ISL 2017: The 7 Key Talking Points from Game Week 7 (and that one from Game Week 8)

#1 Kerala Blasters and Rene Meulensteen look lost

Kerala lost their big derby game to Bengaluru FC 3-1 yesterday but it was more the random selection policy that is cause for concern. CK Vineeth was left out, as was goalkeeper Paul Rachubka. Rachubka was dropped to allow Kerala to select Iain Hume but the goalkeeper and CK Vineeth have been two of the better Blasters players this term. Kerala need to find the right combination quickly if they are to have any hope of turning their season around.

#2 Bengaluru FC again show that consistency is key

What’s that? Bengaluru FC won again? How many did Miku get? And Chhetri was massively involved I expect? There is a clear connection between the teams at the top of the ISL season and that is that they know who their key men are and they are playing to their strengths in a consistent fashion. Bengaluru rely on their Venezuelan striker Miku, but that is OK as he is delivering – probably due to the confidence being shown in him. As for Sunil Chhetri, he is relishing the prospect of leading the side to the championship in their first ever ISL season.

#3 Rather than focusing on how to attack better, focus on how to defend better

Yes, I’m looking at you again Rene. Meulensteen correctly observed that Kerala were the masters of their own downfall against Bengaluru. It’s becoming a bit of a broken record for the losing sides in the ISL. 90% of the talk is about how to attack better with probably only John Gregory at Chennaiyin and Steve Coppell at Jamshedpur being open about their desire to be strong defensively. John Gregory is top of the table and Steve Coppell has a team that is horrible to play against and are 6th which is impressive seeing it is their first ever season.

#4 NorthEast United are not as bad as results suggest

That sounds like a daft thing to say considering they are in 9th place and have won just once this season, but hear me out. NEUFC do create chances, they just don’t have someone good enough to finish them and every time they give the ball away they seem to concede. Their lack of ability in front of goal and in their own goal is hindering them but I believe 9th place is a false position for them – it’s not as if their opponents are dominating them every time they step on the field. Even in losing 5-0 to FC Pune City, they had chances at crucial moments and then let in terrible goals almost immediately. It might still come good for NEUFC, and by good I mean they probably won’t finish bottom.

#5 Watch Mumbai City go!

Quietly, quietly Mumbai City have suddenly found themselves in a playoff spot thanks mainly to looking unbeatable at home. The small pitch in Mumbai seems to suit their game and they have won three out of four there, conceding just twice. The 4-0 win over Delhi was expected but still delivered clinically. Could the Blue Army surprise everyone and maintain this momentum?

#6 If in doubt, blame bad luck

Delhi Dynamos have been rubbish since the first game victory. Miguel Angel Portugal has decided that this is all down to bad luck. Losing one or two, maybe Miguel. But an ISL record six on the bounce? That’s not bad luck my friend. That’s the players and you not being good enough right now. It also doesn’t help when the owners (Rohan Sharma in this case) go public and blame “team strategy”.

#7 Which is it Steve?

Pre match Coppell was saying the Jamshedpur pitch was “fine” (which it clearly isn’t) and after their 1-0 defeat to Chennaiyin the pitch was called into question again by the Jamshedpur manager. Both Jamshedpur defeats have come at home, but surely they would have avoided defeat if they had scored the penalty they were awarded? As previously mentioned, Jamshedpur are horrible to play against but when you create as little as they do it is vital you take the freebie gifts.

About the Author

Chris Darwen
Editor-in-Chief for Ronnie Dog Media