It’s that time of the season where dreams will be shattered or made and it’s time to look at who can finish where. With most teams only having two games left, it’s the business end of the season and it’s the time where results matter most. We are only looking at the top seven teams in the ISL because ATK, NorthEast United & Delhi Dynamos have nothing to play for apart from pride. That’s one of the problems with there being no relegation, if you are not in the run in for the top four, then you are not doing a fat lot else.
Goa have got the most games left with four, Mumbai have three and the rest just have a brace remaining, let’s go from the bottom (seventh) to top to find out who can get where in the run in.
Mumbai City | Points: 20 | GD: 0. Remaining Games: NorthEast United (H) 22/2, Delhi Dynamos (A) 27/2, Chennaiyin FC (A) 3/3.
On paper, two of the three games should be easy because they are playing ninth and tenth respectively. If they win those two, it will be enough to set up a final day showdown with Chennaiyin. However, that could all be for nothing if results go against them. Maximum Points: 29.
FC Goa | Points: 20 | GD: +3. Remaining Games: Delhi Dynamos (H) 21/2, Pune City (A) 25/2, ATK (H) 28/2, Jamshedpur (A) 4/3.
Looks like a tough end to the season for Coro & Co; the two home games should be six points, however, that’ll only be enough to get them to 26 and if they get a point against Jamshedpur on the final day then by some sort of miracle, they may well end up making the top four. If they managed to get a result away at Pune, then they really will be laughing. Maximum Points: 32.
Kerala Blasters | Points: 24 | GD: 0. Remaining Games: Chennaiyin FC (H) 23/2, Bengaluru FC (A) 1/3.
Despite them playing two teams who are also involved in the business end of the season, Kerala’s fate is not quite in their own hands. All they can do is win both of their games and hope that either Goa or Mumbai do them a favour. It’d be quite incredible to see two teams from outside the top four make it with such little time left. Maximum Points: 30.
Jamshedpur FC | Points: 26 | GD: +3. Remaining Games: Bengaluru FC (H) 25/2, FC Goa (H) 4/3.
Steve Coppell’s side know what they need to do. Win both of their remaining games and they’ve reached the playoffs at the first time of asking. A win and draw will be enough for the ‘Men Of Steel’ if Kerala fail to beat Chennaiyin. We could also end up with a situation where Jamshedpur could lose both and still end up qualifying. Nothing would surprise me. Maximum Points: 32.
Chennaiyin FC | Points: 28 | GD: +4. Remaining Games: Kerala Blasters (A) 23/2, Mumbai City (H) 3/3.
The key game for Chennaiyin is the first one. If they beat Kerala then it’s impossible for the Blasters and Mumbai to catch them and it would also ensure their place in the top four as Jamshedpur and Goa play each other on the final day meaning they both can’t finish on 32. If they lose to Kerala then it gets a lot more interesting as if we assume the results go in the best possible way for everyone else, 2nd-7th will be separated by three points come the final set of fixtures. Believe me, if that’s the case, we will have to do another one of these. Maximum Points: 34.
Pune City | Points: 29 | GD: +13. Remaining Games: FC Goa (H) 25/2, Delhi Dynamos (A) 2/3.
Popovic’s side have gone one big thing in their favour and that’s their goal difference. If they beat FC Goa then it’s job done for them, there are no two ways about it. They can still finish top as can Chennaiyin, however, all of that is blown out the water if Bengaluru beat Jamshedpur on the 25th. Pune have gone about their business relatively quietly and their Brazilian pairing of Marcelinho and Diego are good enough to beat anyone. Maximum Points: 35.
Bengaluru FC | Points: 34 | GD: +15. Remaining Games: Jamshedpur FC (A) 25/2, Kerala Blasters (H) 1/3.
Job done for Albert Roca’s side in their debut ISL season. They’ve made the transition from the I-League flawlessly and top spot will be theirs if they win either of their two remaining games, get a point from both or even if they lose both if Pune or Chennaiyin fail to win all their games. Maximum Points: 40.
It promises to be an exciting final part of the ISL and while the top four places may all be done and dusted after this round of fixtures, I think that’s highly unlikely. One of the things that does grind my gears ever so slightly is the fact that the final games aren’t all on the same day, but the ISL is still in its teething stages and maybe they’ll change that if they do miss out on the excitement of them all being on the same day.
Until the next time.