We are now very close to the final five matchdays of this season’s Indian Super League (ISL). And as usual, this past week has seen a number of twists and turns in the points table and quite a few interesting scorelines.
Mumbai City FC are still top, having extended their lead to six points after 12 unbeaten games. They face NorthEast United, Kerala Blasters and FC Goa next and if they manage to not lose during this stretch, then they might just run away with the top spot. The fact that their second leg clash with ATK Mohun Bagan is scheduled for the last matchday might just make it slightly easier for them. The Kolkata giants need to get back to winning ways after their defeat against the Highlanders. They too have a difficult run coming up with matches against Kerala, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur before the derby comes calling. Antonio Habas’ side can ill afford to drop any more points if they want to capitalize on any mistakes from Mumbai City.
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FC Goa and Hyderabad FC are still the favourites for the two remaining playoff spots. Goa especially have found a rich vein of form recently and will look to beat SC East Bengal tonight in an effort to reduce the gap between themselves and ATK Mohun Bagan. Hyderabad have dropped down a couple of notches in terms of their defensive form. But Manuel Marquez will be hoping that the addition of Roland Alberg and the return of Fran Sandaza brings a few more goals to their kitty in the remaining games.
NorthEast United and Chennaiyin FC currently look like the two mid-table sides best placed to pose a serious challenge for the top 4. Both of them have been up and down lately but you wouldn’t put it past them to spring a few more surprises along the way. The same can be said for Kerala Blasters who are currently 9th but still just four points off Hyderabad at 4th. Further down, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur FC look like they might just have run out of steam. While nothing is quite going as per plan for the Blues, injuries and losing Jackichand Singh to Mumbai City might just play a part in Owen Coyle’s side eventually giving up on the chase.
Meanwhile, SC East Bengal have another big test tonight against FC Goa. If they can somehow pull off a victory, then they will be right back in the mix with 15 points from 14 games. However, a defeat might be difficult to recover from considering that they still have to play the derby and against a strong Hyderabad FC. Finally, Stuart Baxter’s Odisha FC have nothing to lose at this point which makes them a dangerous proposition for those looking to get points on board. On the flip side, if they wilt further under pressure, it could mean easy points for the likes of NorthEast, Goa, Mumbai City and Mohun Bagan, all of whom are much superior to the Kalinga Warriors on paper.