Now that the dust has finally settled down following Chennaiyin FC’s surprise win over Bengaluru in the final of ISL 4, it’s time to dissect the recently-concluded season.
When it comes to football, no discussion gets over without an attempt to pick the best XI. So, here’s our Best XI for ISL 2017-18:
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
Sandhu returned to India in 2017 after spending three years with top-division Norway club Stabaek. He is currently the best keeper in the country, and it was an easy decision to pick him in the best XI. He picked up seven clean sheets, joint-best with three other keepers in the tournament.
Defender: Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters)
Jhingan was made the captain of Blasters before the start of the tournament. He had come with the tag of highest-earning Indian defender. The 24-year-old aptly shouldered the responsibility and proved to be one of the best players for his side.
Defender: Mailson Alves (Chennaiyin FC)
Chennaiyin FC’s success was built on a solid defence this season, and a lot of credit goes to Alves. He not only formed a highly effective partnership with Henrique Sereno at the back but also contributed with crucial goals. His brace helped his side defeat Bengaluru FC in the final of the tournament.
Defender: Lucian Goian (Mumbai)
The Romanian was crucial for his side as they topped the group table lasts season, and he started this season in a similar vein. He registered a high number of tackles and interceptions this season too, but he got very little help from his teammates as Mumbai finished in a dismal seventh spot.
Defender: Lalruatthara (Kerala Blasters)
He was arguably the find of the season, as he impressed everyone with his performances on the left flank. The 23-year-old left-back from Mizoram was adjudged Emerging Player of the League for his performances.
Midfield: Manuel Lanzarote (FC Goa)
FC Goa were the best-attacking side this season, and the Spaniard left-winger had a huge role their attacking prowess. The coastal side scored 42 goals in the group stage, and Lanzarote contributed with 12 of those from the left wing.
Midfield: Dhanpal Ganesh (Chennaiyin FC)
Ganesh might not be as flashy as his teammate Augusto, but his solid presence in Chennaiyin’s midfield was instrumental in their title win. The 23-year-old defensive midfielder didn’t feature in a single game during 2015 and 2016 seasons. However, he is now expecting a recall from the national team.
Midfield: Wellington Priori (Jamshedpur FC)
Priori was another defensive-minded central midfielder who earned a name for himself this season. He was signed in January by his side, but his performances in the second half of the season made it evidently clear that his early arrival could have helped them to a top-four spot.
Forward: Sunil Chettri (Bengaluru FC)
The Indian captain led his side by an example in their debut season in ISL. He scored 14 goals during the tournament including a goal in the 3-2 defeat to Chennaiyin in the final.
Forward: Coro (FC Goa)
The Spaniard striker won the Golden Boot award for his 18 goals in the tournament. He was also the only player to score two hat-tricks this season: an automatic selection for our best XI.
Forward: Miku (Bengaluru FC)
The Colombian striker was the second-highest scorer this season with 15 goals. He formed a deadly partnership with Chettri, and the duo was responsible for the majority of their side’s goals this season.