There are a number of impressive shot-stoppers who will be vying for the honour this time.
The eighth edition of the Indian Super League is near. Like previous seasons, the 2021-22 season of the ISL will also involve many talented local players combined with exceptional foreign players in each team. Last year, the teams with the best defences went long in the competition. This is true for all competitions and this is where the importance of a good defence and an exceptional goalkeeper are visible.
In the forthcoming season as well, there will be several goalkeepers who will be under focus throughout their respective campaigns. These custodians will have a parallel competition amongst them to come out with the most number of clean sheets and conceding the least number of goals.
During the previous season, Amrinder Singh and Arindam Bhattacharya tied with 10 clean sheets while vying for the Golden Glove award. The fans are eagerly waiting for ISL 2021-22 to begin, to witness this rivalry yet again. Meanwhile, there will be other contenders as well who will stake a claim for the Golden Glove award. That said, here is a look at the top five goalkeepers who could walk away with the honour.
5. Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem (FC Goa)
Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem is one of the most promising young players in Indian football right now. He is also touted to become the Indian football team’s first choice goalkeeper in future. The youngster’s performance between the sticks have steadily become developed across time.
FC Goa’s defence, led by players like Dylan Fox and Ivan Gonzalez is already strong, therefore scoring against them will be tough. Add Dheeraj to the equation and it is safe to assume that Gaurs will concede a lesser number of goals than many other clubs in ISL 2021-22.
The former Kerala Blasters, ATK Mohun Bagan shot-stopper was sensational in the AFC Champions League 2021 for the Gaurs. He was also brilliant in the U-23 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers for India, where he made several important saves. The custodian saved two penalties against Kyrgyzstan U-23 to help the team finish in second in Group E.
All eyes will hence be on the 21-year-old who will look to stamp his authority in the league next season.
4. Mohammad Nawaz (Mumbai City FC)
Mohammad Nawaz‘s earliest claim to fame was becoming a part of the probable’s list for the U-17 national team for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Although he didn’t make the cut to the final squad, FC Goa recognised his efforts and roped him in ahead of the 2018-19 season. He made 43 appearances for the Gaurs since then in the league, keeping 10 clean sheets and making 96 saves. He conceded just 11 goals last season, and earned a move to Mumbai City after Goa signed Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem.
In his upcoming ISL 2021-22 campaign, the 21-year-old is expected to pick up from where he left off last season. A sturdy defensive line comprising Mourtada Fall, Rahul Bheke, Amey Ranawade, Mandar Rao Dessai and others will be in front of him, which is why it will not be surprising if the Islanders emerge as a defensive behemoth.
3. Arindam Bhattacharya (SC East Bengal)
Arindam Bhattacharya recorded 10 clean sheets in the 2020-21 season and was joint-top on the charts with Amrinder Singh. The custodian was also very crucial to ATK Mohun Bagan’s march into the final of the ISL play-offs and was a consistent performer all across the season.
The 31-year-old custodian has joined SC East Bengal for the 2021-22 season of the ISL. The Red & Gold Brigade have a lot of room to improve, starting from the back. With several new players and a new head coach leading the team, it will be interesting to see how their campaign unfolds.
Having a reliable figure like Bhattacharya at the back will give the defence a lot of confidence. The man himself is expected to continue his form from last season, and the Golden Glove award for a straight second time might not be a distant dream.
2. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is currently holding the record of registering most clean sheets in a single ISL season. The custodian won the Golden Glove award during the 2019-20 season as well, with 11 clean sheets to his name. He is also the only goalkeeper in the history of the ISL to win the award twice.
Bengaluru FC will be under the leadership of Marco Pezzaiuoli and several new faces are part of the squad. Defenders like Yrondu Musavu-King and Alan Costa will experience the league for the first time and make their respective league debut. It remains to be seen how the team performs together, but Sandhu will surely be amongst the Golden Glove contenders, having been one of the most consistent performers in the league over the years.
1. Amrinder Singh (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Amrinder Singh had 10 clean sheets last season. The former Mumbai City FC skipper was crucial in the team’s ISL shield and ISL trophy success. The 28-year-old will play for ATK Mohun Bagan in the forthcoming campaign and will hope to guide them to success.
The Mariners are being regarded as a very capable defensively outfit. Antonio Lopes Habas prefers his teams to be solid at the back and that is where Amrinder Singh will flourish. He will surely be amongst the top shot-stoppers in terms of keeping clean-sheets and conceding the fewest goals in ISL 2021-22, considering the strength of the team and his individual brilliance.