Still relatively early days in the inaugural Hero ISL, but a few teams seem have to captured imaginations and made themselves clear contenders for the playoff spots. However, the results have been pretty bizarre, with most players still easing themselves into teamplay, thereby providing curiously lopsided results.
Atletico De Kolkata are favorites as of now, and one of two teams who are yet to lose a game. They have won 3 and drawn 2, which is only appropriate considering the mega fan-following of the game in the state. They won their first two games convincingly against Mumbai FC and Northeast United before drawing 1-1 against draw-specialists Delhi. After squeezing out a win against Goa with a Lobo brace, but they will be disappointed with their draw against the Blasters who have struggled to get going so far.
However, it is Elano, Materazzi, Mendoza and co. for Chennaiyin that have set the league on fire. They have been dynamic if inconsistent, with the Brazilian scoring half of their 10 goals so far. Their only loss out of four games came in a 4-1 drubbing against Delhi after they won their first two games, only to return the favour in a 5-1 destruction of a defensively suspect Mumbai team.
Delhi Dynamos are the second team yet to lose a game, with three draws and an emphatic 4-1 win against favorites Chennaiyin. They have scored only as many goals as Elano collectively (with 4 coming in a single game), but have only conceded two, which is the lowest in the league so far. Their strategy, needless to mention, is clear: Win or not, do not lose at any cost.
Northeast United have been punching above their weight too, after winning their first game and losing just one out of their 5 games. Pune have played only three, which has included a humiliating loss to Mumbai 5-0 and a solid 2-0 win against bottom-placed Goa.
Mumbai made a rousing start to the league with an outstanding 5-0 win against Pune, after which they lost 3 in a row, conceding 10 goals and scoring just 1 in the process. They are easily the leakiest team on display, and it could be too late to plug the holes by the time the second round of reverse fixtures begin.
Kerala and Goa have played 7 games between them, and are yet to win a single game. Kerala will be happy with their draw against Kolkata though. Goa are in a dire position, losing 3 out of their 4 games, conceding 7 goals and scoring just 3. Robert Pires, Santos and coach Zico aren’t as formidable a combination yet, but they can still turn things around, especially after an encouraging performance against league leaders Kolkata, which they were unfortunate to lose after scoring first.