ILeague 2019-20: Inspecting the numbers behind Mohun Bagan's league astonishing triumph
The Mariners have pocketed the I-league trophy in sensational style, outscoring and outwitting every opponent in the league and here are the numbers to prove their dominance.
Mohun Bagan sealed their fifth National League title and second I-League title last week with four rounds to spare.
The Mariners, who have by been head and shoulder above every other team in the league this season pocketed the trophy in sensational style, outscoring and outwitting every opponent in the league. Coached by the wily Spaniard Kibu Vicuna, the Kolkata club have employed a high pressing, possession-based style of football which is both pleasing on the eye and extremely effective in terms of goal-scoring.
With the I-League currently suspended due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, it is worthwhile to dive deeper and take a look at how good Mohun Bagan have been this season and what this title triumph could mean for them going ahead.
In the 16 matches they have played so far this season, the Mariners have netted 35 goals. Their closest rivals in terms of goal scoring numbers are Minerva and Churchill, who have both netted 23 so far. Of course, 20 of their 35 goals have come from the sensational duo of Fran Glez and Papa Diawara, who have both scored 10 each. Apart from these two, Bagan has also got nine different goalscorers including some from the boots of Subha Ghosh, one of Kolkata football’s hottest young talents.
Fran Glez and Papa Diawara have led Mohun Bagan's attack by scoring 10 goals each.
In midfield, it has been Joseba Beitia who has been at the heart of almost every attack Bagan has mustered. The Spaniard has nine assists and three goals to his name, proving how good he is on the ball. Their free flowing football combined with such lethal finishing has helped Bagan rack up 12 wins and three draws this season, and they have not lost a game since the defeat to Churchill Brothers in the second round of fixtures.
A tight defence and Vicuna’s tactical superiority
Of course while Bagan have been scoring for fun at one end, it was equally important for someone to step up and make sure the defence was as tight as ever so they could see out games in a better fashion.
Former I-League winner Ashutosh Mehta has played that role to perfection this season, rising up to the challenge and neutralizing almost every attacker who he has faced this season. The former Aizawl man was ably accompanied by Daniel Cyrus and Fran Glez in defence, who has conceded the least amount of goals in the league (13).
Ashutosh Mehta has been at the heart of Mohan Bagan's defence (Image: Twitter/Ashutosh_mehta1)
A large part of the credit should also go to Vicuna for the way he has organized and motivated his troops throughout the season. The Spaniard did not have an easy job on his hands, with Mohun Bagan having to play without a title sponsor throughout the campaign and doubts continually raised over whether or not the club was being run in the right manner by those in charge.
Vicuna, however did not flinch and made several notable changes after the first 2 rounds of the league. He replaced the misfiring Salva Chamorro with Diawara and dropped the error-prone Debjit Majumdar to the bench, bringing Sankar Roy under the posts instead. In doing so, the Mariners found a next gear and from failing to score from the 28 chances they created in the first 2 games they sealed the title in record time in the history of the national league. This philosophy was exemplified by Bagan’s 23-pass goal in their 3-0 win over Churchill Brothers in February as well.
What lies ahead for Mohun Bagan?
With the league safely in their pockets, Mohun Bagan only have the last-ever Kolkata Derby to look forward to this season. With the merger with ATK set to be completed before the next season starts, the fans have much to look forward to as the new entity will be plying its trade in the top division of Indian football i.e the Indian Super League.
ATK did win the ISL 2019/20 as well this season, so it will be interesting to see how the organizational and recruitment hurdles are solved but is no doubt, an interesting time to be a Mariner!