Passes are a key ingredient for a possession-based game. A possession-based style demands players that are comfortable on the ball that can play through the opponents. Some head coaches like their teams to play this way as they can dominate and peg back the opposition with a passing approach while creating chances that could lead to goal-scoring opportunities.

However, keeping hold and passing the ball always doesn't guarantee success. Lapses in defence or even the inability to convert chances during crucial moments can cost teams. In the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, some teams managed to translate their possession-based approach and effective passing into success, most notably Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, winners of the League Shield and the Hero ISL title respectively. 

With that, we take a look at the teams that racked up the most amount of successful passes in the season gone by.

1. Mumbai City FC

No prizes for guessing. Sitting top of the list are Des Buckingham’s Mumbai City FC side, who have blown away teams with their progressive and free-flowing style. They registered a staggering 9047 passes across 22 games, almost 1000 more than second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan. They have also scored a record-breaking tally of 53 goals besides registering the most amount of chances and touches.

Their biggest strength has been their array of attacking talent besides a strong midfield consisting of Greg Stewart, Lalengmawia Ralte and Ahmed Jahouh. Their defenders also have a major role to play when building up of the back. Three out of their top five players with the most successful passes are defenders - Mehtab Singh, Rostyn Griffiths and Rahul Bheke. Mehtab and Jahouh are among two of the three players to have completed over a 1000 successful passes.

Staying true to their style, the Islanders shattered many records along the season while clinching the League Shield for the second time in history.

2. ATK Mohun Bagan

Placed second on the list are ATK Mohun Bagan, who have tallied 7990 passes in 24 games. The Mariners have not been able to score a truckload of goals this season, amassing just 28 goals in 24 games. Prior to that, they netted 39 and 33 goals during the 2021-22 and 2020-21 season respectively.

However, they have been one of the most dangerous ball-playing sides this season, ranking second for chances created overall this campaign. Their dominance with the ball has also led to less opportunities for the opposition with ATKMB keeping joint-high tally of 12 clean sheets. A season of highs and lows eventually saw them winning the Hero ISL title for the first time.

3. FC Goa 

Lauded for their attacking prowess and their ability to build play effectively from the back, FC Goa rank third, with 7459 passes in 20 games. With new head coach Carlos Pena taking over the reins during the 2022-23 season, the Gaurs adopted a pragmatic approach, staying true to their possession-favoured style while also posing a threat during counter attack.

Anwar Ali and Edu Bedia were two influential players to their style, with the former ranking first for the most number of successful passes (1080) among players during the season. FC Goa finished the season with 36 goals in 20 games, joint-par with Chennaiyin FC and Hyderabad FC, with only Mumbai City FC bettering their tally.

4. Kerala Blasters FC 

Kerala Blasters FC recorded 7044 passes in 21 games and were among the four sides during the Hero ISL 2022-23 season to breach the 7000-mark for successful passes. In Adrian Luna, Sahal Abdul Samad and Jeakson Singh, they possess some of the best on-the-ball midfielders who can keep the play ticking.

They created moments of magic on the pitch but their defence let them down, more often than not. Kerala Blasters FC ended the league phase with a goal difference of zero, having netted and conceded as many goals. However, the Blasters qualified for the Hero ISL playoffs for the first time in back-to-back seasons.

5. Hyderabad FC 

During his time at Hyderabad FC, Manolo Marquez has transformed his team into a well drilled and tough-to-beat unit that is equally effective in build ups and counter attacks. They rank fifth in this list, with a tally of 6123 passes in 22 games. Their back four of Nikhil Poojary, Odei Onaindia, Chinglensana Singh and Akash Mishra are their most successful passers of the ball, with the quartet accounting for 2271 successful passes.

One of the sides renowned for playing out from the back, Hyderabad FC have been effective at both ends of the pitch. They scored the second-highest number of goals this season (36), joint-par with FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC while boasting a league-high tally of 12 clean sheets, alongside ATK Mohun Bagan.