The Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 is finally back in action with Matchweek 7 as the international break draws curtains. Chennaiyin FC will host East Bengal FC on Saturday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai, for the inaugural game of this four-game long matchweek which will last from November 25, 2023, to November 27, 2023.

Later, on the same day, Hyderabad FC will travel to Kochi to battle out Kerala Blasters FC in search of their first victory this season. On Sunday, NorthEast United FC will host Bengaluru FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, followed by the final fixture of Matchweek 7 when Jamshedpur FC will attempt to break FC Goa’s undefeated streak on Monday.

After a thrilling Matchweek 6, Punjab FC and Hyderabad FC remain the only two teams who are still in search of their first wins this season while Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Mumbai City FC and FC Goa continue their unbeaten run.

As ISL 2023-24 returns after the international break, let’s take note of what to keep an eye out for in Matchweek 7.

Connor Shields vs Cleiton Silva: Who will steal the show?

Shields has shown exceptional form this season scoring three goals in six appearances. His performance against Punjab FC in Matchweek 5, where he scored a remarkable brace, was one of the best individual performances for any player so far this season. 

A similar knack for scoring goals can also be seen from the East Bengal FC forward, Cleiton Silva, who has also bagged three goals this season in one less appearance as compared to Shields. The Brazilian maestro has looked to be a ray of hope for the Red and Gold Brigade amidst a disappointing start to the season. Both Shields and Silva will look forward to increasing their tally when they face each other on Saturday.

Hyderabad FC battle for first win, at the Blasters' fortress

Kerala Blasters FC stand as one of the most popular clubs in the ISL, and their fervent home fans make sure to remind them of this distinction on every occasion at their home ground, boosting the team's morale. The Blasters boast an impressive record, having won nine out of their last eleven home matches and losing just once, solidifying the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi as their fortress. When Hyderabad FC takes on the Blasters in their stronghold, they face a daunting challenge in their quest for the first win this season.

Interestingly, Hyderabad FC were the last team to defeat the Blasters in Kochi. Can they replicate that feat again?

The superstar faces his potential successor?

Since the inception of the ISL, NorthEast United have been a consistent participant but are yet to secure a successful campaign. In contrast, Bengaluru FC have showcased pure class since their ISL debut in 2017, reaching the final in their inaugural season and clinching the ISL Cup in the following year.

This season, the Highlanders have won two matches, drawn two matches, and lost two matches in their opening six fixtures, placing themselves sixth on the table. The Blues have had a worse start to the season as they lost three, drew two and won a single match. The upcoming fixture promises excitement as NorthEast United FC host Bengaluru FC on Sunday.

The match will also pit Sunil Chhetri, India's best attacking player against Parthib Gogoi who is tipped by many to be a future superstar. Who will come out on top in Guwahati?

Can Jamshedpur FC find consistency against high-flying Gaurs?

FC Goa remain unbeaten so far in ISL 2023-24 alongside Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Mumbai City FC. The Gaurs currently sit at the top of the table with 13 points from five matches, losing points only against Bengaluru FC. 

Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, look quite vulnerable this season with only glimpses of their potential being shown on a few occasions, sitting ninth on the table. They have lost three matches, drawing two and winning only one from their opening six fixtures. Should the Men of Steel manage to pull off the unexpected during their trip to Goa, it would undoubtedly inject drama into the league table, further opening up the season.