The current season of the Indian Super League (ISL) has witnessed most teams getting off to slow starts. However, with almost half the season completed, most clubs have started to get back to their best.
Defensively, quite a few clubs have stood out by not conceding too many goals in ISL 2020-21. As of now, the ATK Mohun Bagan goalkeeper, Arindam Bhattacharya seems the favorite to lay claim to the Golden Glove for the first time.
Let's take a look at three clubs that have been rock solid in defense so far in the ISL this season.
#1 ATK Mohun Bagan
Having retained coach Antonio Lopez Habas, it is no surprise that ATK Mohun Bagan have the best defensive record in the ISL this season. The club has managed to keep an air-tight defense with six clean sheets from 8 games, and has conceded only three goals.
While Habas' defensive tactics have been working wonders, credit has to be given to the likes of Carl McHugh, Tiri, Sandesh Jhingan, and Arindam Bhattacharya. Their presence has been important in reinforcing a rock-solid defensive unit.
ATKMB's most recent win against Bengaluru FC witnessed Habas' 'parking the bus' tactics working well. After going 1-0 in the 33rd minute, Carl McHugh slotted into the central defensive line alongside Sandesh Jhingan and Tiri, and slammed the door shut on any Bengaluru FC attack.
With ATKMB playing a good brand of football and defending well, the ISL trophy is most certainly within their reach.
#2 Chennaiyin FC
Despite reaching the final of the ISL last season, the Chennaiyin FC management opted to discontinue the services of Owen Coyle. This saw the likes of Nerijus Valskis and Laldinliana Renthlei move to Jamshedpur FC. With Tondonba Singh and Lucian Goian also leaving, Chennaiyin FC had little choice but to opt for a revamp.
New coach Csaba Laszlo bolstered the defensive unit with Eli Sabia and Memo Moura along with Chhuantea Fanai and Reagan Singh. In the 8 matches the club has played so far, it has conceded just 7 goals in a good defensive showing.
Vishal Kaith has managed to keep two clean sheets as well, something that will give Laszlo a lot of encouragement. However, while their defensive record is good, Chennaiyin FC have managed only 7 goals this season, which is among the lowest this season.
While Rafael Crivellaro and Lallianzuala Chhangte have been good to watch, the likes of Jakub Sylvestr and Isma have not been consistent.
#3 NorthEast United FC
In eight games, NorthEast United FC have managed three clean sheets while letting in only 8 goals all season. The latter record is what has made them the most improved side of the season.
In terms of goals conceded, they are second only to Chennaiyin FC. The defensive unit of Benjamin Lambot and Dylan Fox has been a spectacle with Khassa Camara and Lalengmawia being able central midfielders.
However, NorthEast United FC's attack has been below par. So far, Idrissa Sylla, Kwesi Appiah, and Luis Machado have managed a total of 10 goals. Nus will hope that Idrissa Sylla can come good, especially with the Guinea international being one of the highest-paid strikers in the league.Published 03 Jan 2021, 16:23 IST