The fixtures were announced on 1st September.

The ninth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is all set to begin on 7th October. The league has grown leaps and bounds in terms of standard and the way it operates.

After spending two years on the western coast of the country, the top flight is finally set to return to all host cities. The league will be played across 10 cities with fans coming back to the stadiums after missing out on live action for two seasons in a row.

The Indian Super League (ISL) on Thursday announced its fixtures for the 2022-23 season. Kerala Blasters and East Bengal will kick start proceedings to get the competition underway at Kochi.

This season, the league has also announced a new playoff format that will witness six teams making it to the knockouts. On that note, we take a look at the top five ISL fixtures to watch in October.

5. Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa

Old rivals will face off against each other on October 21. Chennaiyin FC will play host to the Gaurs at the Marina Arena to begin their 2022-23 season. Both teams will want to put up a strong fight following a disappointing 2021-22 campaign. 

While Chennaiyin FC finished eighth on the table, FC Goa finished a lowly ninth in the previous edition. Last season, the Gaurs demolished the Marina Machans 6-0 on aggregate across two fixtures and strengthened their head-to-head record.

Watch out for this one as one team will look to set the record straight!

4. Hyderabad FC vs Mumbai City FC

Hyderabad FC won the ISL 2021-22 Trophy. (Courtesy: HFC Media)

The Champions of ISL 2021-22 will begin their title defence against the Champions of 2020-21 on October 9 in their backyard. Hyderabad FC have aged like fine wine ever since their debut season and there’s no stopping them.

The Nizams have garnished their already handsome looking squad with a few notable editions. And for Mumbai, the story has to change following last season’s blunder. The Islanders have gone big in the transfer market and have brought in some big names who can deliver the goods.

The last time these two sides came up against each other, Hyderabad FC completed the league double over the Islanders. This one surely promises to be a feisty battle.

3. Mumbai City FC vs Jamshedpur FC

The 2021-22 League Shield winners will travel to the city of dreams to face the 2020-21 League Shield winners on October 22. 

The ISL Shield defending champions, Jamshedpur FC, scripted a fairy tale last season with some amazing performances. They were unstoppable under the tutelage of Owen Coyle, who got the best of his cohesive unit. 

However, things have changed drastically this season and with a new coach on board, JFC will want to continue their momentum.

Mumbai, on the other hand, had a season to forget. But they look all geared up for the upcoming season. Jamshedpur FC have had the upper hand against the Islanders in recent times. They’ve won two and lost and tied one each. Can Mumbai settle scores or will Jamshedpur continue ascendancy? Let us wait and watch.

2. Kerala Blasters vs East Bengal

The league has finally changed the trend of its opening games and has introduced a brand new fixture. The opening day clash will witness East Bengal making a trip to the lively JLN stadium in Kochi.

The Red & Golds have made their intentions clear with their work behind the scenes. They’ve roped in former Blue Tigers’ head coach Stephen Constantine and have also assembled a new-look squad. Kerala Blasters on the other hand have managed to retain their core and have made a few refinements to their contingent as well. 

East Bengal have never won against the Blasters and to be able to do it at their home is a Herculean task.

1. ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal

ATK Mohun Bagan have defeated East Bengal on six consecutive Kolkata derbies since January, 2020. (Courtesy: Durand Cup Media)

The first-ever Kolkata Derby in the ISL that will be open to fans is also on this list! Brace yourself as the Mariners host their arch-rivals at the Salt Lake Stadium on October 29.

This will also be ATK Mohun Bagan’s first-ever Kolkata Derby at their home venue in the ISL and they’ll surely want to make it special. But standing in their way will be a new looking East Bengal side who’ll surely put up a strong fight, fighting for more than just pride.

It’s more than just a game, it’s more about emotions, ethos, and culture. The Red & Golds have never managed to beat ATK Mohun Bagan in the ISL. In fact, they were on the losing side when the two sides met in the Durand Cup in late-August.

Can East Bengal settle past scores? Or will ATK Mohun Bagan continue their dominance? Watch out.

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