Matchweek 12 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season will be the final one of the year as teams aim to end 2023 on a positive note.

East Bengal FC, Bengaluru FC, and Hyderabad FC won’t be in action. Meanwhile, Odisha FC will play two fixtures within a gap of five days.

In the opening game of Matchweek 12, Sergio Lobera’s side will battle against Punjab FC.

Wednesday unfolds with arguably the biggest fixture of the Matchweek as Mohun Bagan SG welcome Kerala Blasters FC.

On Thursday, Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC lock horns at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Friday features a doubleheader, starting with Jamshedpur FC taking on Sergio Lobera’s men at the Kalinga Stadium, followed by NorthEast United FC’s encounter against an unbeaten FC Goa side.

As we brace for Matchweek 12, here are some major talking points.

Owen Coyle vs Petr Kratky - Clash of contrasting philosophies

As Chennaiyin FC makes a trip to Mumbai, fans and neutrals could be in for an interesting tactical battle as Owen Coyle and Peter Kratky square off for the first time.

Mumbai City FC, despite parting ways with former head coach Des Buckingham, have continued to stick true to their style of keeping the ball and playing on the front foot under Kratky. However, dominance with the ball doesn't always guarantee success. In their recent defeat to Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC registered nearly double the number of passes than the Blasters and completed 65% of passes, yet succumbed to a defeat.

Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC is a side that can hurt teams even without the ball. In two of the three matches they have won this season, Coyle’s side has been the team with the least amount of possession in those games.

Playing at home, the Islanders will be expected to keep the ball and dominate. But will that bring success, or will Coyle’s plan prevail?

Will MBSG be able to withstand pressure?

From going unbeaten in their first six games, which included five wins, to now facing two straight defeats, there is growing pressure on Mohun Bagan SG and head coach Juan Ferrando.

The Mariners were touted as strong contenders for the League Shield based on their start to the season, but the recent results have affected their confidence while also raising plenty of questions. Add to that the injury to Brendan Hamill, who has been the glue holding their defence together. These are tough times for MBSG, and with a game against Kerala Blasters at home next, another defeat could make matters worse. Ferrando must find a way to stop the tide if they are to avoid slipping further down the ISL table.

Chance for Odisha FC to stake a claim for top spot

Odisha FC features twice in Matchweek 12 with a clash on the road against Punjab FC in New Delhi, followed by a home clash against Jamshedpur FC.

After winning just one of their first four matches, Odisha FC has turned things around under Sergio Lobera. They have been unbeaten in their previous six games and have registered two victories in the process. This is currently the longest unbeaten run in ISL history for the Kalinga Warriors.

Securing maximum points in their upcoming two fixtures will also put them in a strong position to dethrone FC Goa at the top of the standings in case the Gaurs lose to NorthEast United FC.

Neutralising Sadaoui threat key for NEUFC defence

As NorthEast United FC prepares to host FC Goa, they must find a way to keep Noah Sadaoui quiet.

Since his return from injury with more added responsibility to get into the box, Sadaoui has been the primary attacker for the Gaurs in recent games, starting ahead of Carlos Martinez, who looked like the first-choice striker for FC Goa early on in the season.

Sadaoui has netted four goals so far and, like last season, continues to be the team’s leading goalscorer. He has also attempted more shots than any other teammate, highlighting his threat upfront.

However, NorthEast United FC must stave off the service offered to Sadaoui, as seen in Kolkata against Mohun Bagan SG. The Moroccan is an expert maneuverer when running with the ball and is clinical in front of the goal. Fewer chances for Sadaoui could mean fewer threats for the Highlanders' defence, which has conceded in nine straight games so far.