Talking Points From Week 4 Of ISL 5

Delhi Dynamos 0 – Chennaiyin FC 0

     1) Dorronsoro Shows His Worth

With the number of foreign players in a squad restricted to seven, and only five allowed on the pitch at any given time, ISL squads have started investing in quality Indian goalkeepers to ensure that more of them are distributed amongst the outfield positions. Delhi have been an exception to that rule this season with Josep Gombau entrusting countryman, Francisco Dorronsoro, with a starting position in his team. Against Chennaiyin, he repaid that faith with a string of brilliant saves that kept his team in the game. A visibly frustrated John Gregory on the sidelines indicated after one such save that his team should have been three-nil up and he was not wrong. The keeper earned the home team this point without question.

     2) Gregory Drops His Captain

With the departure of Henrique Sereno, Gregory has entrusted his former partner, Mailson Alves, with the armband for this season. When Chennaiyin announced this decision via Twitter, it seemed a logical move and just reward for a player who was already in his second stint with the club. Alves was hugely instrumental in securing the title last season, even scoring twice in the final, but he has had a poor start to the season. After conceding eight goals in three games, Gregory ran in the changes and Inigo Calderon moved in to partner Eli Sabia at centre-back. It had the desired effect and Chennaiyin avoided the ignominy of being the first team in ISL history to start a season with four losses. Equally importantly, they finally had a clean sheet.

FC Goa 5 – Mumbai City FC 0

     3) The Gaurs Put On A Five Star Show

Where does one start with Goa’s demolition job on Mumbai? For large portions of the game, it looked like Mumbai were always in with a chance, but Goa really should have hit double digits. They were irresistible in attack, forging forward at will and with great speed on the break. They will be pleased that the goals were shared around. Coro got into the act as usual with a sweetly taken penalty, but Jackichand Singh, Edu Bedia and Miguel Palanca will all take great confidence from their finishes. They are still vulnerable at the back but there is no team that will look forward to facing the current table toppers this season.

     4) Mumbai Brought Down To Earth

What a comedown from the high of a derby win against Pune. There was a ruthless efficiency to their display against the Stallions but while they were in the game for large periods of this game, their inability to finish chances, especially on set pieces, saw them collapse in a heap in the second half. They should be worried by how Goa’s midfield overran their own and while they will try to shelve this result as a one-off, lessons must be learnt as they move deeper into the season. They will also hope that the injury to their goalkeeper, Amrinder Singh, is not serious. Arindam Bhattacharja moved to ATK in the offseason and Ravi Kumar is untested at this level.

NorthEast United 1 – Jamshedpur FC 1

     5) Komorski Loses His Head

Both teams went into this game with an opportunity to temporarily go top of the table and while NorthEast United continued their fine start to the season with a draw that took them there, they will look at this game with some regret. Bartholomew Ogbeche put them ahead, going top of the ISL scoring charts in the process, and the Highlanders seemed to be in control until Mislav Komorski lost his head on the stroke of halftime. He seemed to have Carlos Calvo covered while tracking back on a Jamshedpur attack but inexplicably decided to swing his arm at Calvo’s face, earning a red card for his troubles. NorthEast United had to change tact with only ten men on the field for the second half, and while they did well to only concede once, this was two points dropped against an average Jamshedpur side on the day.

     6) Jamshedpur Fail To Take Advantage Of Extra Man

Like their opponents, the Red Miners have made a surprisingly good start to the season. This was a poor performance though, and if Komosrki had not gotten sent off, the result could have been very different. Farukh Choudhary continued his development with a well taken first ever top-flight goal (ISL or I-League), but Jamshedpur struggled to break down NorthEast even though most of the play in the second half was inside the opposition half. Even the introduction of Tim Cahill and his aerial threat could not influence proceedings and Cesar Ferrando will be frustrated that they did not fashion more chances in the game.

ATK 2 – Chennaiyin FC 1

     7) ATK Still To Convince

The team from Kolkata finally got off the mark at home, having lost both prior games in front of their supporters. Their results have improved after those losses and they came into this match with four points from their travels. Steve Coppell will take the win against Chennaiyin but he cannot be too thrilled by the performance. For the fifth game in succession, ATK had lesser of the ball than their opposition, with 35% possession in this case. While there is nothing wrong in letting the other team keep the ball, ATK still look unbalanced on the field. Kalu Uche and Balwant Singh got in each other’s way a couple of times, and Everton Santos has been converted into a deep lying midfielder. When you buy four goal scorers and try to fit them all into the team, you sacrifice in other areas and Coppell probably should look at leaving at least one of them out.

     8) Wasteful Chennaiyin Pay The Price

Chennaiyin have had 36 attempts on goal in their last two games. Only nine of them have been on target and they have been rewarded with one goal for their efforts. Carlos Salom has been preferred to the misfiring Jeje Lalpekhlua up front this season and while the Argentinian who qualified for Palestine through his great grandparents finally got off the mark in this game with a well-directed header, it must be worrying that that the goals are not going in. The buildup play gets Chennaiyin players in positions to take shots, but the target is rarely found.

Mumbai City FC 2 – Delhi Dynamos 0

     9) Arnold Gets His Reward For Consistent Showings

While Mumbai’s performances so far this season have been middling at best, there have been individual displays which hint at better times. Arnold Issoko has shown promise, especially when moved to an advanced position on the right flank. He got just reward for his showings, scoring one goal and providing an assist for the second. He should have had another assist, winning a penalty that Rafael Bastos put wide of the goal, but his pace created problems for Delhi all night long. With target man, Modou Sougou, also hitting his stride in recent games, the Islanders will be hoping for more consistent results on the field.

     10) If Only Possession Meant Wins

Josep Gombau’s men have kept the ball a lot this season. Impressive possession numbers, however, do not count for much when you only have three goals in five games to show for your efforts. Delhi are among three sides yet to pick up a win this season, and while the accumulation of more draws than losses has meant that they lie above Chennaiyin and Pune on the points table, they need to go back to the drawing board for answers. The lack of a proven goal scorer is hurting them. When your centre-back and fullback are joint top goal scorers, you have a problem.

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