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?