeks. The outfit have scored the third-lowest goals in the league at 13.

Their tactician must alter his approach, which has been too predictable of late. Despite putting in a lot of crosses, the opposition has found it easy to deal with a one-faceted gameplan from the Men of Steel. The quality in the final third needs to improve. Nerijus Valskis has been marked heavily by defenders and the coach must shift the focus of their attacking moves through other players. 

2. Fluid in attack, shambolic in defence – two sides of Noushad Moosa’s Bengaluru FC

If Carles Cuadrat’s BFC were too timid while going forward, then interim coach Naushad Moosa’s team are the opposite. Bengaluru are without a win in their last eight games and have kept zero clean-sheets in the process. Their defence has been surprisingly poor and having Indian international Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has not helped either.

Their 2-2 draw against Hyderabad FC saw the Blues concede two late goals to give up a two-goal advantage. They were overwhelmed by the waves of attacks from the Nizams and the tactician’s substitutions did not help provide cover to the defence. The ex-Mahindra United man must find a way to keep clean-sheet to rise up in the standings.

1. Why have there been so many draws in the league?

Out of the five matches in Gameweek 15, four resulted in stalemates. Moreover, this has been part of the bigger narrative, as there have been too many games that have ended up in draws over the course of the season. Teams like SC East Bengal, Chennaiyin FC and Hyderabad FC have drawn half (7) of their 14 games this term already.

Of the many reasons that can be at the root of this phenomenon, the most notable is the cautious approach by the outfits. With teams so closely packed in the league standings, there is a mindset of settling for a point rather than coming out empty-handed.

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