Entertaining, competitive, youthful: Hero ISL 2021-22 has been a season of many firsts

The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign has kept the Indian football fans hooked like never before thanks to the drama it has produced.

More goals, greater local talent on display and a higher intensity of play has been a hallmark of this season which has ensured that dull moments have been few and far between.

As the season crossed the halfway mark earlier this week, the first half of Hero ISL 2021-22 has seen many firsts right from a record goal output to increase in Indian goalscorers and to having the smallest margin splitting the teams chasing the semi-final spots. 

Here's a statistical lowdown of the season so far

Goals galore

There have been more goals per match in the first 55 matches of Hero ISL 2021-22 than in any other previous season. 181 goals have been scored at an average of 3.29 per match. In comparison to the 2020-21 season which saw 132 goals scored at this stage, this season has been staggering.

This season of the Hero ISL has also seen the lowest minutes per goal ratio in the competition’s history (27.35 minutes per goal).

Metrics

2021-22

2020-21

2019-20

2018-19

2017-18

2016

2015

2014

Matches

55

55

55

55

55

55

55

55

Goals

181

132

152

144

149

133

166

119

Goals Per Match

3.29

2.40

2.76

2.62

2.71

2.42

3.02

2.16

Minutes per Goal

27.35

37.50

32.57

34.38

33.22

37.22

29.82

41.60

Indian attackers impress

A record number of goals have been scored by Indians after the first 55 matches this season. The Indians have scored 51 goals which is 28.18% of the total goals scored by players. This season ranks third out of eight when looking at % of Indian goal scorers.

This season, the average age of Indian goal scorers after 55 matches is 24.44. Only in two other seasons has the average age of Indian goal scorers been lower (2020-21 & 2018-19).

Season

Goals by Foreign Players

Goals by Indian Players

Indian Player %

Average Age (Indian Scorers)

2014

96

22

18.49%

25.06

2015

121

43

25.90%

26.21

2016

100

31

23.30%

25.75

2017-18

99

48

32.21%

26.12

2018-19

91

49

34.02%

24.1

2019-20

107

42

27.63%

25

2020-21

100

27

20.45%

23.56

2021-22

122

51

28.18%

24.44

53 assists have been provided by Indian players this season. This is the most assists provided by Indians in the first 55 matches of a Hero ISL season.

In terms of percentage of assists provided by Indians, this is the second best season in the Hero ISL. The best season for Indian creators was the previous season where Indian players contributed 55.29% of the assists. 

Season

Assists by Foreign Players

Assists by Indian Players

Indian Player %

Average Age (Indian Assisters)

2014

39

30

43.48%

24.95

2015

88

39

30.70%

26.68

2016

78

27

25.71%

24.74

2017-18

56

44

44.00%

24.67

2018-19

61

39

39.00%

25.53

2019-20

61

45

42.45%

24

2020-21

36

47

56.62%

25.47

2021-22

64

53

45.30%

25.15

Youngsters shining

The number of U-23 players featuring in the opening stages of the league have been increasing since the inaugural season. The first season saw 28 U-23 players play in the first 55 matches. It has increased over seasons and last season, a record 110 U-23 players featured in the league in the same amount of matches. This season, the record has been matched and 110 U-23 players have featured in the first 55 matches.

The U-23 players have also scored 18 goals in the first 55 matches this season. This is joint-most managed by the players in this age group after the completion of 55 matches.  

Season

Players

Goals

Assists

Shots

Shots on Target

2014

28

9

11

157

86

2015

29

9

7

117

60

2016

34

5

8

62

25

2017-18

72

9

21

131

45

2018-19

50

18

9

219

68

2019-20

91

12

20

243

74

2020-21

110

14

17

235

60

2021-22

110

18

19

239

62

More competitive

In terms of the points difference between the first and last placed team, this season is the most competitive Hero ISL season since Hero ISL 2016.

There is just a 11 point gap between top and bottom team which is 8 less than previous season.

The 2018-19 season saw a gap of 20 points between top and bottom team after 55 matches. This was the highest gap between the top and the bottom side after the completion of 55 matches. Bengaluru FC, in first place, picked 24 points while Delhi Dynamos found themselves at the bottom of the table with only 4 points.

Season

First Place

Last Place

Points Difference

2014

Chennaiyin (23)

NorthEast United (14)

9

2015

ATK (23)

Kerala Blasters (13)

10

2016

Mumbai City (23)

FC Goa (14)

9

2017-18

FC Pune City (22)

Delhi Dynamos (7)

15

2018-19

Bengaluru FC (24)

Delhi Dynamos (4)

20

2019-20

FC Goa (24)

Hyderabad FC (5)

19

2020-21

Mumbai City (25)

Odisha FC (6)

19

2021-22

Kerala Blasters (17)

SC East Bengal (6)

11

There is still plenty of football left to be played in Hero ISL 2021-22 season and as it closes in on the crunch part of the season, the actions will only intensify. So fasten your seatbelts and be prepared to be entertained. 

Note: The data used in the article is valid after Match 56 which was the 55th match of the season and marked the halfway point in the league phase. 

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