ISL wrap: The Krishna-Williams show, Hyderabad blues and more
Star of the week
Roy Krishna and David Williams
No. 1 and No. 3 in the goal-scoring charts, 10 of ATK's 15 goals amongst them, Roy Krishna and David Williams have been, without much of a doubt, the signings of the season.
They share a remarkable understanding of each other's games, work tirelessly to ensure Antonio Lopez Habas' bespoke 3-5-2 works both defensively and offensively, and both seem to be enjoying their time in India.
As NorthEast United found out this week -- while getting swatted aside 3-0 (2xKrishna, 1xWilliams) -- when these two are on song, there aren't many defences around that can stop them.
P.S. Special mention must be made of Chennaiyin's CR7-celebration-copying Nerijus Valskis, who finally seems to have found his shooting boots.
Flop of the week
While keeping FC Goa to a goal is always commendable, not testing their suspension/injury-hit opposition at the other end emphasizes just how toothless the newly formed old team have been. After their 1-0 defeat on Sunday, Phil Brown's men are languishing at the bottom of the league with just four points from seven games. If they keep at it with the same lack of intensity, and quality, that's where they will remain come the end of the season.
Performance of the week
ATK vs NorthEast United
ATK are consistently showing they are the favourites to usurp Bengaluru's crown. We have talked about the galvanizing effect of Krishna and Williams, but there's more to the two-time champs than just those two.
Defensively, Habas' 3-5-2 provides Salam Ranjan Singh (or Anas Edathodika) and Pritam Kotal enough cover to -- cliché alert -- compensate for their weaknesses while highlighting their strengths. Michael Soosairaj provides a dangerous goal threat from left wing-back while on the opposite flank Prabir Das' crossing and forward movement have been top-notch. Edu Garcia and Jayesh Rane, meanwhile, are great options in midfield and complement the front pair's running superbly.
With decent depth to their squad, and a goal threat coming from across the pitch, ATK look the part this season -- and the performance against NorthEast encapsulated it perfectly.
Funky tactical tweak of the week
Playing Sahal Abdul Samad as the trequartista.
It really should not be funky. Playing Sahal in the No. 10 slot would seem the most natural thing to do, but having experimented with him across midfield and down both wings, Eelco Schattorie pushed him back up to the hole behind the striker against Mumbai. Sahal -- and Kerala -- looked much the better for it.
On either side of him, Seityasen Singh and Prasanth Karuthadathkuni tucked in, before peeling off wide at odd intervals -- constantly keeping the opposition full backs guessing. And with Jeakson Singh and Sergio Cidoncha slowly forging a neat little partnership behind them, the Kerala midfield controlled vast swathes of the game in the Mumbai Football Arena.
That Kerala conceded within a couple of minutes of scoring is a mark of a side that is low on confidence, but the performance against Mumbai was certainly a positive. For a Kerala fan, there's enough signs of promise there to keep believing. Especially if Sahal is played where he really ought to be played.
Rant of the week
(On behalf of Chennaiyin FC)
Chennaiyin and Jamshedpur played out an enjoyable 1-1 draw on Monday at, but the home side's equalizer should never have stood. (1:52 in the video below will show you just why)
When you're down in the dumps like Chennaiyin have been for so long, it never rains...
Tweet of the week
Am a yellow elephant ;-) https://t.co/1RkBmVJYWJ- Eelco Schattorie (@ESchattorie) December 5, 2019