The Indian Super League is nearly a fortnight old, and we've had our first and second looks — in some cases, even third looks — at all eight sides. With initial trends beginning to emerge, Firstpost takes a look at some of the key talking points from the first set of ISL 2016 matches.
The 12 matches to have taken place have yielded 22 goals, and only one match was a goalless affair. The third season of the ISL has been a goalfest! Kerala Blasters FC are the only team yet to open their account, while defending champions Chennaiyin FC lead the charts with five goals from three matches. Atletico de Kolkata and NorthEast United FC come next with four goals each, while Delhi Dynamos have scored three, albeit having played one match less.
Chennaiyin FC have been as weak in defence as they have been good going forward; the defending champions have let in five goals in three matches. However, their 2-0 win over FC Goa has at least taken them off bottom place in this particular statistic. Goa now have the worst defensive record, conceding six goals in three matches. With 11 out of 12 matches producing goals, the ISL 2016 has been a crowd pleaser thus far.
Past laurels are in the past:
Chennaiyin FC's manager Marco Materazzi said every season is a fresh beginning. This season has proved him right, with last year's finalists Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa both struggling, with one point between the two from their first four matches. Chennaiyin finally pulled one over FC Goa with a win at Marina Arena to raise their tally to four points.
Atletico de Kolkata, winners of the first edition, have found the going tough as well; their only win has come against the listless Kerala Blasters FC. In the two draws against Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC. they left it late to save themselves the blushes.
On the other hand, Northeast United FC, who have been promising from 2014, are the runaway leaders with nine points from four games, while Mumbai City FC, usually familiar with the bottom half of the table, are right on their heels with seven points.
Hard tackling, the way to go:
Northeast United FC have their defence to thank for their No 1 standing. With three clean sheets from four games and only one measly goal conceded, they comfortably lead the defensive stats. But what is more interesting to note is they also lead in the number of fouls committed (44). Add to that eight yellow cards and the only red card this season, and it's clear that NEUFC prefer the hard tackling way to ensure clean sheets. Mumbai City FC, who have two clean sheets from their three matches, are not far behind with 44 fouls committed and seven yellow cards. ATK and Kerala Blasters also have six yellow cards each, and have earned one clean sheet each. It might not be the best of stats, but it does look like the fiesty teams are doing well defensively.
Being on the road is better than at home:
Of the 12 matches so far, visiting teams have picked up 18 points, with five wins and three draws. Delhi Dynamos, yet to play at home, have benefitted the most, with four points from two matches. Home teams, on the other hand, have had it tougher, with only four wins. Of all the teams to have played at home, only Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United FC (twice) and Chennaiyin FC have taken full points. Considering Delhi haven't played at home yet, that means there are four teams — FC Goa, Pune City FC, Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters — are yet to enjoy any home comfort. Past seasons have taught us that play-off qualification is often decided on home records, and teams would do well to improve on their form.