The league phase of the second edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) has come to an end, and we look back at the numbers and the story they portray. We disclose the player who was more clinical than Stiven Mendoza and Iain Hume, the best midfielder who went unnoticed, and the team which has struggled in the second half of matches.
Sneaky Delhi; Goa's dominance in the second halves
Outcomes of a lot of matches in this season's ISL have been decided late. 37 goals have been scored after the 80th minute in the league so far, and more can be expected in the final round of knock-out games. However, Delhi Dynamos have been the sneakiest of all the teams with seven of their 18 goals arriving late (80'+) in the second half of matches.
FC Goa have been the most prolific team in the league stage having scored 29 goals in 14 matches. A staggering 18 of those goals have arrived in the second half of matches, exhibiting their tendency to finish strongly in a game.
On the other hand, Chennaiyin FC have a tendency to start strongly in games, but they tend to allow their opponents back into the match in the second half. Marco Materazzi's team have conceded 73% of their goals in the second half of matches.
Cristian Bustos the pass master
While Leo Moura and Florent Malouda have attempted the most number of passes in the league, 926 and 917 respectively, they do not have the most inspiring numbers when it comes to pass completion rate (ratio of successful passes and passes attempted). Both of these players operate in the role of creative midfielders, which means they will have to take a bit more risks while passing a ball, compared to midfielders who play in a deeper role.
When it comes to efficiency in passing, considering players who have attempted 500 or more passes in the league so far, very few match-up to Mumbai City FC midfielder Cristian Bustos. The Spanish midfielder controlled everything in the Mumbai midfield.If only he had a more creative support like Selim Benachour playing ahead of him regularly, the Blue Devils might have achieved better results this season.
Raphael Augusto the best central midfielder
With the likes of Mendoza and Hume grabbing the headlines, the impact of Chennaiyin's Raphael Augusto has almost gone unnoticed this season. The Brazilian has been the best midfielder in the league, and these statistics will tell you why.
- Passing – As shown above, Augusto has the fifth best pass completion rate for midfielders who have attempted more than 500 passes. In fact, he has the fourth highest number of successful passes (588) – only after Leo Moura, Florent Malouda and Nicky Shorey.
- Tackling – Augusto has made the second highest number of successful tackles in the league so far despite playing the fewest number of minutes among the top-five in the list.
- Interceptions – The Brazilian has protected the back-four of Chennaiyin like a wall, which has allowed the likes of Thoi Singh and Elano to venture forward without any concerns. He is one of the main reasons why Chennaiyin have conceded the least number of goals so far in the league. Augusto has made the third highest number of interceptions (22), the highest by a midfielder in the league.
Izumi the most clinical, and Malouda the most wasteful in front of the goal
Chennaiyin striker Stiven Mendoza and Atletico de Kolkata's Iain Hume have lit up this season's ISL with their marksmanship upfront, and are leading the scoring chart with 11 and 10 goals respectively. But statistics reflect the whole picture only when they are put into context. For a goalscorer, the number of chances he needs before putting one into the back of the net provides the measure of how 'clinical' he has been.
Portuguese international Helder Postiga made a flying start to his season when he scored two goals in two shots in the opening game against Chennaiyin, before an injury cut short his season - that is a 100% strike rate. But it came in just one game, and the more you play, the more chances you are likely to miss. So for the right metric, we have considered players who have scored three goals or more, and the result is intriguing.
Arata Izumi replaced the injured Helder Postiga in Kolkata's line-up, scored goals, got injured himself, came back and scored goals again. The Japanese-born Indian midfielder has scored five goals from just nine attempts with a shots-to-goals ratio of just 1.8 – undoubtedly the most thrifty goalscorer in the league so far.
When we look at the other end of the spectrum i.e the most wasteful players in front of the goal, one unexpected name pops up – Florent Malouda. The Delhi Dynamos playmaker has not been able to finish off chances with the proficiency he shows while creating chances for others.
Antonio Habas and Cesar Farias had the Midas touch
Football managers earn their money with the substitutions and tactical changes they make in order to win points. Atletico de Kolkata manager Antonio Habas and NorthEast United manager Cesar Farias were the most successful among the coaches when it comes to substitutes making an impact.