The sixth season of the Indian Super League has started with a bang, with controversy, drama, and rivalry livened up all over again. The first 10 games have seen as many 24 goals with some getting off the mark from the word go. Here’s the best XI from the first ISL game week and it looks promising!
Subhasish Roy Chowdhury – Coming into the side as the second favourite custodian after Pawan Kumar had already made a name for himself under Eelco Schattorie’s tutelage as NorthEast United had reached the playoffs, Subhasish had huge task ahead. However, having played for clubs like ATK, Kerala Blasters, and East Bengal before, the 33-year-old had experience on his side and he has shown that. Not only does he have the safest pair of hands from set-piece, but Roy has pulled off some stunning finger-tip saves to keep his side in contention at crucial times.
Mourtada Fall – With Sergio Lobera already missing players like Edu Bedia and Hugo Boumous with injuries, apart from Ahmed Jahouh’s suspension who missed Goa’s match against Chennaiyin FC, the Spaniard needed his centre-half to be at his best. And while Goa fielded a host of domestic players in the offence for their first win of the season, it was Fall who gave them the assurance of going up fearlessly. Although he could be partly blamed for Udanta Singh’s goal on Monday, the Senegalese still remains one of the best defenders in ISL.
Sarthak Golui – Mumbai City FC were always expected to have the most robust of defences in the league, and not for the kinds of players they have in their squad, but for the style of play, Jorge Costa has indoctrinated into his players over the last two years. And Sarthak Golui has been an exemplary product of the same. The full-back looked rock solid and brimming with confidence against Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters
Prabir Das – There have been players in every ISL, who have started the campaign with tremendous promise but have eventually fizzled out with the rigours of the league. Prabir Das is tailor-made for this category. However, we cannot overlook his abilities at the moment especially when he is running a riot on the right flank. And what make his performance, two assists against Hyderabad, special is his drive even in the last few minutes and when his team was 3-0 up.
Seriton Fernandes – Ferran Corominas hasn’t been the best find of Sergio Lobera; it is rather the qualities that he has brought out of his domestic clutch of players showing the nation what Indian players are capable of. And Seriton Fernandes is one of those byproducts. A good upgrade is seen from last season, where the youngster has shown patience and understanding of the game exacting 14 tackles in two matches, with Goa getting fours points of them.
Carl McHugh – It was definitely a big catch, even by ATK’s standards. Getting a defensive utility player from a proper European club like Motherwell FC, who is just 26-year-old, is insane. The way he has started his ISL campaign is also promising with two back to back good performances. While he has been picked in the best XI from the first week is primarily for the goal, but his versatility across all the positions in the defensive third is also commendable. Apart from the right-back position, McHugh can pay anywhere defensively – defensive midfield, centre-half, and left-back – and with precision.
Piti – If it was Mario Arques, it is Piti this time. It is as if Jamshedpur FC have been a platform from which lesser-known Spanish midfielders get launched in India. The left-footed central midfielder has literally run the play for his side against both Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC. He became more prominent on Tuesday at the Furnace where he showed his class, which was better than the combined HFC midfield of Marko Stankovic, Rohit Kumar, and Adil Khan. He could defend, dribble, and find the crucial pass almost every time he faced each situation. Even JFC’s first goal came from his moment of magic.
Edu Garcia – Though ISL’s first week has seen better midfielders in the first game week, who have played the most part of the game in the likes of Raphael Augusto, Panagiotis Triadis, and Brandon Fernandes, Edu Garcia literally snatch his spot from them with his late brace. Despite not starting in the first eleven with Javier Garcia getting the nod over him of late, the former Bengaluru FC man grabbed both the opportunities to inflict more suffering on an already down Hyderabad at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Ferran Corominas – There are some players who are just natural in scoring. Whether their first touch to take the ball past his marker, their quick thinking in playing a one two from congested spaces, and most of all, their perfect finishes - they are not taught all that. They realize it in themselves as they keep playing more and more. Coro is one of them and there isn’t any time soon that he is falling out of the “best XI from any game-week”.
David Williams – It was Roy Krishna who was supposed to be the MVP for ATK, and although the Fijian international has shown sparks of his renowned strength and pace from time to time, even scoring a goal in the process, it has been his Australian teammate who has been the star. Apart from Williams’ brace against Hyderabad, the Australian was also denied a clear onside goal against Kerala Blasters, which could only have increased his goal count. His pace up and down the flanks and clinical finishing has been brilliant.
Sergio Castel – The Atletico Madrid loanee has become a firm favourites for Jamshedpur of late with composed play in the attacking third, mainly his finesse. The Spaniard’s work rate has made players like Farukh Choudhary and Aniket Jadhav look prolific and the timing of his first goal, which helped a 10-man JFC side beat Odisha FC, is the icing on the cake. He has scored two goals in two games and more than that, his hold up play and incisive through ball for the wingers have drawn praise from one and all.