ISL 2023-24: What to look forward to in Matchweek 11?
Three top-of-the-table clashes spice up Matchweek 11
The Indian Super League (ISL) season is fast approaching its halfway stage and by the end of Matchweek 11, six teams will have played 50% of their league matches this season.
While the table is by no means decisive at the moment, it indicates the targets the teams will be fighting for in the second half of the season.
Matchweek 11 begins with Punjab FC looking to avoid finishing their first half of the season without a win when they host Chennaiyin FC.
The action then shifts to Mumbai for a blockbuster encounter between Mumbai City FC and Mohun Bagan Super Giant before Hyderabad FC host Jamshedpur FC.
East Bengal FC then take on high-flying Odisha FC in Kolkata before Mohun Bagan Super Giant take on FC Goa at Fatorda in another big-ticket fixture.
Gerard Zaragoza’s Bengaluru FC then entertain NorthEast United FC on Double Header Sunday which concludes with the tasty fixture involving Kerala Blasters FC and Mumbai City FC in Kochi.
As we quickly move from Matchweek 10 to Matchweek 11, here’s a look at the biggest talking points and key narratives in Matchweek 11.
Can CFC and EBFC resurgence gain momentum?
Chennaiyin FC and East Bengal FC have emerged as the strongest contenders to the teams above them in the race for the playoffs. Owen Coyle’s team are unbeaten in four games and coming off the back of a morale-boosting win against rivals Bengaluru FC. Chennaiyin FC take on winless Punjab FC and will look to make it back-to-back wins in the ISL.
East Bengal FC are unbeaten in their last three matches and have kept a clean sheet in each of these games. A home game against in-form Odisha FC will put their playoff credentials to the test but Carles Cuadrat’s men will be looking to carry the confidence from their 0-0 draw against Mumbai City FC to the game against the Kalinga Warriors.
League Shield contenders face off
Matchweek 11 is a massive week for the race for the League Shield with as many as five teams in a great position to make a challenge for the top spot. Four out of these teams are involved in matchups against each other which could go a long way in giving the teams a psychological boost ahead of the January break.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant travel to Mumbai to face the Islanders on Wednesday who would be looking to post their first win under Petr Kratky. The Mariners would though want to continue their unbeaten run and deny the Czech Australian his first win as MCFC boss.
The Mariners then host leaders FC Goa in Kolkata which promises to be a tasty affair as the two teams have the best records in the league so far. The winner in this fixture can lay down a marker for the rest of the season.
The matchweek concludes with Mumbai City FC travelling to face Kerala Blasters FC, Ivan Vukomanovic’s side are unbeaten at home but will welcome formidable opponents in Mumbai City FC who have won the last three meetings between the two teams including the 2-1 win earlier this season.
Will the new manager bounce continue at BFC?
Gerard Zaragoza made a winning start to life as Bengaluru FC head coach with a 1-0 win over Jamshedpur FC and will get a chance to build on it when the Blues host NorthEast United FC.
Bengaluru FC scripted a remarkable comeback last season after they overcame a difficult start to reach the final. The Blues faithful will be hoping for the new manager bounce to continue and pull BFC right back into playoff contention.
Big three points at stake for Hyderabad FC and Jamshedpur FC
Hyderabad FC and Jamshedpur FC will lock horns in Hyderabad looking to kickstart their respective campaigns. The two sides have one win among themselves.
In fact, the Men of Steel only success this season came against Hyderabad FC at the Furnace and will hope to repeat the heroics on the road. Hyderabad FC will see this as an opportunity to post their first win of the season and rekindle hopes of a second-half revival.
The game will see two of the league’s lowest scorers take the field. Hyderabad FC have scored just five goals this season while Jamshedpur FC have netted six.
A victory for Hyderabad FC could see them leapfrog their visitors into tenth place, while three points for Jamshedpur FC would see them get within touching distance of the playoff spots.