Tippeligaen – Sogndal v Stabaek Preview (28/8/16)

SOG-STAB

Sogndal preview

The hosts’ mini slump continued last week when they held to a 1-1 draw away against lowly Start. Sogndal led for the majority of that game but paid the price for being too negative and just trying to hold onto a slender advantage. Start equalised late on which was a blow to Eirik Bakke’s men, who have now only won 1 of their last 6 games. Sogndal went on a great eleven match unbeaten run but I have noticed a gradual decline for a while, they just haven’t been at their best. That’s not to say they are that bad, just not playing at the same level they were a couple of months ago. I’ve said this for a while, but ever since they lost key midfielder Babacar Sarr to Molde, they haven't had the same driving force in the middle of the park.

Stabaek preview

Toni Ordinas’ men obtained a massive three points last week against Aalesund (3-1). The visitors are now third from bottom and have steadily been moving upwards since BIlly McKinlay got sacked. In some ways, winning last week was the big monkey off their back. Their better performances under Ordinas have actually been away from home where he’s produced some good tactical gameplans, utilising the attacking strength of his team. Stabaek have only lost once in seven games since their new manager took over and they are a different outfit compared to what they were in the first half of the season. During the transfer window they both lost and gained some players, but seemed absolutely fine last week during their victory.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Sogndal beat Stabaek 1-0 in the reverse fixture but I sense the visitors can gain some revenge here. I just think both sides approach the match in contrasting form. Sogndal are in a mini-slump period and not what they once were. Let’s not forget; on paper this isn’t the most talented outfit and maybe they overachieved a bit during their long unbeaten run. Stabaek are a much improved outfit and the general atmosphere at the club is far better than it was under McKlinlay. I’d be surprised if they lost this game and I’m also surprised the bookies are offering a +0.5 asian handicap. Overall, I actually think there’s a good chance Stabaek can collect all three points, but we only need them to draw to cover this handicap. They should be able to manage that, so this looks like a good value pick.

Prediction: 1-2
Recommended bet 1 unit: Stabaek +0.5 @ 1.88 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)