Icelandic Yoga and the ISL’s Focus on Stability

The FIFA World Cup is in full swing. Are you watching? I’m trying to watch. The late-night matches don’t work for me. The rest I try. I saw Mexico beat Germany and what smashing football they played to do it too. Swashbuckling performance, I say laddie! Then, there was the mighty Vikings taking down Argentina.

While the world focused on how Messi missed his penalty vis-à-vis Ronaldo’s hat trick; I had an altogether different observation. My observation has led me to the conclusion that yoga must’ve originated in Iceland.

Why? Well, all their names end with ‘son’ –

  • Bjarnason (the aasan for having beer),
  • Halldorsson (Hodor’s aasan),
  • Gudmundsson (makes Mondays better),
  • Gunnarsson (helps relieve gas, flamethrower),
  • Boovarson (to be used with Gunnarsson, replace the ‘v’ with a ‘b’),
  • Finnbogasson (to be used with Boovarson and Gunnarsson for maximum effect),
  • Ingason (helps with constipation, keeps the gas in),
  • Saevarsson (to be done to parents),
  • Skulason (to be done in schools),
  • Hallfreosson (between classes, hall free ho, son?), and
  • My favourite Runarsson (cardio anyone?).

There was loads of VAR drama too but we’ll speak of that some other time. Right now, there’s a lot of ISL stuff to get through. Hold on to your hats, folks. Here we go.

ATK’s Silly Season Onslaught Continues

To start with, let’s have a moment’s silence for the death of sensibility. India has joined the global footballing ranks in having the silly season as an intrinsic part of every year. I’m talking about the transfer season and the nonsense transfer stories, of course. ATK was linked with “deep” discussions with Bastian Schweinsteiger, formerly the bastion of German midfield, only for the club to deny it completely.

The story stinks of denial and sour grapes. You can tell that some regional journalist got whiff of discussions from a club official but since the discussions didn’t go in favour of the club, the club decided to trash the news.

Tsk tsk. Jilted lover et all.

ATK, though, is having a tremendous silly season. They’ve now roped in Steve Coppell who was with Jamshedpur FC last season. I think this is an astute appointment. The ATK defence was all over the place last season (they shipped 30 goals, 2nd worst in the league) and Coppell is a defence-first coach.

It may not be fun for the fans and neutrals to see a defensive minded team but it makes sense from the tactics point of view. After all, your defence has to be the foundation of your team. Jamshedpur FC under the stewardship of Coppell was particularly good defensively last season. So, the appointment of Coppell by the ATK top brass has to be seen as their bid for more stability.

Cuadrat Is Bengaluru FC’s Stability

Carles Cuadrat will be the manager of Bengaluru FC for the upcoming season. Most of you know that Albert Roca had decided to step down citing a need to be closer to his family.

The reason why I see the appointment of Cuadrat as Bengaluru FC’s bid for stability is that he was Roca’s assistant till December last year. In fact, he probably would’ve been around longer if it weren’t for some health concerns. This appointment isn’t a game-changer folks; it’s just the continuation of the existing regimen.

Lenny Rodriguez to FC Goa from Bengaluru FC

FC Goa fans can celebrate as one of their most popular football products is coming back home. Lenny Rodriguez has been acquired by the Gaurs from Bengaluru FC for what is a very well-thought-out signing, in my opinion.

Lenny is a very smart player. He’s a winger/midfielder whose main strength is his intelligence on the pitch. This intelligence shows in his reading of the game. For example, Rodriguez had the second most interceptions for Bengaluru FC which is a very good return for a midfielder. Overall, Lenny made around 5.5 defensive contributions per game and even pitched in with a goal and an assist.

FC Goa has a tendency to play a possession-based game. They also don’t tackle a lot on the pitch, despite the fact that they press significantly. This means that the prime defensive strategy of the Gaurs is to force turnovers or intercept passes. Lenny will be a good asset in that regard.

Narayan Das to Delhi Dynamos from FC Goa

Most ISL franchises, it seems, have been focusing on Indians when it comes to populating their defence. It makes sense in a way because defensive duties are simpler than attacking where creativity is a major requisite. Delhi Dynamos FC, however, have a different strategy.

They just get youngsters and players with potentials to populate their teams. It is the cheaper option, no doubt, but is it the winning option? Their best season came when Marcelinho became a breakout star from their ranks, although they’d qualified for playoffs in the preceding season as well.. In all other seasons, they’ve just been okay.

As a part of their strategy, the Dynamos have signed up the hugely talented Narayan Das from FC Goa. They now have India’s two primary full-backs since they already boasted of Pritam Kotal. Das, of short stature, is your classic marauding left-back. He does his primary job well and also has the capacity to support attacks.

Das started the ISL very well but has been less than impressive in the last two seasons. In the first two instalments of ISL, he boasted of +10 defensive contributions per game. That number has dropped significantly down to +6.5 in the last two seasons.

I have a feeling this is because of the way he has been used. In the first two seasons, Zico managed to get the best out of him but subsequent coaches have been unable to tap into his huge potential. Perhaps, Dynamos’ coaching staff will have better luck?

A Little Request

This request is of a personal nature. I get that I haven’t been regular with this blog and have had to recapture your attention multiple times but if there’s one thing all writers need is feedback. Every time one of you has commented on a post, it has been a great motivation.

As you may know already, this blog is a labour of love. You can help reduce that labour and make it fun for everyone by commenting on some posts. Heck, even liking or sharing these articles on platforms like Facebook and Twitter would be a huge boost.

So, what do you say?


  1. Seeing the performance of small nations in the world cup really boost the chances of one of them to win it. the last night match was great, But how hard I try I can’t forget Iran vs Spain match, I mean Iran shows why they are best in the Asian region. Unfortunately even creating the most chances to goal they couldn’t convert them.

    • They played their heart out in that game. I could only watch the highlights since the match time was so off my schedule. Iran have a good chance of getting through the groups, same as the Japs. Saudi Arabia were a disappointment for me though.

      Smaller nations have really shown up the supposedly great teams this world cup. I think that will be the theme this year. It is quite crazy if you see the results and we’re not even through the groups yet.

      Did you get see the Mex-Ger game? Mexicans were really something in that and made the Germans look like chumps. They’re worth a watch too.

      BTW, thanks for responding to the request for comments. Writing this blog would be so much more satisfying if I could shoot some ideas off you guys.

  2. Mexican performance by far outweigh the german defence.Guy who impress me was Carlos Vela who really set the pace for Mexican team.That match was a slap on football pundits.Even Croatia throw Argentina on a verge of getting disqualified from the game.Its shows that big stars,how much better they are doesn’t guarantee a win.

    Brazil is also looking in a good form,Thanks to TITE he built a team that doesn’t rely on Neymar all along, They should really start with firmino or Douglas Costa next time.

    Finger cross for Portugal, Who knows Ronaldo could do something that Messi couldn’t.But If you agree with Mourinho, Portugal is winning this year (lol).

    • Vela had another great performance against Korea. Mexico are quickly becoming one of my favourites this year with their high intensity attacks and composed defence. Iceland’s loss means Argentina have a good chance to qualify but they still need to get that win. Traditionally, though, Argentina has always been a slow starter in World Cups.

      Football’s a team game and no single player can carry a team on his back. Messi is so great because Barca was built around his skillset; Argentina not so much with Suarez and Aguero both demanding attention and the team trying to cater to all three instead of just one or two. With Brazil, I don’t feel they have that air of invincibility any more. Plus I don’t rate Neymar as highly as many do.

      Portugal are not winning this year. They may go deep as in QF or even SF, but they won’t win it. Also, Moaninho can go find another sugar daddy for all I care about his opinion.

  3. Well, This is a high time for Argentina to redeem all the error they did and win with a big margin.

    Germany last match win was satisfactory, thanks to reus and last minute kroos game changing goal, though sweden did well ,at least they get Jerome Boateng a red.Hope Germans will get their rythm now.

    Though i am not sure what are the chances of France, looks good on paper with young team and star players, only Didier Deschamps can answer that.

    Back to ISL, after the end of ATM-ATK duo, ATK or whatever they wanna call themselves have thin chances of winning ISL2018, Hope Steve Coppell could do some magic.
    Meanwhile East Bengal has started looking for a sponsors to get an entry into Isl.

    • That’s putting it mildly. Its Do or Die for Argentina. Germany themselves aren’t lighting up the world with tepid performances. Did you note Ozil being left on the bench? Even France are playing within themselves right now. They have a young team and they have a tendency to implode. They’re traditionally my favourites by the way but I don’t think they’ll win it.

      As for ATK, they have made some very good players now and Coppell is a decent manager. I think they’ll have a good season now.

      No one’s getting into the ISL this season. New teams will only be inducted in 2019. EB and MB’s “we’re too special” attitude from last season means they miss out on the riches this season again.

      Frankly, when clubs start acting like divas, I have a problem. Let them suffer till they start acting like clubs with the massive history that they have i.e. with class.

  4. I must say this world cup is going to be a memorable one, Last minute goals by teams really make the matches unpredictable, Asian teams have performed well, their goalkeepers for sure Saeid Ezatolahi and Cho Hyun-woo, big days for both of them. At last Germany deserved to be out, They have taken things for granted, Its a good lesson for others.

    Last brazil match was a quite a good one, Maybe this time Neymar knew that he had a team instead of a one men show. Though I don’t wanna imagine what had happened to MARADONA if Argentina loses the match

    • It already is a memorable one! Germany out. Argentina out. Spain out. Who does that leave? France and Brazil will probably make it to the semis. Although, Brazil will be under threat from Mexico. Should be a good one. And, in the bottom half? England! Can you believe that. The setting is perfect for England to take this cup. If they don’t choke. They probably will.


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