As many as 14 clubs have played in the Indian Super League (ISL) since its inception in 2014. Over the seasons, there have been many success stories in India’s premier football competition but who has been the best team in ISL?
Out of the active 11 teams in ISL 2020-21, only five of them have been a part of the league since the very beginning.
To figure out the best team in ISL, here’s all you need to know.
Most titles won in ISL
ATK (formerly Atletico de Kolkata) had dominated the Indian Super League right from the get-go. During the inaugural season of the competition, they defeated Kerala Blasters 1-0 in the final to be crowned as the first champions of ISL. Since then, ATK have gone on to win as many three ISL titles, making them the most successful team in the ISL.
With three-times champion ATK now rechristened as ATK Mohun Bagan, their record will now be a benchmark for others to surpass.
Like ATK, Chennaiyin FC, too, have stamped their authority right from the start. They finished the group stage of the first season on top, but bowed out of the tournament following a semi-final defeat against Kerala. The team, however, bounced back to win two ISL titles in three years (2015, 2017-18).
In its first six years of existence, only three teams have gotten their hands on the coveted title, with Bengaluru FC being the third side. Following their disappointment in the 2017-18 ISL final, the Blues bounced back to clinch the honour in the 2018-19 season.
|Most trophies won by an ISL club|
|Team||No. of ISL titles||Year|
|ATK||3||2014, 2016, 2019-20|
|Chennaiyin FC||2||2015, 2017-18|
Highest match-winning percentage by an ISL team
FC Goa may not have won a title far but the Gaurs have finished inside the top-four in five of the last six ISL campaigns showcasing the consistency of the team. They are, in fact, the first Indian football club to qualify for the AFC Champions League after having finished the 2019-20 ISL season on the top of the table. They did it by an impressive five-point margin.
It’s then no surprise that FC Goa have recorded the most number of match wins in the ISL (51) ahead of the 2020-21 season. In fact, the Gaurs have played the most number of games (108) in the league. This means they have won 47 per cent of all their matches and while that may be impressive, they come second in the list.
Bengaluru FC are on top having won 56 per cent of all their ISL matches but have played just 62 games. They came in the ISL only during the 2017-18 Indian Super League season.
|Mumbai City FC||100||38||38||24||38%|
|Kerala Blasters FC||102||29||38||35||28%|
|NorthEast United FC||98||27||42||29||28%|
Teams with most goals and best defence in ISL
Another measure of success is the amount of goals scored and conceded.
FC Goa have scored the most goals in the ISL, 205 in 108 matches, ahead of ISL 2020-21. They are, in fact, the only team so far to score over 200 ISL goals. Their goals-per-match ratio stands at an impressive 1.8, which is by far the most amongst any ISL team.
The other side of the pitch, however, has always been a trouble for the Gaurs. Over the years, they have let in 145 goals - the second-most number of goals that an ISL team has conceded.
Bengaluru FC, meanwhile, have the best defensive record in ISL. The Blues have conceded just 60 goals in 62 appearances while keeping 26 clean sheets; just three fewer than FC Goa.
The closest a team has come to FC Goa, in terms of goals scored, is Chennaiyin FC, who have netted 165, at a goals-per-match ratio of 1.5, and have conceded 156 goals.
|Teams||Goals scored||Goals-per-game||Goals conceded||Clean sheets|
|Mumbai City FC||123||1.2||141||34|
|Kerala Blasters FC||118||1.1||142||27|
|FC Pune City||97||1.2||110||19|
*Note: Stats from the 2020-21 ISL season haven't been considered
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe