The 2019-20 Indian Super League (ISL) season was the most prolific in the history of the competition. There were a total of 294 goals scored in the entire season, 38 more than 2018-19, with an average of 3.09 goals scored per game.
The increase in the number of goals has been a direct correlation with the number of chances created. While the 2018-19 season witnessed just 70 chances created, the 2019-20 season saw that number increase to 89, something that has been projected to grow a lot higher for the upcoming season.
Attacking midfielders have brought in a lot of flair to the league, in addition to increasing the number of goals scored. Let's take a look at five attacking midfielders who can make the difference for their respective clubs this season.
1) Hugo Boumous (Mumbai City FC)
Very few attacking midfielders in the ISL are as clinical as Hugo Boumous. The 25-year-old was an integral part of FC Goa last season, where he managed 10 assists in just 15 matches, the most number of assists by any player. His presence alongside the likes of Coro, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, and Lenny Rodrigues ensured that FC Goa claimed the ISL League Winners' Shield last season.
This time around, Boumous finds himself reunited with Sergio Lobera in Mumbai City FC. He will once again be an integral part of the side that features Adam le Fondre and Bartholomew Ogbeche, two strikers in phenomenal form at the moment. Boumous will be expected to deliver a lot more than he did last year.
2) Edu Garcia (ATK Mohun Bagan)
Edu Garcia burst onto the ISL scene when he signed for Bengaluru FC ahead of the 2017-18 ISL season. After a year away from the ISL, Garcia returned to the league with ATK, where he has become part of the club's folklore.
Although the 30-year-old didn't manage many appearances in the 2018-19 season, he was an important part of the squad in the 2019-20 title-winning campaign. Garcia made 16 appearances and scored 6 goals in the process. Despite not having made as many assists as he would have liked, the Spaniard will be hoping to create many more goals in the upcoming season.
3) Rafael Crivellaro (Chennaiyin FC)
The 2019-20 ISL season did not begin well for Chennaiyin FC, as they lost four of their five opening games. However, their season was turned around by Owen Coyle who took charge and led the team to the final of the ISL where they lost 3-1 to ATK.
Brazilian Rafael Crivellaro was an internal part of the side with 8 assists in 20 matches, reinforcing his credentials as a top attacking midfielder in the ISL. The Brazilian was among the few in Chennaiyin FC to retain their place under new manager Csaba Laszlo, and will be expected to reprise his role in the upcoming season as well.
4) Brandon Fernandes (FC Goa)
In the list of assist leaders from the previous season, Brandon Fernandes, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, and Anirudh Thapa are the only Indian players to feature on the top 10 list. Brandon Fernandes was highly effective in the 2019-20 season for FC Goa, where he played in a midfield trio alongside Lenny Rodrigues and Hugo Boumous.
The 26-year-old managed seven assists from just 17 matches, a feat that ensured FC Goa's pole position finish on the table. Fernandes is among a handful of players to have retained his place in the FC Goa ranks under new head coach Juan Ferrando. He will also be one of the deputies to club captain Edu Bedia for the upcoming season.
5) Anthony Pilkington (SC East Bengal)
There were celebrations in the SC East Bengal camp when they managed to secure the services of Anthony Pilkington for the season. The former Norwich City attacking midfielder needs no introduction following his exploits in English football over the years.
In the upcoming season of the ISL, Pilkington will be expected to play alongside Jacques Maghoma and Aaron Amadi-Holloway. With coach Robbie Fowler preferring an attacking philosophy, the Republic of Ireland international will fit right into the system.Published 08 Nov 2020, 18:26 IST