The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is back with the 2022-23 season and this time, it comes with a different and a brand new playoff format, weekend-centric matchweeks, and games which will see fans returning back as the 12th fan for their respective teams.

With an increased fervour for the Hero ISL, the fixtures in January 2023 will witness some very interesting contests on the pitch as plenty of new head coaches will have had their mark on their teams.

Also Read: Hero ISL 2022-23 key fixtures, October 2022: A month of rivalries and heavyweight clashes

From an old rivalry in Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC, to a new philosophical bout in FC Goa vs East Bengal FC, things are about to get spicier in the month of January.

As we look ahead to the new season, let’s take a glance at some of the key fixtures from January 2023.

Odisha FC vs Mumbai City FC (Monday, 02 January 2023, Bhubaneshwar)

Odisha FC and Mumbai City FC have had their fair share of contests in the last four years where both sides have pipped the other one time and again.

Odisha FC’s 4-2 win over the Islanders in the first half of last season derailed their title ambitions as the former Hero ISL champions couldn’t recover from that setback.

The two sides have met each other eight times, with Mumbai City FC holding the edge over Odisha FC with five wins while the Kalinga Warriors have tasted victory on three occasions.

None of their encounters have ended in draws and each game has witnessed two or more than two goals, so expect a gripping game between these two teams.

With Gombau’s playing style a tad bit similar to Mumbai City FC manager Sergio Lobera, the Bhubaneshwar-based side have the capability to outperform the Islanders.

Jamshedpur FC vs Chennaiyin FC (Saturday, January 7, 2023, Jamshedpur)

The reigning Hero ISL League Shield Winners, embodying a fresh side under new head coach Aidy Boothroyd, will face a vibrant Chennaiyin FC side under another new head coach in Thomas Brdaric.

This fixture will brew an English vs German rivalry as the two head coaches respectively come from these two countries with their unique identity.

Brdaric will be expected to bring back the Marina Machans’ champion mentality as the two-time Hero ISL champions will have the backing of their supporters while Jamshedpur FC will need the support of their Red Miners at the Furnace as they look to register a second win against Chennaiyin FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.

In ten meetings between the two teams, Chennaiyin FC have won on four occasions while Jamshedpur FC have won thrice, with the remaining three matches ending in draws.

A bit of a rivalry has been brewing between the two clubs with a lot of players moving from one of these clubs to the other. Jamshedpur FC also appointed former head coach Owen Coyle who began his Hero ISL journey with Chennaiyin FC.

Hyderabad FC vs Chennaiyin FC (Thursday, January 12 2023, Hyderabad)

There will be a unique battle between these two teams as their respective coaches come with a peculiar style of football.

Manuel Marquez, who commanded Hyderabad FC’s rise to the top, is known for his attacking style through the flanks along with a high defensive line and constant pressing.

Thomas Brdaric, on the contrary, is known for his possession-oriented playing style and loves to maximise attack with the help of his midfielders.

With not much to separate the two sides, Chennaiyin FC have won three of their six encounters while Hyderabad FC have won two, with the remaining one encounter ending in a draw.

There’s no scarcity of goals between these two sides as a total of 17 goals have been scored amongst both across six matches. Although it will be the same Marquez-side, it will be a tricky fixture for Hyderabad FC as they face a renewed Chennaiyin FC side.

Mumbai City FC vs NorthEast United FC (Thursday, 19 January, 2023, Mumbai)

Although the Islanders have an upper hand over the Highlanders with seven wins, the former Hero ISL champions have been winless against NorthEast United FC in their last five outings, and will be longing to get back to winning ways against the side from Guwahati.

With NorthEast United FC supporters known for having one of the strongest away game presence, the pressure will be on the Des Buckingham side to deliver.

Having Marco Balbul as the new manager at the helm, the Highlanders have added rich options in the attack that will meet another prolific attacking side in the Islanders.  

This fixture has witnessed 41 goals across 16 matches with no goalless draws, so this game will surely pump up the atmosphere in the stadium with a lot of expectations from both the sides.

FC Goa vs Kerala Blasters FC (Sunday, 22 January, 2023, Goa)

One of the highest goalscoring fixtures in the Hero ISL with 63 goals in 16 matches, the contest between these two teams never disappoints and is highly anticipated by both sets of fans.

A fascinating feat for FC Goa in this fixture is that the Goan side have not lost to the Blasters in their last 10 encounters, with their last defeat coming way back in the 2016 season where the Tuskers did a double over the Gaurs.

The last outing between these two teams in the penultimate game of last season ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw which witnessed both teams showing their might in each of the halves as the game bore an intense look right from the beginning.

With fans back in the stands, both sides will hugely benefit from the cracking atmosphere in the stadium and play their top game when it matters the most.

FC Goa vs East Bengal FC (Thursday, 26 January, 2023, Goa)

A relatively new fixture, the two sides have always fought tooth and nail, with both teams winning one game each while the rest of the two games ended in draws.

What’s interesting to note is that the Red and Gold Brigade’s only win in the previous season came in this fixture, so the next meeting between these two teams would serve as a cracking match to decide who comes out on top.

Both FC Goa and East Bengal have hired new managers in Carlos Pena and Stephen Constantine respectively and both have a distinct style of football, so it will be engrossing to see how they set up their team as the two managers will play against each other for the very first time.

With fans of both sides in large numbers, it will be a game that will not only see the two sides fight each other but will witness that will be greatly involved.

Bengaluru FC vs Chennaiyin FC (Saturday, 28 January 2023, Bengaluru)

A fixture that gets the fans going frenzy as the two teams from south are eerily similar when it comes to toppling their rival in this contest that always delivers a magnificent spectacle.

While Bengaluru FC have been the better side among these two with six wins out of 11, Chennaiyin FC have trumped the Blues in the Hero ISL 2017-18 final which till date remains as one of bittersweet memories for Bengaluru FC.

Things might take a swing this time around as both sides have new managers for the upcoming season, with no clear winner as both sides will look to nitpick the other one and require the support of their fans.