The league returned from the international break with a bang as there were some unexpected results.
It has been a dramatic week in the Indian Super League (ISL), a week known for it’s dramatic finishes, heated battles, controversies and shared points.
Out of all the clashes in the ISL this week, six have finished all square, with both sides splitting the points. Meanwhile, four of the games saw late drama and injury-time goals, which proves how each team is desperate to raise their case, as we gradually head into the business end of the season.
ATK are still at the top of the table, with Hyderabad FC languishing at the bottom. Both NorthEast United and FC Goa had their chance to leapfrog the Kolkata outfit into top spot, but they dropped points. Whereas, Chennaiyin FC and John Gregory have parted ways, after yet another slow start. So, all in all, it was a very eventful week in the ISL.
Here are the major talking points from the week:
5. Can Jamshedpur FC qualify for their first ISL playoffs?
Antonio Iriondo took over the side this season and in his first few months in India, he has proven his mettle. The Men of Steel have shown that urge to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their history. The new Spanish recruits have blended seamlessly into the squad, along with the domestic players. While Sergio Castel has become their talisman upfront and Piti, the main creative nucleus in midfield. Aitor Monroy has gone on doing his job diligently.
Overall, the team are a very compact unit in all parts and despite Piti’s injury, they have kept their good form going. They suffered a heavy defeat against ATK on the road, but the way they came back and defeated FC Goa gives a glimpse of their character as a team.
4. Is it too little too late for Chennaiyin FC?
The Marina Machans had a dismal start to their campaign, failing to find the win for the first few matches. However, this week has seen a turnaround of sorts for them, after winning against Hyderabad and also managing a draw against Odisha FC.
WATCH: Top 10 Goals from the ISL 2019-20 Week 4
But, the main highlight was the club’s decision to part ways with John Gregory. This decision could have been taken earlier, which would have allowed the new manager more room for success. But, now, the Marina Machans find themselves in a tight spot and there will be immense pressure on the new coach to take them back to where they belong.
3. Is the ice beneath Phil Brown’s feet getting thinner with every passing week?
With one win out of their six matches, Hyderabad are languishing at the bottom of the table with only four points. It has been another tough week for the newcomers, with a disappointing loss against Chennaiyin and somehow managing to churn out a 1-1 draw against Bengaluru.
With every winless game, the misery is piling up and Phil Brown is facing the heat. His team have been marred by injuries to key players in the first few games and now with new players coming in, they are gradually adjusting to his system.
However, Brown has not got his combination right and therefore, Hyderabad have looked very shaky in defence and toothless in attack. If this continues. then the Englishman may just have to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot, Gregory.
2. Are Mumbai City lacking a leader in defence?
The Islanders have conceded 12 goals this season in six matches, the second-highest in the league. The defence has been a concern for Jorge Costa and it was once again on show, as his side played out two enthralling 2-2 draws, where compactness at the back would have made it two wins from two matches.
Costa has shown trust in an all-Indian backline which is commendable and with Mato Grgic struggling for fitness, he has had no other option. But, now, the lapses in concentration are happening more consistently and it is not a good sign for the Islanders, as it will affect their playoffs aspirations.
Costa’s men conceded 20 goals in total last campaign and this season they have already let in 12 in six matches, which clearly suggests that they are lacking a leader at the back, who can marshal the troops and bring in that compactness.
1. Has Sunil Chhetri’s resurgence made Bengaluru FC title contenders once again?
The Indian captain was criticized for not finding the back of the net in the first few weeks. Also, since Miku’s departure, Bengaluru FC have lost their cutting edge in attack. So, Sunil Chhetri took the mantle upon himself and scored twice in the past week, earning a crucial win and a draw for his team.
His training ground routine corner worked against Kerala Blasters, as his darting run in the box was not picked up by any opposition defender. Similarly, he handed Bengaluru the lead within the first few minutes against Hyderabad. All-in-all, Chhetri looks fitter than ever and with him coming back to form, Bengaluru are gradually becoming more formidable with every passing week.