Strikers dominate the rankings after a superb first three weeks of the campaign.
The seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is three weeks old now and with every team having played at least three matches, it is safe to say that fans and pundits have all gotten a first look at the performances of each of the 11 teams taking part. Meanwhile, in a bid to try and determine the top 10 most consistent players across the whole campaign, Khel Now has introduced another landmark innovation, namely – the ‘Khel Now Power Rankings.’
This particular piece is infact the first iteration of the series and it highlights the 10 players who have emerged as the best in the league, based on their performances for their respective teams in the past three weeks. So, without further ado, let us take a look at who has topped the ‘Khel Now Power Rankings’ in Phase 1 of the 2020-21 season. Please note that the Phase 1 of the 2020-21 season ended after the game between Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC on December 9, 2020.
10. Ahmed Jahouh (8 points)
The former FC Goa defensive midfielder endured a shaky start to the season at his new club, Mumbai City FC. In his very first game, he received a direct red card and a subsequent one-match ban for his harsh tackle on NorthEast United’s Khassa Camara. Mumbai City went on to lose the game, but won all of the remaining four matches thereafter.
In three of those games – against SC East Bengal, Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC, Jahouh played an integral role in his team’s midfield, playing a total of 283 passes at an average of 70.75 passes per match. During this period, he also maintained a decent passing accuracy of 82.68%. He did not neglect his defensive duties either, with 36 tackles, eight interceptions and seven clearances to his name.
10. Javi Hernandez (8 points)
Javi Hernandez was an important part of ATK’s title-winning squad in the 2019-20 season, scoring twice in the 3-1 win against Chennaiyin FC in the final. Based on his masterful performances, this season at ATK Mohun Bagan, he was rewarded with a place in the new squad as well. In all fairness, one could say that the 31-year-old has really justified the management’s faith in him.
In 263 minutes across three matches, Hernandez played 105 passes and completed nearly two thirds of them. He has also managed 13 tackles, three interceptions and a clearance so far, to become a confirmed presence in Antonio Habas’ matchday squad.
8. Aridane Santana (9 points)
After impressing for Odisha FC last season, Aridane Santana joined the team from Hyderabad in the summer. Based on his performances with them – especially against his former club, he has stoodout as one of the best strikers in the league so far.
In 264 minutes across three matches, the 33-year-old scored twice, took 10 shots and attempted 68 passes. His two goals also gave the Nizams four crucial points – through a win and a draw as they are still unbeaten in the league after three games.
8. Brandon Fernandes (9 points)
One of only two Indians on this list, Brandon Fernandes has already given fans and pundits enough reasons to prove why he is one of the best in the business. After being left out of the starting XI in their first game against Bengaluru FC, Brandon came on in the second half and played an important role in both the goals that his team scored.
With two assists from three matches, the 26-year-old is already at second place in the assists’ charts. These numbers also show the impact made by the midfielder as he has provided 1.08 assists per 90 minutes which is the highest in the league so far. In addition, Brandon has also played 91 passes so far at an accuracy of 71.42% and attempted six dribbles with an impressive 83% success rate. Furthermore, he has also provided three key passes and helped create three goalscoring chances for his team.
5. Lallianzuala Chhangte (10 points)
The second Indian in this list, Lallianzuala Chhangte’s consistency in terms of his performances for Chennaiyin FC is a matter of good promise for Indian football fans. He has also been an assured presence in his team’s starting XI, clocking 355 minutes across four matches.
In those four matches, the 23-year-old midfielder registered an assist, played 129 passes with an accuracy of over 61% and also performed 16 crosses and five shots. Out of his 129 passes, four were key passes that led to his side creating goalscoring chances. Moreover, he also attempted 11 dribbles overall with a success rate of 55%. He had a good game in particular against Mumbai City FC, in which he participated in the team’s build-up play and also set up Jakub Sylvestr’s goal.
5. Adam le Fondre (10 points)
After a relatively silent first game against NorthEast United, doubts were raised on Mumbai City striker Adam le Fondre’s abilities – only for him to prove them all wrong in the matches that followed.
Le Fondre now has four goals from five games in ISL, including the winning goals against both FC Goa and Chennaiyin. He then netted a brace against SC East Bengal. The 34-year-old also has 11 shots to his name, including a vital defensive clearance against the Gaurs.
5. Khassa Camara (10 points)
NorthEast United’s Khassa Camara has been one of the most consistent players so far this season. NEUFC themselves are doing well, having remained undefeated in five matches. Camara has played an important role in each of them and particularly stood out in their opening fixture against Mumbai City.
Against the Islanders, Camara dominated in midfield and controlled the tempo of the game. He even managed to frustrate Ahmed Jahouh, who in turn fouled him and got sent off, making matters easier for the Highlanders. Overall, the 28-year-old attempted 176 passes and has maintained a passing accuracy of nearly 77%. With 27 tackles, 14 interceptions, nine clearances and eight blocks, the Mauritanian also participated well in his team’s defensive responsibilities.
4. Igor Angulo (11 points)
36-year-old Igor Angulo is the eldest name in this list. With five goals in four games, he is currently at second place in the race for the ISL Golden Boot. He has attempted a total of 12 shots and has also completed four clearances.
Mumbai City FC are the opponents against whom Angulo did not score – after netting once against NorthEast United and twice each against Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters. He had a particularly spectacular game against the Blues, in which he put the ball into the net twice in a span of three minutes to help his team earn a point.
3. Nerijus Valskis (12 points)
At seventh place in the ISL 2020-21 table after four matches, Jamshedpur FC’s performances have been far from satisfactory. Despite this, their most recent win against ATK Mohun Bagan and the current form of their star striker Nerijus Valskis could be a sign of positive things to come for the Men of Steel.
With 15 goals, Valskis won the ISL Golden Boot with Chennaiyin FC last season, before moving to Jamshedpur in the summer. In four matches, he has already scored five goals this season and is the leader in the Golden Boot race once again. The 33-year-old Lithuanian also managed three blocks and three vital clearances, two of which came in the match against Odisha FC in which he also bagged a brace.
2. Hugo Boumous (13 points)
There is no doubt that Hugo Boumous has been Mumbai City’s best player so far. Under Sergio Lobera, the club have undergone a sea change in terms of playing style, but Boumous’ role remains the same from his playing days under the same coach at FC Goa – to be the starting point of his team’s attacks.
In five ISL matches, the 25-year-old has attempted 311 passes and completed 241 of them, at an accuracy of 77.49%. He also managed 21 tackles, three interceptions and four blocks – but the biggest and most important contributions from him came in the form of assists. Out of the four assists he has provided so far, two of them came in the match against East Bengal.
1. Roy Krishna (15 points)
With 15 goals and six assists across 21 matches, Roy Krishna was one of the standout performers for ATK in the 2019-20 season. This term, he seems to have picked up from exactly where he left off last time around, having already netted in four back-to-back games.
The Fijian international was solely responsible for two of ATKMB’s wins, scoring the only goal in both their matches against Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC. He also scored against SC East Bengal and Jamshedpur FC, although the Green and Maroons went on to lose against the latter. Overall, he has clocked 352 minutes on the pitch, taking 14 shots. He has also played 64 passes so far and has made eight tackles and two blocks.