Sunil Chhetri And Robin Singh Join ISL: Is The Excitement Deserved?

From what I can see, the world of Indian Super League is abuzz with two pieces of news right now. The first is the signing of 84 players between 8 teams (41 retained and 23 acquired) and the other is the potential of seeing the Indian football ‘gods’ – Sunil Chhetri and Robin Singh.

Sunil Chhetri & Robin Singh - the Warrior and the Rogue

Sunil Chhetri & Robin Singh – the Warrior and the Rogue

No, I will not be delving into which players have been  retained, which acquired, and how this team or that team is doing so well (you guys have fed enough on that cake and are now decadent Middle Eastern cake princes). However, after seeing fully grown boys and manly men swooning over Chhetri and Singh like they are Kama Sutra Queens, I’ve decided to delve a little deeper into the honeypot.

In case some of you are precognitive and have picked up on my leanings towards honey and bees today, I apologise. I recently had to take out a colony of wasps and my mind is buzzing with their screams of agony. So, bear with me as I exorcise my B’s and C’s by crossing some T’s and E’s.

Note: All bee jokes will bee accompanied by infamous (Buzzzzzinga!) from now on to ensure that you subliminally dream of bees tonight and develop a fondness for them (If all of you dream of Sheldon instead, I will not be held responsible but will be very much amused). The aim is to make you more concerned about how important bees are to the environment while you’re talking to people at socially sanctioned parties. (Issued in public interest by ‘Beelieve in Buzzzzzinga Non-Profit Organisation of Social Change at Parties)

Sunil Chhetri – The Busy-Bee

Let’s get the vital statistics out of the way. No, I won’t bee (Buzzzzzinga!) giving you a low down on Sunil Chhetri’s figure. We don’t want that kind of thing on this blog. Beesides (Buzzzzzinga!), not like the Indian girls watch much of football anyways. When I say vital statistics, I mean things like height and foot preference.

Sunil Chhetri is about 5’ 7’’ and prefers to use his right foot. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that he can’t head much, though. He has stung (Buzzzzzinga!) many teams by leaping above their defenders and scoring some great goals with his antennae.

You see, Sunil Chhetri has a huge leap on him. When in the right position, he can really take off of the ground. He has scored over some 6’ tall defenders as well in his career. So, you can expect Sunil Chhetri to score a few with his head in the upcoming edition of the Indian Super League.

Notably, he doesn’t only have the leap to reach the ball in the air but also good control to put it away. This means that he can often guide the ball from difficult situations into the net with his head. We didn’t see many goals of that kind in the last instalment of the Indian Super League.

This, according to me, was largely beecause (Buzzzzzinga!) defenders had more experience and pedigree than strikers in the last edition. I expect this trend to continue so, while Sunil Chhetri may score some headers, he’s not going to bee all that prolific.

Similar to Sunil Chhetri’s relatively short height being deceptive like the Venus flytrap (bee trap, beat rap, beer tap – take your pick) (Buzzzzzinga!) (Buzzzzzinga!) (Buzzzzzinga!), his preferred foot is also confusing for defenders. While he prefers to use his right foot, when the gameplay demands it, he can use his left to great effect too.

In fact, I will go on to say that his control over his wrong foot is slightly better than how effective most players’ wrong foot is. What all this means is that Sunil Chhetri has the potential to give us all the perfect hat trick i.e. left foot, right foot, and header.

Sunil Chhetri - On your marks

Sunil Chhetri – On your mark

Decent header of the ball and fair control with the wrong foot are just characteristics of Sunil Chhetri. They aren’t really his strength. His greatest strengths are his movement off the ball, his lightning pace, and his composure when on the ball.

Sunil Chhetri is an intelligent striker. He knows how to make the right runs and position himself. He also has the natural instinct of a striker which allows him to bee in the right honeycomb cell (Buzzzzzinga!) at the right time to receive the ball.

You combine these qualities with his lightning pace and you have a deadly combination. While pace, movement, and positioning are a striker’s best friends, they are not so good as to bring in goals. You need to network with finishing for that.

Just ask Jeje Lalpekhlua and Durga Boro what happened last season. They constantly got into promising positions but couldn’t finish the chance. If they’ve not been practicing their finishing this year, then I’m afraid they might bee stagnating and unlike honey in a pot, their talents won’t survive thousands of years.

Fortunately, Sunil Chhetri doesn’t suffer from this mar-malaise (Buzzzzzinga!). Sunil Chhetri has the composure required to finish chances off. Usually, if he gets into a decent position, he does a good job of putting the chance away. This, according to me, is why Sunil Chhetri is exciting all the fans.

Finally, Sunil Chhetri also looks like a good lad along with being a skilled player. He displays good sportsmanship. Consider what he did at 5:20 in the above video. He stole the ball from the United FC defender and scored but before he even celebrated he went and commiserated with the defender.

Interesting info: Sunil Chhetri’s mother played for the Nepal national football team. Talk about genes. The queen bee bred a footballer bee, eh?

Recommendation: I would like to see Sunil Chhetri with either Atletico De Kolkata or Chennaiyin FC. If he was any younger than 30, I would’ve said that he should go to FC Goa because Zico is the best coach in the league when it comes to developing players.

Robin Singh – The Worker Bee

Robeen Singh (I believe that’s how many people in Kolkata will pronounce his name, yes?) is five years younger than Sunil Chhetri at 25 years which means that he may develop a little more.

While Robeen Singh is not at the same level as Fernando Llorente (certainly not at the same level!), his style of play isn’t that different. At 6’ 1’’, he is a strong, burly lad, who brings a lot of physicality onto the pitch. He can bee a great target man for the club that gets him in the end.

One Step for Robin Singh... leap in weight for teammate

One Step for Robin Singh… leap in weight for teammate

While he may be able to hold the ball up fairly well, he hasn’t developed his interplay as much as he should have. There’s still time though in his career. It may even bee that his experience in the Indian Super League will help him progress.

Robeen Singh does have a very good shot on him. He is a player with a powerhouse of a left foot. When he hits a shot it stays hit whether on target or not. His shots can also be deceptive for keepers because he tends to have a quick, short back lift but still generates a lot of power in his shots. (Those of you swooning over this one: that was shots not shorts.)

At the same time, the problem with Robeen Singh is that he doesn’t hit the target all that often. He doesn’t even get into great positions all that often. This is the main reason why Robeen Singh’s strike rate isn’t very good.

He scored 10 goals in 42 for his first club East Bengal and that was in three seasons. In fact, there has been no improvement in his strike rate either because he scored 10 in 39 games for his last club Bengaluru FC. The only difference was that he took one season less to score those.

Interesting info: With Bengaluru FC, Robeen Singh has developed a tendency to get carded. In his first season with Bengaluru FC, Robeen Singh was yellow carded no less than 5 times in 23 appearances. In his last season, that number went up to 6 times in 16 games and he also managed to draw a red card out of the deck.

Recommendation: Because of his age, I want to see Robeen Singh playing under Zico. Failing that, I would like to see him receiving coaching from international level manager because it seems like he has untapped talent.

What’s The Verdict?

There’s a reason why these two players are considered to be two of the best in Indian football. If I was to sum them up I would say that Sunil Chhetri buzzes (Buzzzzzinga!) around defenders with intelligence and finishes chances with composure while Robeen Singh is a beeast (Buzzzzzinga!) of a striker who relies on his strength and power to get the right results.

I believe I have the bees (Buzzzzzinga!) out of my system now. One last conjecture: what would happen if all of us were bees (Buzzzzzinga!)? Well, for one, the environment would be fixed. However, the asthmatics would literally turn into super villains if that were to happen.

Most interestingly, if we were all bees (Buzzzzzinga!), Per Mertesacker wouldn’t know how to defend because his equipment will be blocked off by the stinger (one last time! All together now! Buzzzzzinga!).

I leave you with proof of my conjecture.