Indian Super League - Preview & Season Prediction
A new Indian Super League season is underway and the wait for top division football since Mumbai City lifted the league trophy back in March is finally over. The 2021-22 season is the 8th edition of the Indian Super League and as was the case during last season, this season will be restricted to one city and three venues.
The Indian Super League is broadcast by Star Sports Network. Live streaming will be available on Disney+ Hotstar. More information on how to watch the ISL live and schedule with upcoming games can be found here.
Can anyone challenge Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan will be filled with revenge as they begin their quest for bringing back the league trophy after last season’s loss in the final against the bitter rivals Mumbai City. They came close to winning the trophy but after an intriguing title race between the two most dominant sides it all came down to a last-minute winning goal by B. Singh in the final which led Mumbai City to their first ever league title.
Mumbai City’s 2021-22 campaign was their best season ever in the ISL. Winning both the League Winner’s Shield and the final against ATK Mohun Bagan was a huge achievement for The Citizens. Having experienced the club’s most successful season ever they’re now prepared to face the 2021-22 season with high expectations on their shoulders from fans and experts. Remains to be seen if they can turn up for the challenge or if there will be a new champion later in March.
Most things have stayed the same since last season, though one thing worth mentioning that has been implemented for the new season is a new version of the 3+1 rule. The ruling bodies have decided to adopt, similar to the AFC-regulation, a 4 overseas players per eleven rule.
Mumbai City have had a busy offseason as they have parted ways with both manager Sergio Lobera and some of their most vital players from last season. Des Buckingham is the new manager in charge, and he will have to defend the title without Hugo Boumous (ATK Mohun Bagan) and Amrinder Singh (ATK Mohun Bagan). Add Bart Ogbeche and Adam Le Fondre to the list of departures and it’s safe to say that Buckingham will have to work some magic if they’re going to defend the title from last season.
ATK Mohun Bagan will be the biggest title contender along with Mumbai City this season. Finishing last season as runners-up after a late goal in the final left ATK with a bitter taste as they’re now prepared to reclaim the trophy. Antonio Habas has got some interesting additions to an already strong squad and should be well prepared for any challenges throughout the season.
FC Goa surprised fans and experts when they reached the playoffs last season. The team is close to identical compared to last season which we believe is an advantage. Playing the full season at home ground is another key for FC Goa who should be taken into consideration when predicting the league champion for the 2021-22 season.
Neither Bengaluru (7) or Chennaiyin (8) managed to make any big impact last season. Of the two teams, Bengaluru might be the one to keep an eye on this season. Marco Pezzaiouli is the new manager of the team, who has promised high-tempo and a free-floating football from this team. Pezzaiouli is a graduate of the charismatic Ralf Ragnick and an admirer of the gegenpressing football. Even though it might not lead to an immediate success, we can expect an entertaining season as we’re watching Bengaluru and their fight for the playoffs.
Defending a league title is never easy as you are suddenly the team that everyone wants to beat. Mumbai City, as reigning champions, face a tough challenge as they’re beginning their journey towards the final. Even more so without some of their key players and manager from last season.
Instead, we believe that last season’s runners-up ATK Mohun Bagan will be the team to look out for this season. ATK Mohun Bagan have reinforced an already strong and competitive squad which should make them the biggest league champion contenders. Last season’s finalists, Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan, go up against each other on December 1st in a game that could possibly give us an early sign of which team that are best prepared for the remaining season and favorite to lift the trophy in March.
Fatorda Stadium – 19 000
GMC Athletic Stadium – 3 000
Tilak Maidan Stadium – 5 000
Author: Ramesh Singh