ISL 2018-19: Best XI so far from Indian Super League Season 5
In two matchdays of the Indian Super League (ISL) so far, we've already witnessed some exciting goals, scuffles and off-field controversies involving the players and a couple of managers.
Through the first nine days, the teams entertained us with their wonderful performances, leaving the Indian football fans hungry for more. There was better display from the Indian youngsters and the overall quality of the league appears to have improved. The decrease in the number of foreigners per squad has also provided an incentive for upcoming Indian talent to work harder to achieve a spot in the Playing XI of their respective franchises.
Whether it's David James' new moustache or Manuel Lanzarote's fresh jersey colours, the first two matchdays of the ISL 2018-19 has given fans a glimpse of what's in store for the next couple of weeks. While fans are still getting used to seeing manager Steve Coppell (formerly of Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters) at the ATK dugout, they were more welcoming of defender John Johnson (formerly of Bengaluru FC) into the Kolkata squad. Raphael Augusto is yet to find his feet again for Chennaiyin FC but Miku of Bengaluru FC and FC Goa's Ferran Corominas are back to competing against each other for the golden boot award.
FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera is once again letting his team play his famed attacking brand of free-flowing football, while ISL 2017-18 winners Chennaiyin FC are still adjusting to the pressure of defending the title.
Overall, it has been an exciting week and a half of the ISL and now, let us take a look at the best combined XI from the nine matches so far.
(A simple 4-4-2 formation has been used to compile this XI, where the number of foreigners has been restricted to five.)
The Indian U-17 goalkeeper had a dream debut in the ISL for Kerala Blasters against ATK. Though he was able to maintain a clean sheet at the end of the game, it's safe to say that he wasn't really tested by the ATK players. However, Dheeraj was at the centre of the action in Kerala Blasters' second ISL game against Mumbai City FC. The team from the Maharashtra capital challenged the might of the 17-year-old, but the young prodigy was able to stand tall at the post. He could have ended the match with another clean sheet to his name but a terrific injury-time strike by Pranjal Bhumij spoiled the party for Kerala Blasters. With six saves in his first two games, Dheeraj Singh takes his spot as the goalkeeper of the Combined XI.