Rejoice Indian football lovers as Indian Super League (ISL) is back! The sixth edition of the ISL is all set to start on October 20, 2019. The opening match observes Kerala Blasters FC lock horns with rivals ATK. On the other hand, last year’s winners Bengaluru FC will also kick-start their campaign at home on October 21 when they take on NorthEast United FC. Indian football carnival will be a five months affair and the league phase will end on February 23, 2020. ISL as of now have only announced the league fixtures and the dates of semi-final and final fixtures are yet to be disclosed.
Delhi Dynamos has been renamed as Odisha FC whereas FC Pune City is not a part of this year’s ISL. The Pune club has been replaced by new entrant Hyderabad FC. On the whole, 10 teams will be seen fighting out to lift the beautiful silver trophy in Indian Super League Season 6. ATK, Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, Hyderabad FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United FC, Odisha FC are the ten teams who will ply their trade.
The two-time winners of Indian Super League (ISL) will kick start their season on October 20 against Kerala Blasters. The Kolkata-bound club had an unsettled campaign last year, finishing sixth under Steve Coppell. Having failed during an experimental phase, ATK has gone back to Antonio Lopez Habas.
This season, the biggest buy for ATK is Fijian forward Roy Krishna who can lead the attack from the front. Slick passing and strong counter-attacks are the positive traits of ATK. With the likes of Krishna, Bobby Justin and Balwant Singh we can expect goal glory from ATK.
ATK needs to concentrate in their midfield area. With the departure of Lanzarote, the club will look for a new man who can create chances and take counter-attacks.
2. Bengaluru FC
You don’t need any special introduction to this club. Defending champions will look to keep the trophy in their cabinet. Talking about their coach, Carles Cuadrat, the Spanish international is the best head coach in India currently. Implementing a possession style of play, the team featuring Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Rahul Bheke, Erik Paartalu, Raphael Augusto, Ashique Kuruniyan and India’s beloved Sunil Chhetri can dominate any club in India.
If the team has Gurpreet Singh Sandhu as a guardian angel and Sunil Chhetri as a goal machine, who can challenge them? The midfield of Bengaluru FC also boosts creativity.
The departure of Miku who scored plenty for his team last season can put the burden on Chhetri. And a little pressure of being a great club?
3. Chennaiyin FC
After disappointing last season, Marina Machans will look to bolster their side to the top in the upcoming season. The head coach John Gregory alongside Konstantinos Rostantis (Head Coach of Medicine/ Assistant Coach) will try a new style in order to lift the trophy.
Nerijus Valskis, Dragos Fietulescu, Rafael Crivellaro and Andre Schembri are the new names on whom Chennaiyin FC can rely on. With Vishal Kaith as a goalie, defenders Lucian Goian, Jerry Lalrinzuala and midfield which consists of Anirudh Thapa, Dhanpal Ganesh, CFC will eye for the glory.
Their defence is their biggest problem. Eli Sabia and Lucian Goian are the only senior defenders from the squadron. Also, it might take time for players to know each other’s style of play. Coming to the midfield department, last season was evidential of poor midfield show. How Chennaiyin FC will play? Let time answer this question.
4. FC Goa
FC Goa is a club which boasts persistent attacks, skill on the ball and a gung-ho approach in matches designed to overcome oppositions. After reaching two semi-finals and two finals, including 2018-19 one, Gaurs will definitely look to conquer the trophy. FC Goa’s attacking philosophy is quite known now and with almost the same squad at his disposal, Goa fan can expect Sergio Lobera to have fine-tuned his tactics much further.
Attack, attack and attack. With Ferran Corominas, Edu Bedia, Telem Jackichand Singh, Mandar Rao Dessai the attack seems to be a formidable one. Talking about their defence there will be no slouch either, with Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena guarding the heart of their defence and the talented Chinglensana and Ranawade backing them up.
It was seen last year that FC Goa loses ball possession at moments. FC Goa is one of the few clubs who will start their campaign with six foreign players – one less than the allotted cap of seven –which may prove to be of inconvenience for the longer format of the season.
5. Hyderabad FC
Welcome the new entrants in Indian Super League. Hyderabad which boasts a rich footballing heritage will ply their trade in the domestic circuit for the first time ever. The club will be coached by Phil Brown. The club has roped in former FC Pune City’s players namely Adil Khan, Robin Singh, Marcelo, Marko Stankovic and Nikhil Poojary to name a few. Their marquee signing will be Jamaican international Giles Barnes.
The players mentioned above were all together with FC Pune City for more than two years, as a result, they know each other’s style. This factor will prove vital in the field. Former Hull City manager Phil Brown who had a contract with Pune has been entrusted with the responsibility of taking new club for a top finish.
Even if they have a number of foreign players in the squadron there is an absence of experienced local players. A potent attacking team lined by the number of star players the team looks little weak in the defence.
6. Jamshedpur FC
Every year this club comes up with new faces and try their best for the trophy this year too Jamshedpur has done the same. While some of the prominent players made exit, the incoming coach Antonio Iriondo may find it difficult to find a blueprint for a successful season.
They have mixed youth and experience in their squad. While three youngsters from the Indian Arrows side, Jitendra Singh, Narender and Aniket Jadhav have joined Men of Steel for this season. They have also roped in Kerala Blasters star CK Vineeth who brings in the much-needed experience. One more plus point, Jamshedpur FC will have the privilege of playing their first three games.
To be honest, the club needs to find the best style of play. In 2017, English coach Steve Coppell brought in the pragmatic counter-attack type football, in the second year, Ferrando introduced the attractive possession-based football. Unfortunately, none of the philosophies has worked for them. The coach will have his task cut out to field the best XI.
7. Kerala Blasters FC
No Sandesh Jhingan in ISL! A big blow? Indeed yes. The captain of Kerala Blasters FC will miss ISL for owing an injury recently. Kerala Blasters are anticipated not only to keep their fans at the edge of their seat but any soccer fans for that matter with the immense quality that they have both on and off the field. Kerala Blasters would be the first such big project for Eelco Schattorie who has reasonable experience in ISL. The club has ample resources to be a perfect one, if they use them wisely no club has the power to stop them.
Kerala has forged up their squad with the names of Mario Arques and Sergio Cidoncha who could execute their coach’s philosophy to the core. The fans are excited for Gianni Zuiverloon and Jairo Rodriguez partnering each other at the back while Sahal Abdul Samad would be lined by the likes of Halicharan Narzary and Jeakson Singh Thounaojam.
Play as a team and the trophy is yours! On many instances, in the past seasons, we have witnessed Blasters concentrating on individual players to find success. Sometimes it works but sometimes not, the strategy has fallen flat on its back.
8. Mumbai City FC
Despite having his fair share of trouble in the opening part of the 2018-19 season, Jorge Costa stuck to his ideologies, only making minor tugs to his style of play and it soon paid dividends as he guided the side to the semis. In the Hero ISL 2019-20 season, the 47-year-old will be looking to refine his style.
Potency in the forwards is arguably Mumbai City’s biggest strength. With Modou Sougou and Machado in the squad, the club has added the names of Amine Chermiti, Diego Carlos and more in the squadron.
The club bid adieu to Goian and this can be a big factor in this narrative. Defensively, the Islanders have to work hard this season. Jorge Costa arranged Mumbai City FC’s run till the semi-finals of the 2018-19 campaign. This year too, he needs to modify some tactics in the play.
9. NorthEast United FC
The Highlanders came very near making it (in 2015 and 2016 Indian Super League) among the top four teams but they missed out with a close margin. But gone are the days, now the club has welcomed Croatian international Robert Jarni. Bartholomew Ogbeche, the club highest goal scorer last season (12 goals) has left the club. But the club has already found the replacement in the name of Asamoah Gyan. The star striker is the most high profile signing of this year’s ISL.
The club has quality overseas contingent and a young Indian brigade. The likes of Milan Singh and Wayne Waz are probable to step in when required. To sum up, the Highlanders will hope to eclipse their presentation from last season and win the title.
Though the third part of the field that attacks looks stronger the club should work in the defence area. Also, NEUFC made their transfers in the last. Although a slight delay in the transfers, the club has brought together a clutch of players. So it’s an uphill task for the players to shine in quick time in Indian Super League.
10. Odisha FC
The club set in the coastal state of Odisha, the namesake team will make its debut in Indian Super League this season after their holders decided to relocate their squad from Delhi to Bhubaneswar. Odisha FC will be coached by Spanish coach Josep Gambau for the coming season. Delhi Dynamos were below-par last season and finished at eighth position in the ISL table. With a new name, hope the club rises to the top.
Shubham Sarangi and goalkeeper Ankit Bhyuan both hail from Odisha and can be a key prospect for the club. Carlos Delgado, Diawandou Diagne, Bikramjit Singh, Marcos Tebar, Xisco Hernandez are few names which together makes a good competitive squad.
Although the club looks competitive on paper but they will miss Lallianzuala Chhangte, the rising sensation of India. The Mizo youngster featured in their squad playing all of their Indian Super League matches. Argentina’s Martin Perez Guedes will likely begin from where Chhangte left this season. Tough task ahead Guedes!
ISL 2019-2020 Fixtures – Schedule
Fixtures – October 2019
Date Day Match
October 20 Sunday Kerala Blasters FC vs ATK
October 21 Monday Bengaluru FC vs NorthEast United FC
October 22 Tuesday Jamshedpur FC vs Odisha FC
October 23 Wednesday FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC
October 24 Thursday Kerala Blasters FC vs Mumbai City FC
October 25 Friday ATK vs Hyderabad FC
October 26 Saturday NorthEast United FC vs Odisha FC
October 27 Sunday Chennaiyin FC vs Mumbai City FC
October 28 Monday FC Goa vs Bengaluru FC
October 29 Tuesday Jamshedpur FC vs Hyderabad FC
October 30 Wednesday Chennaiyin FC vs ATK
October 31 Thursday Mumbai City FC vs Odisha FC
Fixtures – November 2019
November 1 Friday NorthEast United FC vs FC Goa
November 2 Saturday Hyderabad FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
November 3 Sunday Jamshedpur FC vs Bengaluru FC
November 6 Wednesday Hyderabad FC vs NorthEast United FC
November 7 Thursday Mumbai City FC vs FC Goa
November 8 Friday Kerala Blasters FC vs Odisha FC
November 9 Saturday ATK vs Jamshedpur FC
November 10 Sunday Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC
November 23 Saturday Bengaluru FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
November 24 Sunday Odisha FC vs ATK
November 25 Monday Chennaiyin FC vs Hyderabad FC
November 26 Tuesday FC Goa vs Jamshedpur FC
November 27 Wednesday NorthEast United FC vs Mumbai City FC
November 28 Thursday Chennaiyin FC vs Odisha FC
November 29 Friday Hyderabad FC vs Bengaluru FC
November 30 Saturday ATK vs Mumbai City FC
Fixtures – December 2019
December 1 Sunday Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa
December 2 Monday Jamshedpur FC vs NorthEast United FC
December 4 Wednesday Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC
December 5 Thursday Mumbai City FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
December 6 Friday Jamshedpur FC vs Chennaiyin FC
December 7 Saturday NorthEast United FC vs ATK
December 8 Sunday Hyderabad FC vs FC Goa
December 11 Wednesday Odisha FC vs Hyderabad FC
December 12 Thursday NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC
December 13 Friday Kerala Blasters FC vs Jamshedpur FC
December 14 Saturday FC Goa vs ATK
December 15 Sunday Bengaluru FC vs Mumbai City FC
December 18 Wednesday NorthEast United FC vs Bengaluru FC
December 19 Thursday Jamshedpur FC vs Mumbai City FC
December 20 Friday Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala blasters
December 21 Saturday Hyderabad FC vs ATK
December 22 Sunday FC Goa vs Odisha FC
December 25 Wednesday ATK vs Bengaluru FC
December 26 Thursday Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa
December 27 Friday Odisha FC vs Jamshedpur FC
December 28 Saturday Kerala Blasters FC vs NorthEast United FC
December 29 Sunday Mumbai City FC vs Hyderabad FC
Fixtures – January 2020
January 2 Thursday NorthEast United FC vs Jamshedpur FC
January 3 Friday Bengaluru FC vs FC Goa
January 4 Saturday Mumbai City FC vs ATK
January 5 Sunday Kerala Blasters FC vs Hyderabad FC
January 6 Monday Odisha FC vs Chennaiyin FC
January 8 Wednesday FC Goa vs NorthEast United FC
January 9 Thursday Bengaluru FC vs Jamshedpur FC
January 10 Friday Hyderabad FC vs Chennaiyin FC
January 11 Saturday Odisha FC vs Mumbai City FC
January 12 Sunday ATK vs Kerala Blasters FC
January 15 Wednesday Hyderabad FC vs Odisha FC FC
January 16 Thursday Chennaiyin FC vs NorthEast United FC
January 17 Friday Mumbai City FC vs Bengaluru FC
January 18 Saturday ATK vs FC Goa
January 19 Sunday Jamshedpur FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
January 22 Wednesday Bengaluru FC vs Delhi Dynamos FC
January 23 Thursday Chennaiyin FC vs Jamshedpur FC
January 24 Friday Hyderabad FC vs Mumbai City FC
January 25 Saturday FC Goa vs Kerala Blasters FC
January 27 Monday ATK vs NorthEast United FC
January 29 Wednesday Odisha FC vs FC Goa
January 30 Thursday Bengaluru FC vs Hyderabad FC
January 31 Friday Mumbai City FC vs NorthEast United FC
Fixtures – February 2020
February 1 Saturday Kerala Blasters FC vs Chennaiyin FC
February 2 Sunday Jamshedpur FC vs ATK
February 5 Wednesday FC Goa vs Hyderabad FC
February 6 Thursday Mumbai City FC vs Jamshedpur FC
February 7 Friday Chennaiyin FC vs Bengaluru FC
February 8 Saturday ATK vs Odisha FC
February 9 Sunday NorthEast United FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
February 12 Wednesday Hyderabad FC vs Jamshedpur FC
February 13 Thursday FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC
February 14 Friday Odisha FC vs NorthEast United FC
February 15 Saturday Kerala Blasters FC vs Bengaluru FC
February 16 Sunday ATK vs Chennaiyin FC
February 19 Wednesday Jamshedpur FC vs FC Goa
February 20 Thursday NorthEast United FC vs Hyderabad FC
February 21 Friday Mumbai City FC vs Chennaiyin FC
February 22 Saturday Bengaluru FC vs ATK
February 23 Sunday Odisha FC vs Kerala Blasters FC