The Team To Beat in the Indian Super League
Football is the world’s most popular sport, with soccer having more players than any other sport. The Indian Super League (ISL) was launched in 2013 to make soccer even more popular than it already is. It can be seen as a larger version of soccer leagues like Major League Soccer (MLS) or even an Indian Premier Football league equivalent of the EPL. But with less than a decade on its belt, the ISL has not yet developed into the hero premier league that will amplify India’s reputation as a football institution.
The India Super League comprises eight teams who play each other home and away over the course of 15 games, totaling 135 matches per season. Each game lasts for 90 minutes plus stoppage time with ten-minute half-times during which another game takes place on the same pitch. After the regular season, the top four teams qualify for the semifinals, where they play home and away matches against each other. The two winners of these matches meet in the final to decide the winner of the Indian Super League trophy.
The Team To Beat in the Indian Super League
The soccer teams that compete in the Indian Super League are:
- Chennaiyin FC
- Goa FC
- East Bengal FC
- Jamshedpur FC
- Hyderabad FC
- Kerala Blasters FC
- Mumbai City FC
- NorthEast United FC
- ATK Mohun Bagan
- Bengaluru FC
- Odisha FC
So far since the league’s inception, four clubs have been named champions, ATK (before their merger with Mohun Bagan), Chennaiyin, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. But which of these teams can be considered the best of the best of the ISL?
The answer, however, is not so simple, as there is no end game that labels a team the best of the ISL–except maybe the championships. If we take only the championship results as the only consideration, then we have our answer narrowed down for us: Chennaiyin, Bengaluru, and Mumbai, and ATK Mohun Bagan including their records from their former titles.
But to limit the determination of the best team with these four alone faces a complication, especially with the fact that during the current 2021-2022 season, none of these teams are currently ranked number one in the leaderboards. The closest would be Mumbai on the fourth rank, trailing after Kerala Blasters on the second and Jamshedpur on the third. Chennaiyin closely follows Mumbai and Bengaluru after Chenaiyin. ATK Mohun Bagan is at a distant eighth rank. The leading place of number one is taken by Hyderabad FC, a new football club at its prime.
With the constant and continuous movements in the world of cricket, there is no way we can pin one team down as the best of the best–we can only narrow down which are the closest to establishing themselves as paragons of the ISL football league.
ATK Mohun Bagan
ATK Mohun Bagan is a relatively recent football club that was a result of a merger between the ATK FC and the Mohun Bagan AC multi-sport club, making ATK Mohun Bagan a football branch of the club. They only started playing under the title ATK Mohun Bagan this 2020-2021. Before ATK, they were formerly called Atlético de Kolkata.
From their inaugural season, ATK (under the former name Atlético de Kolkata) has managed to win the 2014 and 2016 championship of the ISL, and under ATK Mohun Bagan, they bagged another ISL win in 2020, making the football club the first to ever have three ISL championship wins. This number of wins qualifies ATK Mohun Bagan as a potential title holder of “the best” football team in the ISL. This, however, is not a guarantee, considering their current place in the 2021-2022 season.
Chennaiyin is perhaps the closest to ATK’s three wins with its double wins in both 2015 and 2017-2018 seasons. Owned by MS Dhoni, Vita Dani, and Abhishek Bachchan, the football club is based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The team came to its inception in 2014, when Bachchan and Ronnie Screwvala bid for a Chennai team, and ever since then, it managed to play a consistent performance on the field and even created a rivalry between the Kerala Blasters, one of the most popular Indian football clubs in Asia.
The team reached its heights today with Marco Materazzi as the head coach for 2014 to 2016, John Gregory from 2017 to 2019, Owen Coyle in 2020, and Csaba László in 2020-2021. For this season, Božidar Bandović leads Chennaiyin with a one-year contract.
Hyderabad FC is a relatively young football club that, despite its recent inception and a rather rocky start, has proven itself to be the one to beat in the current ISL. The football club came together in August of 2019 after Pune City FC disbanded and Hyderabad FC was made in order to take Pune’s place for the 2019-2020 ISL season. The franchise rights of Hyderabad are currently co-owned by Vijay Madduri, Varun Tripuraneni, and Rana Daggubati.
Under the mentorship of the German football club Borussia Dortmund, Hyderabad has been slowly building their place in the ISL. For their first-ever season, they were defeated by ATK Mohun Bagan with 0-5 and then lost again to Jamshedpur with 1-3. They were finally able to take their first victory against the Kerala Blasters. Despite redeeming themselves in their match against the Blasters, with one win from 12 matches, they were unable to advance to the ISL playoffs in the 2019 season.
For the 2021-2022 season, they are currently holding the first rank in the leaderboards, with 28 scored goals within 13 games, five goals ahead of Mumbai FC and Bengaluru FC. The improvement in performance is shortly preceded by the change in leadership with Manolo Marquez taking the place of Albert Roca. Unlike their last season, they have managed to qualify for the ISL playoffs. As of now, they managed to gain 23 points from 13 games, leading the season with three points ahead of Kerala Blasters.
It’s hard to say at this point which team is the best of all the football clubs competing in the ISL, but if we’re to base this on track record alone, the ATK Mohun Bagan (under ATK and Atlético de Kolkata) will win hands down. They are the only team to have three wins in the ISL, albeit under different names.
However, it is rather premature to pick one of these teams as the best of the best, as it is important to note that the ISL has only been standing as a football institution for eight years. Hardly any team could be seen as legends with a league less than a decade old. Additionally, the dangerous standing of the ATK Mohun Bagan as of the moment during the 2021-2022 season makes it difficult to hold the team in high regard. Only time will tell if they will be able to surpass this and come out on top. You may check out all the latest sports betting odds at J9, the best online crypto betting casino and the global official betting partner of FIBA