#1 How many goals have come from defensive errors?
We mentioned this in a column a few weeks ago, but it looks more and more like the winners of the ISL will be the team that makes the fewest mistakes. That will not be NorthEast United based on last night’s performance. Ravi Kumar had a torrid time in goal and NEUFC gifted Mumbai City all three points.
#2 If you cannot defend you have to take your chances
NorthEast United Head Coach Joao de Deus had a valid point when he said, “I am frustrated. We created so many chances. We should win the games because we have more chances than the opponents. My boys came here to get a different result. Let’s work hard, be patient and let us try to let this moment pass. It is not fair but this is football”. NEUFC did have more than enough opportunity to win the game and if you are unable to keep the opposition out every single chance you create becomes more valuable.
#3 The under-rated Balwant Singh finally getting the credit he deserves?
In his career to date, Balwant Singh has often been paired with a more gifted player and asked to do the hard yards while his strike-partner often claimed the glory. With 4 goals in this season’s ISL, it looks like Singh is finally breaking out on his own and his goals have been crucial to the cause of Mumbai City so far.
#4 Another defender excels in defensive midfield
We saw Kerala succeed in the experiment of Wes Brown playing as a holding midfielder, but they could have stolen the idea from Mumbai and Gerson Viera. The Brazilian played the first game of the season as a right back and has moved into the anchor role in recent matches and excelled. His strength and discipline in the role gives players like Everton Santos and Achille Emana the platform to go and play.
#5 Numbers are dropping at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and only wins will bring them back
Despite the fact that NorthEast United are the only ISL side never to have played in the playoffs they have always been well supported at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Average attendances since the ISL started have always been over the 22,000 mark but last night dropped to a record low of just over 10,000. Success breeds popularity and support, though support can inspire success. It could be a tough season for NorthEast on and off the pitch from here.