Hero ISL 2022-23: What to look forward in Matchweek 12
Matchweek 11 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 saw its first 0-0 draw of the season while also not failing to bring the fans to their feet. The week did not see many goals being scored, as a total of nine goals were scored and four teams kept a clean sheet.
The end of Matchweek 11 saw the league reach its halfway point with the race for the top spot and the playoffs being tantalisngly close. Matchweek 12 will kickstart the second half of the season where all the top honours will be decided.
Jamshedpur FC and FC Goa begin Matchweek 12, while Bengaluru FC will play Hyderabad FC in another home fixture as they look to make progress in the standings against a tough opponent.
The table toppers, Mumbai City FC, welcome Chennaiyin FC on Saturday whereas NorthEast United FC will again attempt to get off the mark in the 2022-23 season when they take on ATK Mohun Bagan. Kerala Blasters FC will look to continue their impressive run of results in the league when they face Odisha FC at home in the penultimate fixture of Matchweek 12.
With matchweek 12 around the corner, here is a look at the key narratives to keep an eye on:
Can Jamshedpur FC lift themselves in second half of the season?
The first game of the matchweek takes us to the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur, where Aidy Boothroyd’s men welcome FC Goa and try to get a positive result after being at the wrong end for seven consecutive games. The Red Miners will look forward to playing in front of the home crowd, as they expect a packed stadium and full backing to gain all three points.
As for FC Goa, they will continue to make their mark in the league after performances where they seemed to be switched on and off at times. The Gaurs will look to gain consistency against an out of form opposition to make progress towards the top six, who sit sixth in the points table with 18 points in the bank.
The focus will be on Jamshedpur FC who turned it on in the second half of the season last year to win the League WInners' Shield. They would be hoping for a similar upturn in fortunes albeit for a different target.
Can Blues win back-to-back matches?
After having rested, Hyderabad FC travels to the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore aiming to regain the top spot, have a cushion going into the second half of the season, and secure a playoff berth.
Bengaluru FC, meanwhile, will have a lot of work to do if they want to come out with a positive result against a tough opposition. They seem to have found their groove and are looking to get back-to-back victories for the first time this season to gain momentum for the second half of the season and see themselves in the mix for the top six positions.
Battle of the top two scoring teams in Mumbai
The high-flying Mumbai City FC team welcomes the high-spirited Chennaiyin FC team to the Mumbai Football Arena. Two of the top scoring teams in the league will come up against each other in the Matchweek 12. The Islanders have scored 30 goals this season as compared to 20 by Chennaiyin FC. So when the two teams meet, goals will be guaranteed. The two teams played out a eight-goal affair in their last meeting that Mumbai City FC won 2-6.
The Islanders have always looked as the team to beat and Chennaiyin FC will try to keep the opposition quiet who have set all guns blazing throughout the season.
As the Islanders look to maintain their lead, the Marina Machans sit seventh in the points table and will aim for a playoff spot when the second half of the season begins, taking on the table-toppers in the first of two games on Saturday.
Will NorthEast United FC break the points hoodoo?
NorthEast United FC are yet to open their account in the new season, after 10 games, they sit at the bottom of the points table with zero points. They have brought in a new head coach who looks to make his mark and stay confident going into the second half of the season.
The Highlanders welcome a big name to the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in ATK Mohun Bagan, who themselves will aim to get all three points back home in the second game of Saturday’s double header.
ATK Mohun Bagan have always had a great outing against the Highlanders, with 12 victories against them, and it does not seem to be any different this weekend, where they will want to keep themselves in the hunt for a position in the top three of the table.
Odisha FC seek away from improvement in Kochi
There is nothing much to differentiate between the teams in terms of points in the standings, they will face each other in the final game of matchweek 12, where Kerala Blasters FC welcome Odisha FC to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Kerala Blasters FC are undefeated since the last six games in the league, and they will be up for it against the Juggernauts to continue the impressive run of games.
Odisha FC aim to improve their away form to keep going and make progress towards the top six. The Juggernauts have been caught off guard in recent games, so Josep Gombau will be looking for consistency from his players when they face an in-form Kerala Blasters FC team.
Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC both have 19 points from 10 games in the Hero ISL, with the home team gaining a slight edge over Monday’s opponents in terms of goal difference.