The Indian Super League (ISL) has almost wrapped up its group stages with only a handful of fixtures left for all sides. The top 3 is more or less certain after Gameweek 11 although the competition for the AFC Champions League is still on. The 4th playoff spot has been very keenly contested this week and while Mumbai City FC has the temporary advantage, Chennaiyin FC has a game in hand over the Islanders.
Bengaluru FC, ATK FC and FC Goa all played two and won both this week, thus making the race for the top spot all the more enticing. The battle for the last playoff spot has become incredibly exciting as well, with Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC and Odisha FC all in the mix. Jamshedpur FC has fallen off the pace but still pose a threat despite being 5 points off. Kerala Blasters, Northeast United FC and Hyderabad FC have all fallen off the bandwagon and are no longer in the running.
Takeaways from Week 11:
#1 An epic showdown awaits us
Three franchises fighting for the AFC Champions League spot, 4 for the final playoff spot and all of them having a go at each other over the final few weeks of the season: ISL Season 6 has seen some phenomenal results but the final weeks are sure to create more and more drama going forward.
#2 Bengaluru FC show why they win so much so often
Well into the season, Bengaluru FC had problems scoring goals but they have addressed it and how. Replacing Onwu with Deshorn Brown was a masterstroke by Carles Cuadrat and the Blues look very much in sync and a real threat on the break.
#3 How much will the loss of Aridane hurt Odisha FC?
Despite not having the best of starts, Odisha FC has been a treat to watch of late especially with their main forward Aridane scoring goals for fun. However, a knee injury has curtailed the season for their frontman which means they go into the final leg of the season without a reliable goalscorer. They have secured Onwu from Bengaluru FC on a loan deal but will he be good enough to fill Aridane’s boots?
#4 Chennaiyin FC look like the dark horses of the ISL?
Having endured a miserable start to the season, Chennaiyin FC has roared back to life under Owen Coyle. Fuelled by Valskis and Crivellaro, the Machans have played some irresistible football of late which was exemplified by their 6-3 hiding of Kerala Blasters away from home recently. They are only 2 points of Mumbai and could well upset everyone else and snatch the final playoff spot from the others.
Some key stats from Gameweek 11:
Matches Played: 73
Goals Scored: 209
Average goals per game: 2.86
Most goals: 12 – Nerijus Valskis (Chennaiyin FC)
Most assists: 6 — Rafael Crivellaro ( Chennaiyin FC)
Matches to look forward in Gameweek 12:
Mumbai City FC v Jamshedpur FC
A mid-table six-pointer, if there ever was one. Both teams will be desperate to nick this one at any cost.
Chennaiyin FC v Bengaluru FC
Chennaiyin’s last home game of the season will be against eternal rivals Bengaluru as they look to avenge the 0-3 loss from the away leg.