Top wingers from the first half of the Hero ISL 2018-19 season
As the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) returns to action on January 25, the focus will once again be on the wingers to impress fans with their silky feet. Crucial to a team’s attack as well as defence, these wide men have come a long way from merely being a provider of crosses and corners.
Amongst such a plethora, we try and gauge the best performing wingers from the first half of the campaign.
1. Arnold Issoko (Mumbai City FC)
The #BENMUM Hero of the Match, Arnold Issoko was a dominant force for @MumbaiCityFC and kept the solid @bengalurufc defence on their toes with his brilliant crosses while also bagging an assist. #HeroISL #LetsFootball #FanBannaPadega pic.twitter.com/BT3OAP67wn— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) December 9, 2018
Traditionally a right-back, the Congolese is more comfortable playing as a winger where he can use his attributes to terrify opposition defences. Strong, quick and clever, the 26-year-old has formed a telepathic understanding with team-mate Modou Sougou in the attack, while also being aware of his defensive responsibilities. The Mumbai no.7 has two goals and five assists from 11 matches alongside six interceptions and eight clearances in his own half.
2. Udanta Singh (Bengaluru FC)
A mainstay in Carles Cuadrat’s Bengaluru side, Udanta slowly increased his output towards the end of the first half of the Hero ISL season. Operating primarily from the right of Bengaluru’s attack, the 22-year-old Manipur-born scored three and assisted one in 936 minutes on the pitch. The diminutive winger’s strong understanding with captain Sunil Chhetri was also a recurring theme of Bengaluru’s play in an unbeaten first part of the campaign. After an impressive outing for India against Thailand in the AFC Asian Cup, Udanta will be hoping to build on his form and take Bengaluru to new heights when the season resumes.
3. Thoi Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
The defending champions have largely underwhelmed in both defence and attack so far this season, and perhaps deservedly sit at the bottom of the league. Having said that, a few promising individuals have tried their best to claw the side back to its former glory. One such player is 28-year-old winger Thoi Singh. Lively on and off the ball, Thoi has stepped up to the plate by contributing directly to 38 per cent of his team’s goals so far this term. The winger is also Chennaiyin’s leading goal-scorer in the league.
4. Lallianzuala Chhangte (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Like Thoi, Delhi Dynamos FC’s Lallianzuala Chhangte has been unlucky to be part of a team that hasn’t kicked-on and performed like he has in the league so far. Sitting second from bottom, the capital club has won a solitary game thus far while scoring only 13 goals in the process. Nonetheless, the 21-year-old Chhangte has scored four and assisted one in 12 matches, thus being the only shining light in an otherwise dull strike force. Owing to his impressive performances, Chhangte will now undergo a trail with Norwegian club Viking FK.
5. Carlos Calvo (Jamshedpur FC)
Having arrived in the Hero ISL only a few months back, the 33-year-old Calvo has hardly taken any time to settle, scoring two and assisting a joint league-high five goals already this term. Some 482 passes, 17 shots and 42 crosses during the same period further establishes the Spaniard’s reputation as one of the most important players in Cesar Ferrando’s team.
6. Michael Soosairaj (Jamshedpur FC)
Only 24, Soosairaj seems to be enjoying what has been a breakthrough season for the sleek winger. Possessing tremendous pace alongside fantastic dribbling ability, the Tamil Nadu-born player has created innumerable chances while finding the back of the net three times himself. Having returned to full fitness after a lengthy injury spell, Soosairaj will be etching to make a real difference in Jamshedpur’s search for a playoff place.