The second week of league action displayed many things to take note of from all teams.
The Indian Super League (ISL) served up some surprising twists and stark statements in its second week of action, with the borderlines already being setup, separating the top sides from the average ones.
Reigning champions Bengaluru FC’s slow start continued, as they are now winless in three games. FC Goa struggled to get points from the Blues and NorthEast United, who look a rejuvenated unit under Robert Jarni.
The newcomers Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC finally got their first wins on the board in compelling fashion. While, Jamshedpur FC continued their surge by ending the week on top of the standings. Here are our talking points from the eventful week:
5. Should Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC’s mini resurgence be taken seriously?
ISL 2019-20’s new entrants Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC both experienced losses in their first two games. However, in the last week, both bounced back, with Josep Gombau’s side flexing their muscles impressively. In inspired fashion, they defeated Mumbai City FC in a 4-2 win at the Mumbai Football Arena, thanks to their attack.
The Spaniard’s fast-paced, incisive attacking style is finally providing rewards for Odisha. Hyderabad FC also displayed an interesting brand of football when they defeated Kerala Blasters, inspired by Marcelinho’s brilliance. While both sides made definitive statements that they’ve properly arrived in the ISL, they must maintain consistency. Of course, they have the personnel to do that, but unless they get a few similarly positive results on the trot, it’ll be difficult to treat them as top-four contenders.
4. Are Chennaiyin FC victims of poor recruitment in the summer?
Chennaiyin FC are the only side yet to score a goal in ISL 2019-20 campaign and one can’t help but question their foreign signings, especially when it comes to their frontmen. While Lallianzuala Chhangte’s trying his best and has had the most shots on target so far, he’s just not being helped by those around him. Strikers Nerijus Valskis and Andre Schembri have attempted a combined eight shots in the first three games, rarely getting into promising positions or creating anything for their side.
Anirudh Thapa is often operating from way too deep for his own good. Rahim Ali isn’t getting enough minutes and Jeje Lalpekhlua’s presence is badly being missed. John Gregory is walking on thin ice and unless he can rejuvenate his attack, things could quickly get from bad to worse for the southerners.
3. Is Antonio Habas’ experimentation the secret recipe to success for ATK?
Antonio Habas has brought the smiles back for ATK, who sit in second place in the ISL table looking more and more capable of making the playoffs this season. Their striking duo of Roy Krishna and David Williams are doing wonders, with the latter being a big influence in their attack. Antonio Habas’ impressive ability to build a compact side has more importantly, made ATK a hard nut to crack.
The Spaniard tinkered with his domestic players, playing Pritam Kotal as a centre-back and Michael Soosairaj as a left wing-back. Even Prabir Das is operating more like a winger than a full-back, thanks to his crossing ability. Kotal has proven a rock-solid figure, making important challenges in the heart of the defence. Soosairaj’s vibrant presence is having a positive impact on both sides and Prabir is being a big influence. Habas’ tactics are working like a treat, with the Spaniard getting the best out of this players.
2. Are Bengaluru FC feeling the blues from losing Miku?
Bengaluru FC have endured a surprisingly slow start to the season, drawing all their first three games. While one can argue that the games were against difficult, in-form oppositions, but as defending champions they are expected to come out on top. They’re struggling to put definitive attacking moves together, lacking a creative touch and a proper goalscorer in the final third. Miku is being sorely missed.
Manuel Onwu’s trying his absolute best to act as the supporting man for Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh, but Bengaluru need him to start scoring goals. Unlike Miku, who came deep to create moves and was a lethal striker inside the area, things are just not clicking for Onwu. The season is still raw, but Carlos Cuadrat’s men must start performing to keep up with the top.
1. Can Antonio Iriondo’s experience finally help Jamshedpur FC to break their curse?
Jamshedpur FC have felt that “so close yet so far” sensation on multiple occasions in the last two editions of the ISL, but that curse could end this time around. With new foreigners and more importantly a brilliant coach in Antonio Iriondo, the Men of Steel look a much more complete side. With Farukh Choudhary marching them forward, Piti creating chances on the go and Sergio Castel being a menace in attack, Jamshedpur are difficult to contain.
They’re defensively strong with some experienced heads helping their case. Iriondo’s brought all their strengths together to find success. With the Spaniard being on the management scene for a long time, he has all the knowledge needed for success. The Men of Steel are benefiting from a tie-up with Atletico Madrid, as the Spaniards they’ve helped bring in are making decisive contributions.