Chennaiyin FC and ATK served us up an absolute classic last night, but what have we learned from the match?
#1 When you are struggling, every decision you make goes against you
Before the match Teddy Sheringham’s decision to drop Jussi Jääskeläinen in favour of Debjit Majumdar seemed to make sense as it gave ATK an extra outfield foreign player. However, as the Indian shot-stopper parried the ball into Jeje’s path after ATK had fought back twice to level the game at 2-2 you couldn’t help think that the legendary Finn would have done just a bit better.
#2 Robbie Keane is back, but will it be enough?
ATK’s main man finally made his entrance in the second half but, understandably, had minimal impact on the game even with ATK scoring after he came on. It remains to be seen whether Keane’s return will be the spark that ATK need. ATK had struggled to create clear-cut chances so far this season and they did get on the scoresheet twice last night, but they will need to make sure that the service into Robbie Keane is of the standard he needs to score the goals they need.
#3 The team that makes the fewest mistakes will win the ISL
That sounds like a statement right off the front page of Jose Mourinho’s philosophy but it is true. ATK made more mistakes than Chennaiyin last night and got punished. It was the same against FC Pune City. Bengaluru FC led the way initially as they had been error free. Sure, the defensive errors are making the games watchable but it will leave the coaches tearing their hair out as they try to put a run of form together. The team that has barely made an error so far? Jamshedpur FC. But how long can that last?
#4 John Gregory has a classic poacher in Jeje
The Indian frontman barely touched the ball outside the ATK area but he didn’t need to as his brace from a combined total of about six yards was enough to give Chennaiyin victory. Watch his movement though, it is very clever and in the mould of the classic fox-in-the-box.
#5 Possession is overrated
We touched on this in the last Power Ranking piece and it also compliments what we said in point #3. If you have possession of the ball you have to know what you are looking to do with it otherwise you are going to make a mistake. This happened time and time again to ATK yesterday and it is no coincidence that the teams topping the ISL so far are more comfortable without the ball than with it.