Hero ISL 2020-21 Data Dive: Indians take a record 1,100 shots and their goal-contribution also sees improvement on last season

In what was an enthralling season of football, Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 saw many new records come into being. With a very short pre-season, bio-bubble restrictions, and tight schedules, this season was an exhibition in terms of fitness management -- if truth be told. The addition of SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan – following a merger between ATK FC and Mohun Bagan AC -- increased the number of teams to 11, making it the biggest season yet. After a high-octane campaign that ended last month with Mumbai City FC’s win over ATK Mohun Bagan in the final for their maiden Hero ISL trophy, here is an overview of the entire season just through numbers.

More games, more goals

With 11 teams fighting for the coveted trophy this season – highest ever -- the number of matches increased from 95 to 115 and it was no surprise that a record 298 goals were scored in the 2020-21 campaign. This is four more than last season, although the average goals scored per match (2.59) was less than Hero ISL 2019-20’s 3.09.

Season Matches Total Goals Goals/ Match (Avg)
2014 61 129 2.11
2015 61 186 3.05
2016 61 145 2.38
2017-18 95 261 2.75
2018-19 95 254 2.6
2019-20 95 294 3.09
2020-21 115 298 2.59

*Goals stats across seven seasons

Top-four teams dominate the attacking stats

All four teams who qualified for the semi-finals accounted for the best attacking statistics in Hero ISL 2020-21. Champions Mumbai City FC scored the most number of goals -- 39 and averaged 1.67 goals per 90 minutes, the most by any team. FC Goa and NorthEast United FC were joint second with 33 goals each but the latter had a better average goals per 90 minutes (1.5) as can be seen here.

Passing game at a glance

Mumbai City FC proved they were the best team in the league by winning both League Winners Shield as well as the Hero ISL trophy. Led by Sergio Lobera, the Islanders’ possession-based football was a spectacle to behold, with a massive 11,050 passes to their name. But they were not the only team to follow this approach. Juan Ferrando’s FC Goa and Manuel Marquez’s Hyderabad FC were also adept at the passing game. This season saw a better average passes attempted per match (770.3) than last season (758.1). However, passing accuracy was better last season (69.53%) compared to this season’s 67.01%.  Check out the following numbers.

Season Matches Total Passes attempted Passes Completed Passes Attempted/ Match (Avg)
2014 61 49456 35821 (72.43%) 810.8
2015 61 48451 36218 (74.75%) 794.3
2016 61 47270 32931 (69.66%) 774.9
2017-18 95 81434 56209 (69.02%) 857.2
2018-19 95 78989 55678 (70.48%) 831.5
2019-20 95 72022 50082 (69.53%) 758.1
2020-21 115 88584 59357 (67.01%) 770.3

 *Passing stats across seven seasons

Who was defensively superior?

In terms of clean sheets, the two finalists – Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan -- were a cut above the rest with 10 shut-outs each. The Islanders conceded 21 goals, while the Mariners conceded 19 (least by any team) all through the season. However, it was Hyderabad FC that faced the least number of shots per 90 minutes as can be seen here.

Indian players improve on their last season’s attacking stats

Indian players scored a total of 75 goals, three more than last season’s 72. In comparison, the foreigners scored 211 goals, three fewer than Hero ISL 2019-20’s 214. These Indian stars also provided 83 assists, equalling last season’s record for most assists by Indians. And the only hat-trick of the season was also scored by an Indian player, Bipin Singh (Mumbai City FC). Indians took a total of 1,100 shots, making it the first season where Indians have managed more than 1,000 shots.  In fact, the previous record was 946 in the 2018-19 campaign. Their shot percentage of 39.83 is second highest across all seven seasons. Also, a record 12 own goals were scored this season. The previous record was eight own goals that came to pass last season.


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