We are at a critical point in what has been an incredibly exciting Indian Super League (ISL) season. A glance at the points’ table will tell you that Mumbai City are two points ahead of ATK Mohun Bagan at the top with a game in hand, with the chasing pack starting to fall behind. At this point, the top two positions seem to be sealed between them but with eight matchdays still left, one could never say for sure.
It gets even more interesting just below them with FC Goa, Hyderabad FC, NorthEast United, Chennaiyin, Bengaluru, Jamshedpur, Kerala Blasters and even SC East Bengal still in the mix for a top 4 spot. However, while the first three are in a decent run of form which makes their chances quite realistic, the next three are in a downward spiral. The Tuskers and the Red and Golds continue to baffle experts and fans alike with their inconsistency, something that has seen them play like world beaters one day and look absolutely pedestrian the next. With his side facing Mumbai City next, a win would be a huge result for Robbie Fowler’s men although with the derby also not too far away.
|ATK Mohun Bagan (Q)||19||12||4||3||+15||40|
|Mumbai City (Q)||19||11||4||4||+15||37|
|SC East Bengal||19||3||8||8||-10||17|
Speaking about inconsistency, the two most worried head coaches at the moment will definitely be Naushad Moosa and Owen Coyle. While the former took over a struggling Bengaluru and hasn’t managed to inspire confidence in subsequent outings, the latter has overseen three consecutive defeats for the first time this season after a solid couple of months. Both of them need to find a solution and find it fast if they do not want to slide further down the table.
Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United also have to pick their game up if they are to seriously challenge for the playoff positions. The Marina Machans have won just once in their last six games and the departure of Rafael Crivellaro has increased Csaba Laszlo’s problems. Replacement Manuel Lanzarote is still under quarantine and they need him badly right about now. It was a similar scenario for the Highlanders just four days back but they managed to defeat Jamshedpur FC in a thrilling encounter to keep their top 4 hopes just about afloat.
For Odisha FC, nothing seems to be going right at the moment. Their victory against Kerala Blasters might have filled the fans with renewed hope, but that proved to be a false dawn with the Kalinga Warriors failing to register another win since. Stuart Baxter’s side face Bengaluru, Jamshedpur and ATK Mohun Bagan and while it doesn’t look like they are going to finish anywhere else other than the bottom, they might still have a role to play as party-poopers for a few others.