Year in review 2021, Kerala Blasters FC: A sweet end to a painful year

Kerala Blasters FC have always been the club that has attracted the most eyeballs in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) thanks to their passionate fanbase but the club in recent seasons had failed to meet their demands. After reaching two finals in the first three editions of the Hero ISL, the Blasters have failed to reach the top four even once.

For most part of 2021, the Blasters resembled a team in the latter half of their Hero ISL journey so far – a team devoid of consistency who only performed well in patches and came up short when it mattered the most.

However, come the end of 2021, the Blasters came to the party.

Kerala Blasters FC’s numbers in 2021: Pl: 21, W:5, D:9, L:7, Win%: 23.8

The Kochi outfit started the year well with two wins in January but had to wait till December to register their next victory in the Hero ISL that came against Odisha FC. Since then Ivan Vulkomanovic’s team have picked up and find themselves in the race for the semi-finals.

Kerala Blasters FC have ended 2021 on a seven-match unbeaten run that has seen them rise to fifth spot in the Hero ISL table. With semi-final hopes boosted, there is big optimism around the Blasters yet again. As for 2021, it was a painful year but all’s well that ends well.

The high

The Blasters had more lows than highs in 2021, but nothing got the fans excited that seeing their favourite Sahal Abdul Samad finally deliver on his promise. The young Indian attacking midfielder was tipped as the next big thing in Indian football but somehow didn’t manage to live up to the billing. But with four goals in the Hero ISL this season, Sahal who is a darling to the Kerala Blasters faithful gave them moments to cherish.

The low

Kerala Blasters FC’s hopes of rescuing anything from the season were dashed when they were beaten 4-0 by Hyderabad FC, a team that seemed in a much stronger position to reach the semi-finals than the Blasters despite joining the league just a year earlier. No wins from January to December would have hurt the Blasters faithful.

Best player

Sahal would be the favourite pick for this honour, but none has been more instrumental in the Blasters’ resurgence in late 2021 than Adrian Luna. The Uruguayan has three assists to his name this season but his impact goes far beyond the numbers. He is the player that makes the Blasters tick and is the most important cog in their wheel.

What to expect in 2022?

Kerala Blasters FC fans would do well to not get too far ahead of themselves after a recent good run of form and keep the expectations tempered. The Blasters players could do with a little less pressure as the current squad has the potential to thrive and match or even better the club’s campaigns in 2014 and 2016. Nonetheless, all signs point to a bright future for the Blasters.

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