ISL 2020-21: Strength, weakness, key players and what to expect from each team

The 2020-21 ISL season begins on November 20, with Kerala Blasters taking on ATK Mohun Bagan in the opening game. SPORTZPICS /ISL

Ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season, we look at the key factors that could make the difference for each of the 11 teams in the league. We pick out six aspects - the coach, one player to watch out, the team's biggest strength, the one nagging worry that could hold them back this season, what to watch out for from them, and their most exciting new signing.

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(Note: The teams appear in the order they finished the league stage last season.)

FC Goa

Coach (NEW): Juan Ferrando. Believes in the Goa philosophy, but with a dash of pragmatism.

Player: Edu Bedia. If the playmaker clicks, the whole plan falls into place perfectly.

Strength: Belief in core philosophy -- attack, belief in youth, some more attack.

Worry: A brand new team, a brand new coach. Too many changes, too fast?

W2W4: An exciting rebuild, and all the risk that comes with it.

Signing: Ishan Pandita. Is he 'all that'?

- Goa and Leipzig's 'strategic partnership': All you need to know

- Ishan Pandita ready to show Goa, ISL what the fuss is about

ATK Mohun Bagan

Coach: Antonio Habas. Two-time league winner, popular in dressing room, tactically astute - what's not to like?

Player: Roy Krishna. Wasn't last season evidence enough?

Strength: Balance, depth, and variety. Their squad has it all.

Worry: Their football can get a bit too one-dimensional at times.

W2W4: A solid league-stage challenge. They'll be wanting the Champions League spot this time.

Signing: Sandesh Jhingan. What's an ISL season without that beard crunching into a tackle?

- From Krishna to Le Fondre: Why A-League's A-listers are moving to ISL

- Jhingan and Habas a match made in heaven for ATK Mohun Bagan

Bengaluru FC

Coach: Carles Cuadrat. Drills a mean defence, needs to prove he can do the same up top.

Player: Then, and now, Sunil Chhetri. The best Indian footballer, simple as.

Strength: A fortress of a defensive unit that was the best in the league last season.

Worry: A misfiring attacking unit that was the third worst (!) in the league last season.

W2W4: A Sunil Chhetri with a chip on his shoulder is the best kind of Sunil Chhetri.

Signing: Kristian Opseth. Can he bring the goals?

- ISL 2020-21: Countdown begins for a season like no other

- From sliding in mud to towering headers: Chhetri's 15 best moments for India

Chennaiyin FC

Coach (NEW): Csaba Laszlo. Well-travelled, adaptable, but yet to win silverware in a 16-year career as manager.

Player: Anirudh Thapa. When the midfielder plays well, Chennaiyin play well. Arguably India's best in his position.

Strength: The core of last season's thrilling side remains intact. More or less.

Worry: Has Owen Coyle taken away with him what Owen Coyle giveth?

W2W4: Rafael Crivallero doing Rafael Crivallero things.

Signing: Jakub Sylvestr. They need a new talismanic striker, will he be the one?

- Chennaiyin FC name Csaba Laszlo as head coach

- ATK, Chennaiyin dominate ISL 2019-20 Team of the Season

Mumbai City FC

Coach (NEW): Sergio Lobera. Risks everything, every time. Entertainment guaranteed.

Player: Hugo Boumous. Easily the MVP last season -- has the finishing, vision, and flair to do it all over again.

Strength: Sergio Lobera with a point to prove and a squad of superstars at his disposal.

Worry: There is such a thing as too many big names, isn't there?

W2W4: The fun and goals. All the fun and goals.

Signing: Everyone! Adam Le Fondre. Seriously, all the goals.

- Mumbai City FC appoint Sergio Lobera as Head Coach

- Amrinder: Wouldn't mind if Aguero or de Bruyne take over Mumbai captaincy

Odisha FC

Coach (NEW): Stuart Baxter. Made the tricks-and-flicks-loving world of South African football embrace his structured, patient approach. The most experienced coach in the league.

Player: Steven Taylor. His on-field organisational skills will be pivotal to Baxter's primary objective - shore up the league's third-worst defence.

Strength: The quality of young Indian players, developed by previous manager Josep Gombau's skill and patience.

Worry: From Gombau's risk-everything philosophy to Stuart Baxter's risk-free one, it's a big change.

W2W4: Will the dash of pragmatism turn the league's most lovable underdogs into serious contenders?

Signing: Marcelinho. Drama, quality, chaos -- he brings it all with him.

- Stuart Baxter hopes to emulate South African success in ISL

- Odisha sign former Newcastle defender Steven Taylor

Kerala Blasters

Coach (NEW): Kibu Vicuna. Winning the I-League last season in style with Mohun Bagan (16 points above No. 2 East Bengal) is a testament to his skill.

Player: Gary Hooper. 143 goals and 55 assists in 322 games over the last decade? Yes, please. They won't miss Bart Ogbeche if Hooper finds form.

Strength: Vicuna with a point to prove and exciting new signings in attack.

Worry: Will the management show patience with Vicuna amid what might be a slow process to get back to challenging for the title?

W2W4: As a TV spectacle, the fans will be a miss. Can their team make up for it on the field?

Signing: Nishu Kumar. Consistently superb for BFC, can the all-action left back spark a change in fortunes for the Blasters?

- ATK Mohun Bagan to kick off ISL 2020-21 vs. Kerala Blasters

- The daring of Darren: The rare sportsman who won't 'stick to sports'

Jamshedpur FC

Coach (NEW): Owen Coyle. Wowed Indian football with his miracle run at Chennaiyin last season. Jamshedpur will be hoping he can repeat the trick.

Player: Amarjit Singh. Has it in him to run a game from midfield. Will the potential translate to sustained performance?

Strength: Owen Coyle has shown he can whip a team into shape, and he has quality to play with.

Worry: Only Hyderabad conceded more goals than Jamshedpur last season. Sorting that is priority No. 1.

W2W4: Coyle trusting his young Indian contingent to run the midfield. Step up, Amarjit.

Signing: Nerijus Valskis. Nothing beats the comfort of having a proven goal-scorer leading the line.

- Owen Coyle appointed head coach of Jamshedpur FC

- 'Didn't want to watch from sidelines': Vineeth joins COVID-19 helpline

NorthEast United FC

Coach (NEW): Gerard Nus Casanova. If the football is anywhere near as brilliant as that name... gold!

Player: Federico Gallego. Has the vision and talent to drag a team along.

Strength: Flying under the radar has its benefits. I think.

Worry: Are the league's serial underperformers stuck in a rut?

W2W4: Can Kwesi Appiah provide the goals they so sorely lacked last season?

Signing: Kwesi Appiah. See above.

Hyderabad FC

Coach (NEW): Manuel Marquez Roca. Couldn't possibly do worse than Phil Brown. Could he?

Player: Aridane Santana. Excellent for Odisha last season, but can Hyderabad build a viable attack around him?

Strength: See United, NorthEast.

Worry: The Roca they wanted, and waited for, left for Barcelona. Did the new Roca get enough time to prepare?

W2W4: Couldn't possibly be worse than last season. Could it?

Signing: Aridane Santana. See 'player', above.

- Roca leaves Hyderabad to join Koeman's staff at Barcelona

East Bengal

Coach (NEW): Robbie Fowler. Will make them an organised, hard-to-beat team. Can he add a splash of style to take him/them to the next level?

Player: Anthony Pilkington. Quality winger, ideal for Fowler's counterattacking style.

Strength: A good blend of experienced and exciting talent, both foreign and Indian.

Worry: Is a month and a half enough time for Fowler to get his squad challenging the big boys from the off?

W2W4: The theatre of East Bengal x the drama of Fowler = a blockbuster.

Signing: Jeje Lalpekhlua. Still just 29, has injury blunted one of India's most purposeful finishers?

- Fowler wants East Bengal to 'play the right way'

- Fowler factfile: Success built on defence and defiance