Bengaluru FC, NorthEast United FC, and Hyderabad FC are currently unbeaten in the 2020/21 Indian Super League (ISL). However, while three teams are unbeaten, three other clubs - SC East Bengal, Kerala Blasters FC, and Odisha FC are yet to taste victory. While a case can be made for East Bengal and Odisha to an extent, there is certainly no excuse for the disappointing start for the Kerala Blasters.
The shortened ISL pre-season witnessed Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC make coaching changes with Stuart Baxter and Kibu Vicuna coming in respectively. Odisha were the first to make a few high-profile signings with Steven Taylor, Marcelinho, and Diego Mauricio coming into the fold. The Blasters, on the other hand, broke the bank to recruit some of the best players.
Vicente Gomez, Gary Hooper, Bakary Kone, and Costa Nhamoinesu came into the side, all having featured in top-flight leagues across Europe. It might seem early to call, but a playoffs spot could elude all these teams.
That said, let's take a look at three teams who are seemingly lacking the firepower in this season of ISL:
#1 SC East Bengal
After navigating through a few ownership issues, SC East Bengal eventually found themselves in the ISL. Immediately after this, the Red and Gold brigade managed to lure Liverpool legend, Robbie Fowler, as a manager for their first-ever season in the ISL. Having managed Brisbane Roar in the A-League previously, Fowler secured the signings of Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Scott Neville.
Former Premier League players Anthony Pilkington and Danny Fox came in along with winger Jacques Maghoma and midfielder Matti Steinmann. Despite having high-profile names in the squad, East Bengal have not managed to win a single game this season. After five games, they currently find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table with just a point to their name.
In spite of a win eluding them so far, SC East Bengal have actually played some eye-catching football. Pilkington and Maghoma have given a good account of themselves, and it can be argued that some of the refereeing decisions haven't gone their way. The 0-0 draw against Jamshedpur FC has snapped their losing streak and Fowler will hope that positive results are right around the corner.
#2 Odisha FC
It has been two seasons since the Delhi Dynamos were rebranded as Odisha FC with the hope that the club can reach new heights. While they finished in sixth place in their debut season, the 2020/21 season under the stewardship of Stuart Baxter has seen the side slump further.
At the moment, Odisha FC are one of three teams that are yet to claim a win this season. The one draw and four losses so far have pushed Baxter's men to the 10th place on the table. 33-year-old Marcelinho, one of the top goalscorers in ISL history, is yet to get on the scoresheet this season.
The two goals scored by Odisha FC have come from Diego Mauricio. Steven Taylor, who played over a decade for Newcastle United, has also been disappointing so far by letting in seven goals.
Stuart Baxter will hope to stem the flow of goals and find a winning formula as his side faces Bengaluru FC next. He will also hope that the likes of Marcelinho and Onwu find some form as the season progresses.
#3 Kerala Blasters
Going into the 2020/21 ISL, Kerala Blasters FC were one of the most fancied teams. With the likes of Gary Hooper, Bakary Kone, Vicente Gomez, and Costa Nhamoinesu on the roster, a playoffs spot seemed to be in the offing. Despite all the big names on their roster this season, the Kerala Blasters are still without a win.
Having lost three matches and drawn two, it is safe to assume that Kibu Vicuna is under tremendous pressure. This slump is something that the Spaniard is perhaps not used to, especially after tasting success with Mohun Bagan last season in the I-League.
At the moment, Kerala Blasters find themselves in the 9th place and are still looking for their first win of the season. Vicuna will be a little encouraged as the Blasters face SC East Bengal next in a relatively easier fixture.
Kibu Vicuna will hope to change things around as soon as possible, to not only get the Blasters higher up the table, but also to keep his job.