Hero ISL 2019-20 Data Dive: Direct approach bears fruit, goals galore and more

The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 was one to remember with fans across the country bearing witness to some riveting football, intriguing match ups, edge-of-the-seat action whilst experiencing a wide range of emotions throughout the duration of six months. The season concluded on March 14 as ATK FC clinched their record third title after beating Chennaiyin FC in the final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

While the emotional roller coaster ride over the course of the season was one to behold, there were also some intriguing numbers in store for the more statistically-inclined football fans. Here’s an overview of the key numbers from the season gone by.

Goal-laden season

With most teams presenting an offensive front and a rich pool of attacking talents backing it up, the Hero ISL 2019-20 season saw a total of 294 goals being scored at an average of 3.09 per match – more than any of the past 5 seasons. Comparatively, the two seasons involving 10 teams - Hero ISL 2017-18 saw 261 goals (previous best), while the 2018-19 season accounted for 254. Averages considered, as well, this season was marginally better than Hero ISL 2015 which had the previous best of 3.05 goals per match.

Season

Matches

Total Goals

Goals/ Match (Avg)

2014

61

129

2.11

2015

61

186

3.05

2016

61

145

2.35

2017-18

95

261

2.78

2018-19

95

254

2.6

2019-20

95

294

3.09

*Goals Stats over the six seasons

The biggest contributor to the scoring frenzy was FC Goa, who accounted for a total of 51 goals in their 20 matches. It was the first time a team managed to break the 50-goal threshold in a single season. Interestingly, it was the Gaurs who held the previous record for most goals in a single season, having scored 41 in their 21 outings in 2018-19.

Furthermore, 166 of the total tally of 294 were scored by teams in their respective home matches. It was also the most number of home goals recorded in a single season.

Direct approach bears fruit

Despite more goals being scored, this season, curiously, saw lesser average number of passes attempted per match (758.1) compared to all the previous seasons.

Season

Matches

Total Passes Attempted

Passes Attempted/ Match (Avg)

2014

61

49456

810.75

2015

61

48451

794.28

2016

61

47270

774.92

2017-18

95

81434

857.2

2018-19

95

78989

831.5

2019-20

95

72022

758.1

*Passing Stats over the six seasons

A deeper look into the passing data, also indicates that the passing accuracy in the final third this season (52.82%) was comparatively lesser than past seasons. Whilst the stat may come off as surprising considering the number of goals scored was significantly higher, it was a byproduct of sides attempting a lot more riskier passes to create more open and decisive chances, rather than knocking it around the opposition box in search of half-decent openings.

Season

Total Passes Attempted in Attacking Third

Total Passes Completed in Attacking Third

Pass Accuracy in Attacking Third

2014

13419

8326

62.04%

2015

13311

7749

58.21%

2016

11454

6317

55.15%

2017-18

20164

11044

54.77%

2018-19

20361

11121

54.61%

2019-20

18597

9823

52.82%

*Attacking Third Passing Stats over the six seasons

A complimentary stat further establishing the more direct approach utilized by the teams this season is the number of dribbles attempted and completed. A total of 1670 dribbles were attempted in Hero ISL 2019-20, 1070 of which were successful, testifying the players’ willingness to take on defences. The previous highest numbers were witnessed in the 2017-18 season where 1111 dribbles were attempted with 722 of them being successful.

ATK the biggest gainers

Interestingly, a look at the individual team passing stats reveal that it was the eventual champions ATK who took the most direct approach among all the teams involved. The direct route perfectly suited Antonio Habas’ pragmatic style with the focus on counter attacks as the team marched to their third title. In fact, the top five teams of the season included four of the five teams with the lowest average passes attempted per match this season. League Winners FC Goa, who had the highest tally of 481 were the only exception.

Team

Matches

Total Passes Attempted

Passes Attempted/ Match (Avg)

ATK FC

21

6831

325.28

Chennaiyin FC

21

7553

359.66

FC Goa

20

9620

481

Bengaluru FC

20

7231

361.55

Mumbai City FC

18

6077

337.61

Odisha FC

18

7193

399.61

Kerala Blasters FC

18

7322

406.77

Jamshedpur FC

18

7220

401.11

NorthEast United FC

18

6545

363.61

Hyderabad FC

18

6430

357.22

*Team-wise Passing Stats for Hero ISL 2019-20

Other interesting bits…

Hero ISL 2019-20 also saw the most number of assists recorded by Indians in a single season. Indian players recorded a total of 83 assists this season, surpassing the previous best of 72 recorded in the 2017-18 campaign.

This season, Indians took 901 shots on goal, making it the second successive season where Indians have managed 900+ shots on goal.

Despite scoring 10 goals more than the previous season, FC Goa took lesser number of shots (290) in the 2019-20 campaign compared to their tally (325) in the 2018-19 season.

ATK’s tally of 39 goals is the highest they ever recorded in their six seasons in the Hero ISL.

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