The Juggernauts concluded their campaign by finishing rock-bottom in the points table of the ISL 2020-21 league stage.
This season, Odisha FC had one of the most disastrous campaigns ever in the history of the Indian Super League (ISL). The team had a good mix of young Indian players and experienced foreigners, but things seldom went their way. With just two wins from 20 games, they finished at the bottom of the standings at the end of the league stage.
Before the start of the season, the Juggernauts announced changes in the backroom staff and appointed former South Africn national team head coach Stuart Baxter at the helm, with former Arsenal goalkeeping coach Gerald Peyton and former India international Steven Dias as his two assistants. But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related logistical issues, the coaches’ visas got approved late. This, in turn, meant that they had only 11 days to prepare before their first game, after undergoing a mandatory 14-day quarantine in the league’s bio-bubble in Goa.
Fact Sheet For Odisha FC in Indian Super League Season 2020-21
The Brazilian marksman was the most consistent player for the Juggernauts this season. He amassed 12 goals for his side during the course of their campaign. His blistering pace and pinpoint accuracy in front of goal made him one of the most feared attackers this season. Unfortunately for him, his teammates couldn’t perform at a similar level.
Odisha FC massively under-performed in terms of defensive duties this season. Despite that, the former Minerva Punjab goalkeeper earned plaudits from the media and fans for his shot-stopping. Arshdeep holds the record for making the most number of saves by an ISL goalkeeper this season, with 64 in 16 games.
The Mizo speedster was one of the players to watch out for this season and he delivered whatever was expected from him. With his blistering pace on the wings, he tried to stretch the opponents’ defence whenever he could. He also chipped in with goals and assists whenever he got the chance. In the 17 games he played this season, he scored two goals and notched up five assists – the most among Indian players in the league.
Underperformer of the Season
It goes without saying that Steven Taylor was the most experienced defender plying his trade in India this season. He had more than 100 Premier League caps on his name and much was expected from him defensively. However, the Englishman failed to guide his team, as the Juggernauts conceded an average of 2.2 goals per game.
Steven Taylor’s 2019-20 Season in Numbers
- Appearances: 17
- Goals: 2
- Touches: 586
- Passing Accuracy: 80.65%
- Average Passes Per Game: 25.24
- Tackles: 12
- Yellow Cards: 5
- Fouls: 20
1. Odisha FC 6-5 SC East Bengal
2. Kerala Blasters FC 2-4 Odisha FC
3. Odisha FC 2-2 Kerala Blasters FC
Manager’s Report Card
Stuart Baxter, who was initially appointed at the helm worked as Odisha FC’s head coach for first 14 games before being sacked by the club for his ill-advised comments on live television. It was quite visible that his team lacked quality in defence and midfield.
Despite the resources at his disposal, he was unable to impress during his time with the Juggernauts. In the 14 games that he managed, the club registered just one win, apart from five draws. The remaining eight games ended in defeats. It is hence safe to say that Baxter’s stint in India was an absolute failure.
Lessons to be learned
Odisha FC had gotten very little time to prepare themselves for the season, when compared to other teams. But, looking at their progress in the conpetition, one could say that they lacked something in every game.
The team will now need to start from scratch and re-build themselves for next season, with some smart activity in the transfer market and a bit more of preparedness before the start of the season.
Projjal Prajna Das: With a young squad, we were hopeful of an energetic start. But unfortunately, last season’s young colts Vinit Rai and Jerry missed out on the initial matches and their absence was clearly felt. We lacked composure in defence and gave away easy goals from the left side, although Jacob moving on to the right-back gave us promising chances. We missed the perfect XI in every single match.
The chemistry of front three was incoherent and to be fair, Onwu should have delivered as per his reputation. Cole proved his value worth in gold although the transition from deep to mid to front was sorely missing. But amidst all the criticism, we are delighted with the fact that our young signings performed when asked to. The likes of Paul, Zuala, Thoiba (before his injury), Isak are here to stay! And how can we conclude without singing praises for the two pillars of our team – Arshdeep and Mauricio! We saw top-level performances from our keeper and the marauder and we hope that they continue their form onto the next season.
Finally we’re optimistic that the team management finds a prolific coach who can work closely with our youngsters and present us an enjoyable display of The Beautiful Game next season.