A few players stood out on the basis of their impressive performances in this ISL season.
The league stage of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 season concluded on Sunday following Mumbai City’s 2-0 win over ATK Mohun Bagan. The victory helped the Islanders displace the Mariners at the top of the league table, as a result of which they also earned a spot in the AFC Champions League group stage. Both teams will now progress to the ISL 2020-21 playoffs, where they will be joined by third-placed NorthEast United and FC Goa, who are fourth in the standings.
By now, our readers will be aware of Khel Now’s very own ‘Power Rankings,’ a landmark innovation that has helped us determine the top 10 most consistent players from the ongoing ISL season. This article is the fifth and final iteration of the series and it highlights the best 10 players judged on the basis of their performances so far in the league.
It might also interest readers that only three Indian players – Lallianzuala Chhangte, Liston Colaco and Bipin Singh – have featured in the ‘Power Rankings’ at any given time. Among them, only Chhangte and Bipin make it into the top-10 list at the end of the league stage.
Without further ado, let us take a look at who has topped the ‘Khel Now Power Rankings’ at the end of Phase 5 of the 2020-21 ISL season.
*Phase 5 of the 2020-21 season ended after the game between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan on February 28, 2021.
10. Cleiton Silva (25 points)
Bengaluru FC wrapped up their ISL campaign at an uncharacteristically low seventh place. An unusually weak defence and instability in attack marred the Blues’ hopes of making it into the playoffs. They lost three of their last four league games, but impressed everyone with a 4-2 win against eventual table-toppers Mumbai City FC on February 15.
Cleiton Silva scored two of BFC’s goals that night and those were his sixth and seventh this season. Additionally, he also recorded four assists, thereby taking his goal contributions to 11. Throughout the season, the Brazilian was often the only shining light in an otherwise bleak Bengaluru FC attacking department.
10. David Williams (25 points)
Williams made 17 appearances out of a possible 20, for ATK Mohun Bagan in the ISL 2020-21 league stage. This highlights his importance in the squad, something which he himself has proven over the course of the past 3-4 months.
The 33-year-old registered three goals and two assists so far this season and has also contributed defensively at times. In the ISL 2020-21, he has averaged 3.35 tackles and 1.23 blocks per game to-date.
10. Federico Gallego (25 points)
NorthEast United’s foreign signings have generally done well this season. The likes of Dylan Fox, Benjamin Lambot and Khassa Camara have played vital roles in the club’s top four finish – but the outfit arguably made their best decision among all by extending the term of Federico Gallego.
Gallego has 10 goal contributions (four goals, six assists) and has attempted over 535 passes with an accuracy of 60%. The Spaniard did especially well when the team was going through a transitional phase, which saw head coach Gerard Nus getting replaced by Khalid Jamil and could have climbed higher up this list had he played a few more games without injury.
9. Ahmed Jahouh (28 points)
MCFC’s midfield engine has played 17 matches so far this season. He missed three games – all because of suspensions! The four yellow cards and two red cards that he picked up over the course of this campaign is the only negative mark in an otherwise spotless record.
Four assists, 1282 attempted passes and a passing accuracy of 76.67% prove how good he has been this season. The 32-year-old is also a defensive expert, as evident from his 145 tackles, 28 interceptions, 37 clearances and 22 blocks.
8. Jorge Ortiz (29 points)
FC Goa had to deal with a mass exodus of key players last summer. While many expected the club’s management to make hasty decisions which were likely to backfire, the Gaurs turned those doubters into believers through signings like that of Jorge Ortiz and Igor Angulo. We will talk about the former for the time being.
Ortiz has played either as an attacking midfielder, wide forward or centre-forward throughout this season. But, irrespective of what his role was, he was always effective for Juan Ferrando’s side. The versatile Spaniard notched six goals and an assist across 19 games and is only a few passes shy of the 900-mark. With 36 tackles, 11 interceptions, two clearances and 12 blocks, it is safe to say that he has helped FC Goa defensively as well.
7. Bipin Singh (30 points)
One of only two Indian names in this list, Bipin Singh has been one of Mumbai City’s standout players this season. In a star-studded lineup that comprises well-established players like Adam le Fondre, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Hugo Boumous and others, Bipin managed to carve a niche for himself and made that left wide-forward role in the starting XI his own.
The 25-year-old has five goals to his name so far and is the only player t0-date to score a hat-trick in the league this season. With 496 attempted passes, four assists and a passing accuracy of 60%, it can also be said that he is equally good at creating chances.
6. Hugo Boumous (32 points)
The third and final MCFC player in this list, Hugo Boumous is also one of the Islanders’ driving forces, as they now look forward to the playoffs and a potential league title. With two goals and seven assists from 13 matches, the Frenchman could have done much more had it not been for the ban that he is currently serving due to a recent altercation with match officials.
Boumous has also attempted 737 passes, which is one of the best in the league – with a passing accuracy of nearly 73%. With 49 tackles, eight interceptions and five blocks, the 25-year-old has also bailed out Sergio Lobera’s side defensively on more than a few occasions.
4. Aridane Santana (37 points)
In a league that comprises star-studded teams like ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City and Bengaluru FC among others, Hyderabad FC stood out this season by using their limited resources as efficiently as possible. Further, head coach Manolo Marquez almost took them to the playoffs for the first time, before falling at the final hurdle against FC Goa on Sunday.
Throughout their campaign, HFC showed the importance of functioning well as a team. But, it could not have been possible without the constant involvement of some key names, one of them being captain Aridane Santana. The 33-year-old shifted base from Odisha FC last summer and notched 12 goal contributions (10 goals, two assists) for his new team this term. He also averaged 2.28 tackles, 1.28 blocks, 1.00 clearances and 0.89 interceptions per game across 18 matches.
4. Diego Mauricio (37 points)
Given how shambolic Odisha’s campaign was this season, Diego Mauricio and his performances for the Juggernauts stick out like a sore thumb. There would be no counter-arguments to the claims that the Brazilian has been the best performer for the club and that he was also one of the better players in the league this season.
The 29-year-old scored 12 goals and recorded two assists in ISL 2020-21, including a brace against Kerala Blasters in what was a memorable 4-2 win. Mauricio himself scored a third in the same game and was unfortunately not awarded what would have been a hat-trick, as the goal came off a deflection from a KBFC defender.
2. Lallianzuala Chhangte (43 points)
It would be a matter of pride for Indian football fans to understand that Lallianzuala Chhangte is tied at second place in the list of ISL’s top performers this season. Although Chennaiyin FC misfired hugely in terms of recruitment and on-field performances, Chhangte was able to standout as one of the best players not just in his team, but also across the entire league.
The 23-year-old clocked 1792 minutes across 20 matches this season, along with notching four goals and an assist. His 699 attempted passes with an accuracy of nearly 60% indicate how keen he was to create opportunities. With 55 tackles, 23 blocks and 17 interceptions, the winger also helped his team defensively.
2. Igor Angulo (43 points)
When Ferran Corominas left FC Goa in the summer, questions were asked about how the club could even think of replacing him with someone else. But, in came Igor Angulo and nearly five months later, such doubts have ceased to exist.
The Spaniard who was the top scorer in the Polish top flight last season, is only one goal shy of Roy Krishna’s tally at the top of the ISL scoring charts. He is also one of the few attackers who have clocked 1500+ minutes on the pitch in 19 appearances – an impressive stat considering his age. At 37, Angulo has proved that age is just a number and it does not matter as long as you’re finding the back of the net consistently.
1. Roy Krishna (51 points)
The man with the Midas touch, Roy Krishna is once again one of the best players of the ISL 2020-21 after a standout 2019-20 campaign saw him taking home the league title. Although ATK Mohun Bagan missed out on ACL qualification by losing against Mumbai City on Sunday, they still have the playoffs to look forward to.
Needless to say, all or most of ATKMB’s goalscoring responsibility in the playoffs will be shouldered by Krishna, just like how he did so far this season. With 14 goals, the Fijian is currently leading the ISL Golden Boot race as well. He is also one of the very few players to play all 20 league stage matches for any team this season. With four assists, Krishna’s overall goal contributions stand at 18.