I-League Mid-Season Comprehensive Review

Friday, 17 February 2017|Satyaki Das
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Summary & Prediction

Teams

Current (Projected Standing)

Performance and Projections

East Bengal

1 (1 to3)

Current leaders who will need to negotiate with a tricky away schedule in the second phase of the league. The next three fixtures: Aizawl (away), BFC (away) and Lajong (away) will be crucial and outcome of these games will have a definitive bearing on the league standing. East Bengal recorded a 6-game winning run, but ended the leg with two draws.

Mohun Bagan

2 (1 to3)

Last year’s runner up continued their rich vein of form through the first phase of the league. Mohun Bagan maintained a 100% record at home. They crafted a 4-game long winning streak in the 1st phase. Critical matches: two games against BFC, two games in the NE hills and the away game against East Bengal. Fitness of key players is an issue.

Aizawl FC

3 (3 to5)

The undoubted surprise package of the league who pressed their home advantage to maximum. They have already played two crucial games in Kolkata and will need to negotiate BFC in an away game. Aizawl need to be wary of tricky away games – their loss to Chennai City FC remains a low point of their almost unblemished campaign thus far.

Shillong Lajong

4 (3 to 5)

They have played away games for all the remaining teams in top 5 in away games and will have the advantage of pressing the home advantage against these sides. Against the bottom 5, they enjoyed the upper hand at home; except DSK. Their away point accumulation has been meager and they had to wait for Round 9 to open their away account.

Bengaluru FC

5 (2 to4)

The defending Champions and the favorites started the tournament with intent, but lost considerable ground since the loss against East Bengal. Their recent form is concerning and the draw against Minerva FC remains the law point of their campaign. They have lost considerable ground and will now need to depend on the other two contenders to drop points to get back into contention. The crucial encounters will be the two remaining matches against Mohun Bagan and their home game against East Bengal.

DSK Shivajians

6 (4 to 6)

DSK started with two losses, but since then regrouped to form a competitive unit. They have a quality squad that took time to settle down. Games against them will be crucial in the context of determination of eventual winner. They drew with both Mohun Bagan and BFC, and ended Lajong’s unbeaten run at home. They have played all three – BFC, MB and EB at home and will now need to play them in crucial away games.

Chennai City FC

7 (8 to 10)

This is the only team that is yet to score or earn point in an away game. However, they are quite competitive in Chennai and showed defensive grit against the Big 3 for a sustained period. They will be in away encounter against Minerva, Mumbai and Churchill; which means they run the risk of slipping further back.

Minerva FC

8 (7 to 10)

Ever since their disastrous 0-5 loss to East Bengal, Minerva turned a corner. They gathered only 1 point until Round 5; but since then gathered 6 points from last 4 rounds. The high point in their campaign remains their draw in Bengaluru. Ludhiana’s playing condition will make them scary at home, and they have 5 home games left to press their advantage

Mumbai FC

9 (6 to 9)

Mumbai had to play 6 away games in the 1st leg, highest among all teams. They started the league brightly, winning two consecutive games. Since then it went downhill; and they recorded a 6 match losing streak which was snapped in the final round of 1st Leg holding the mighty Mohun Bagan. An accent in the table is on cards, as they have 6 home games and also bolstered their squad with foreign recruits.

Churchill Brothers

10 (6 to 9)

One of the most successful team in history of the competition received an unfair deal from the parent body, and was forced to form a squad at a short notice. They struggled and managed only one win in first 9 games; and were definitely not assisted with a cruel schedule of 6 away fixtures in 1st leg. They need to be at the resilient best to come out of the rut and press the home advantage. The victory against BFC remains the high point of their campaign.

       

The League Table

Teams

Total Played/ Home / Away

Points & GD

Home Record (Win / Draw / Loss)

Away Record (Win / Draw / Loss)

Home GS/ GC / GD

Away GS/ GC / GD

East Bengal

9 / 6 / 3

21 / 14

3 – 3 – 0

3 – 0 – 0

9 / 3 / 6

9 / 1 / 8

Mohun Bagan

8 / 4 / 4

18 / 9

4 – 0 – 0

1 – 3 – 0

10 / 2 / 8

2 / 1 / 1

Aizawl FC

9 / 5 / 4

17 / 3

4 – 1 – 0

1 – 1 – 2

8 / 3 / 5

4 / 6 / (2)

Shillong Lajong

9 / 5 / 4

13 / (1)

4 – 0 – 1

0 – 1 – 3

9 / 4 / 5

2 / 8 / (6)

Bengaluru FC

8 / 4 / 4

12 / 6

3 – 1 – 0

0 – 2 – 2

9 / 1 / 8

5 / 7 / (2)

DSK Shivajians

9 / 5 / 4

10 / 0

1 – 3 – 1

1 – 1 – 2

6 / 5 / 1

2 / 3 / (1)

Chennai City FC

9 / 5 / 4

8 / (7)

2 – 2 – 1

0 – 0 – 4

6 / 4 / 2

0 / 9 / (9)

Minerva FC

9 / 4 / 5

7 / (10)

1 – 2 – 1

0 – 2 – 3

2 / 6 / (4)

2 / 8 / (6)

Mumbai FC

9 / 3 / 6

7 / (8)

1 – 1 – 1

1 – 0 – 5

1 / 1 / 0

5 / 13 / (8)

Churchill Brothers

9 / 3 / 6

6 / (6)

1 – 0 – 2

0 – 3 – 3

3 / 5 / (2)

3 / 7 / (4)

The points table is rank ordered with respect to current standing. The Mohun Bagan home game against Bengaluru FC is scheduled on 01/04/2017, and both teams played a game less than the rest. There is a distinct home advantage, as will be seen in later part of the report; and hence with unequal number of Home and Away games, this table represents a snap shot in time. East Bengal played most of their home games (6) in the 1st leg; while both Mumbai FC and Churchill Brothers were mostly on the road (6). 

Point Percentage & Form

Timeline

MB, BFC and Mumbai FC were early leaders after R2. However, BFC’s fortune took a downturn ever since the defeat to EB in Kolkata in R4 and since then BFC managed to gather only three points of available 12. Mumbai’s downslide started since R3 with their loss against BFC. Since then they lost 6 games in a row, which is the longest losing streak by a team. MB maintained their rich vein of form and continues to lead the table. 

EB managed a late equalizer and started with a draw against Aizawl [the game in which Aizawl played with 12 men in final few minutes]. EB went on to win next 6 games consecutively which catapulted them to the top of the league table. Aizawl remains the dark horse and they turned their home into fortress and performed fairly well in away games. Lajong had an extremely slow start, losing three consecutive away games against BFC, MB and Aizawl. Then they managed 4 consecutive home wins before that run has snapped by DSK in Shillong. They finish with their first away point against EB. 

DSK were off to a slow start with two consecutive losses, but has managed to secure points in all but one game ever since. This vein of form saw them perform commendably against both BFC and MB. DSK finished their NE Hill assignment but will play BFC, MB and EB away in their remaining fixture. Minerva was a pushover until R5, and succumbed to the 0-5 home defeat against EB. But they have turned the corners ever since and recorded their maiden win in R7 and snatched a point from Bengaluru in R8. 

Chennai City FC stunned high-flying Aizawl in R5 to achieve their maiden win and proved to be a hard nut to crack in Chennai. 100% of their collection came in home games. In an unfortunate turn of event, Churchill Brothers, one of the most successive i-League clubs, languish at the bottom of the league. They had to enter the tournament at a short notice, and lack of preparation surfaced all through their journey in the 1st half of the league. The schedule was less than kind and they had to play 6 off their 9 games away from Goa. With a series of home games in hand, they are expected to improve in 2nd leg.

Overall, we predict that the 2nd leg will be more competitive than the 1st leg. The newer teams are finding their footing and are expected to turn the applecart for the more fancied ones in coming months in more than a few occasions. A glimpse is available in Round 9, when all games end in stalemate.

Goal Timeline Table

Teams

0-15 MIN

16-30 MIN

30-45 MIN

46-60 MIN

61-75 MIN

76-90 MIN

1st half

2nd Half

TOTAL GOALS

5

19

19

12

19

23

43

54

GOAL PERCENTAGE

5%

19%

17%

13%

20%

25%

42%

58%

East Bengal

3 – 0

2 – 2

4 – 1

1 – 0

4 – 1

4 – 0

9 – 3

9 – 1

Mohun Bagan

1 – 0

4 – 0

1 – 1

1 – 1

1 – 1

4 – 0

6 – 1

6 – 2

Aizawl FC

0 – 1

0 – 0

4 – 2

0 – 1

4 – 1

4 – 4

4 – 3

8 – 6

Shillong Lajong

0 – 0

4 – 3

3 – 3

1 – 1

2 – 2

1 – 3

7 – 6

4 – 6

Bengaluru FC

0 – 0

3 – 1

2 – 3

2 – 2

3 – 0

4 – 2

5 – 4

9 – 4

DSK Shivajians

0 – 1

3 – 1

2 – 1

2 – 0

1 – 1

0 – 4

5 – 3

3 – 5

Chennai City FC

0 – 0

1 – 3

0 – 0

2 – 3

2 – 3

1 – 4

1 – 3

5 – 10

Minerva FC

0 – 1

0 – 3

0 – 3

1 – 1

1 – 3

2 – 3

0 – 7

4 – 7

Mumbai FC

0 – 2

2 – 3

1 – 2

1 – 2

0 – 4

2 – 1

3 – 7

3 – 7

Churchill Brothers

1 – 0

0 – 3

2 – 3

1 – 1

1 – 3

1 – 2

3 – 6

3 – 6

There is notable difference in the 1st half to 2nd half strategy in the games of Aizawl FC, Bengaluru FC, Chennai City FC and Minerva FC. Each one of these teams played a more open game in the 2nd half. Chennai and Minerva did not disturb the score board much in the 1st half and Chennai seems to be considerably weak in defense in 2nd half.

Home & Away Split

Home advantage is distinct throughout 1st leg. The percentage of draw received a significant boost in the last round and is now in line with the previous editions. In first 29 games, there was only 5 draws, while in the last 15 games there were 8 draws. This proves that there were teams that were slow to start and the teams are expected to have a harder competition in the coming days.