ISL 2017: 7 Key Talking Points from the weekend action

#1 Ryan Taylor makes immediate difference for ATK

Most people have been focusing on the return of Robbie Keane as potentially being the catalyst to sparking ATK’s season into life. However, in their 1-0 win over Mumbai City it was the former Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic man Ryan Taylor, on debut, that provided the extra spark needed. Taylor was brought in as Carl Baker is unlikely to be fit for at least another two months and Sheringham will be delighted if he can continue that kind of form into the New Year.

#2 Mumbai need to start games better

Yes, I appreciate this might be stating the obvious but Mumbai City once again only decided to join in the game with ATK after they had gone a goal behind. Given how late in the match they decided to go for it and how good they looked when they did it, it is surprising that Guimaeres does not employ a slightly more offensive approach earlier in the matches. Mumbai now sit 5th, two points behind FC Pune City in the all-important 4th playoff spot.

#3 ATK show a bit of good old-fashioned character

Considering they were yet to win this season and that Mumbai City were throwing everything at them in the closing stages, you could have been forgiven for expecting ATK to find a way to not take all three points yesterday. However, some fine shot-stopping from Debjit Majumder and some good old-fashioned grit and determination saw ATK leave with the points. Up until now ATK had played some pretty football and won nothing. Yesterday suggested a slight shift in mentality.

#4 Chennaiyin show that if you don’t let Bengaluru near the box they will struggle to score

Bengaluru FC had scored every single one of their goals this season from inside the box. Therefore, a simple conclusion that John Gregory could have drawn when planning his approach for Chennaiyin’s derby clash would have been to stop them getting service into Miku. Once again, that sounds obvious but is often far more difficult to do in practice. Gregory’s masterplan worked a treat however, cutting off the supply line to the big Venezuelan. Chennaiyin also showed a strong mentality within the match, having quickly moved on from the late disappointment of conceding an equaliser to go and grab a winner straight away.

#5 The refereeing once again leaves a lot to be desired

There have been countless examples of poor refereeing throughout this season’s ISL and this weekend was no different.¬†Harmanjot Khabra should have been sent-off for a second bookable offence inside the box in the 22nd minute. Late in the game, Chhetri was bundled over Inigo Calderon and no free-kick was awarded. Given Bengaluru’s prowess for dead ball delivery, it was a crucial moment. For the ISL to be taken seriously outside of India two things need to improve quickly; The refereeing and the goalkeeping. Unless both these areas change quickly, the ISL will continue to struggle for international credibility.

#6 Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin’s post-match scuffle shows a bit of niggle

The post-match handbags can be taken in two ways. Firstly, it could be argued that it brought shame on the ISL. Secondly, and more accurately, it should be put forward that it shows that these clubs and teams thrown together weeks before the season was due to get underway do actually care and that local rivalries do exist and count. It is thought that Chennaiyin were far from gracious having beaten Bengaluru which will not be massively shocking to anyone that recalls John Gregory’s time in England. But it does not matter – it was a derby and they are there to be won.

#7 Could Wes Brown be Kerala’s missing link, as a midfielder?

Kerala have often looked one player short of being a decent team this season, but I for one would not have suggested that the player in question would be a 38-year-old Wes Brown playing as a deep-lying playmaker. Brown, best known in his Manchester United days as a defender, slotted into Kerala’s midfield and won the Hero of the Match award in the club’s first victory of the season, 1-0 against NorthEast United. Not only that, he lasted the whole 90 minutes.

About the Author

Chris Darwen
Editor-in-Chief for Ronnie Dog Media