Monthly Archives: July 2017

Out of action until September

For those who were wondering about my absence. I will be out of action until September due to various reasons. A bad shoulder injury during the summer set me back badly. In addition, I've recently moved house and been without key services for a period of time. I am too far behind schedule this summer to deliver accurate previews and analysis. However, I may provide a limited number of Norwegian previews and of course you can listen out for me on the Nordic football podcast and possibly also the Allsportsbetting pod, time permitting.

Norway Eliteserien – Lillestrom v Stabaek Preview (15/7/17)

 

Match Preview

Even I have to admit now that Lillestrom are a better team than I have recently appreciated. They were excellent on Monday night away at Sarpsborg, drawing 3-3, but perhaps even deserving more. What was really noticeable was how many clear cut chances they created, and that is something not easy to achieve against a good defensive side like Sarpsborg. Ever since Erling Knudtzon and Odoji have been paired together upfront then they have looked a lot more dangerous. Recent home form has been excellent, winning their last three with some impressive performances.

Stabaek have won back to back games, the most recent of which was a superb 2-0 success at home to Brann. They are a very streaky side, capable of anything. On a good day they can beat anyone, but on a bad day they can be torn apart. It was a bad day for them in the reverse fixture, which Lillestrom won 4-2. I am personally not convinced by the Stabaek defence, even though their last two displays have been improved at the back. There was a period a few weeks ago where it looked like they could concede at any time. The goalkeeper can be prone to errors too, especially from crosses.

This is a local derby and matches between these two teams are usually quite intense. They also have a long history of goals, which I see continuing today. Neither side is defensive minded and I would imagine both will comfortably be on the front foot today. If LSK can create so many chances against a side like Sarpsborg, then they shouldn't have too many concerns about hitting the back of the net facing Stabaek. I think the hosts will win, but their price is on the short side. I’ll leave them alone, but over 3 is going to be my pick for the game. This should be an over and at worst a push should be generated by this bet.

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @ 1.92 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Sogndal v Rosenborg Preview (15/7/17)

 

Match Preview

Rosenborg were involved in a big UCL match away against Dundalk on Wednesday evening. This match comes less than 72 hours after that affair, so recovery, preparation time and everything else is going to be at a minimal for RBK. The second leg of that tie is upcoming in midweek, so all attention and focus is likely to be on that contest, especially with the scoreline locked at 1-1. The stakes have risen even more with the prospect of facing Celtic in the next round which would be massive. Rosenborg have a fairly big squad and they are going to need all of it here. I would expect plenty of rotation to take place and nobody with any sort of niggle will be risked. Key winer Pal Andre Helland is definitely ruled out.

Sogndal are one of those awkward, niggly sort of sides that nobody enjoys playing against. They are a limited team for sure, in fact I even came across a private source this week which suggests they have overall the worst level of player strength in the entire league. I would not personally go that far but they definitely have one of the worst 3-4 playing squads in the Eliteserien. They find way to get results though and have only lost 2 of their last 10 games. Sogndal are well managed by Eirik Bakke and they can be really hard to break down. In the reverse fixture just 3 weeks ago they held RBK for 60 mins at the Lerkendal, before eventually succumbing 3-0.

One of their big problems is the lack of an attacking outlet and my concern here would be if they went totally into their shell again today. But literally every factor is with Sogndal, minus the injury of veteran defender Kjetil Waehler who has been in good form recently. Rosenborg haven't been great this season at the best of times anyway. With key players rested they are likely to be weakened and I could see Sogndal taking advantage. I’m going to take the hosts on a +0.75 handicap. I think we are getting at least two line values here and the bookies are way off the mark. RBK will not be focused at all today and I simply have to take them on. Of course, an RBK ‘second string’ can still perform well, but the lure of such a big handicap is too hard to ignore.

Prediction: 1-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Sogndal +0.75 @2.04 (minimum odds acceptable 1.60)

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Round 17 (15-17 July 2017)

Saturday 15th July

[otw_shortcode_button href=http://www.meatmansoccer.com/2017/07/norway-eliteserien-sogndal-v-rosenborg-preview-15717/  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Sogndal v Rosenborg - Preview[/otw_shortcode_button]

[otw_shortcode_button href=http://www.meatmansoccer.com/2017/07/norway-eliteserien-lillestrom-v-stabaek-preview-15717/  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Lillestrom v Stabaek - Preview[/otw_shortcode_button]

Sunday 16th July

[otw_shortcode_button  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Molde v Stromsgodset[/otw_shortcode_button]

[otw_shortcode_button  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Haugesund v Aalesund[/otw_shortcode_button]

[otw_shortcode_button  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Odd v Viking[/otw_shortcode_button]

[otw_shortcode_button  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Sandefjord v Tromso[/otw_shortcode_button]

[otw_shortcode_button  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Brann v Sarpsborg[/otw_shortcode_button]

Monday 17th July

[otw_shortcode_button  size="tiny" icon_position="left" shape="round" color_class="otw-green" target="_blank"]Kristiansund v Valerenga[/otw_shortcode_button]

Norway Eliteserien – Sarpsborg v Lillestrom Preview (10/7/17)

 

Match Preview

Sarpsborg have drifted a bit following a good start to the season. Just 1 loss in 9 games is a good return, but too many draws have cost them and they must turn those into victories if they are to challenge Rosenborg for the gold medal. Lack of goals has been a big issue and they simply haven't converted their chances well enough. Sarpsborg have only scored 2 goals in their last 5 games, but it hasn’t been for lack of chances. An example was the home match against Brann which they shouldve won 4-1 or 5-1, but instead were held to a 1-1 draw. Perhaps a contributing factor has been the poor recent fitness of key attacker Jonas Lindberg, who again is doubtful today.

Lillestrom have undergone a massive turnaround since the start of the season and head into this match on the back of 4 wins in 5 games. They have been much better since the coach tweaked personnel in the attacking department. The duo of Udoji and Knudtzon are extremely dangerous upfront and will get opportunities in this match. However, to a degree they are still a limited side and their style isn’t one for the purists. Lillestrom will play a lot of direct style football and don’t really have much of a Plan B should things go wrong, apart from ‘lump it up’ to big target men. However, their recent form has to be respected and just 1 loss in their last 5 road games is a decent return.

I am much more of a believer in Lillestrom these days, compared to a couple of months ago anyway. However, in this instance I think they’ll come up short. The simple fact is that Sarpsborg are the better team, and on their own artificial surface should be too strong for LSK. We saw a couple of weeks ago how a good technical passing team like Valerenga beat them 3-1 and I see something similar tonight. Lillestrom will give a good account of themselves but as long as Sarpsborg actually convert their chances for once, then I’m confident backing them -0.75. They often play some good stuff here at this stadium and the extra class will hopefully shine through.

Prediction: 3-1

Recommended bet 1 unit: Sarpsborg -0.75 @2.09 (minimum odds acceptable 1.80)

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Stabaek v Brann Preview (9/7/17)

 

Match Preview

Stabaek snapped a four game losing streak by beating Sandefjord 2-1 last time out. It was an improved performance but let's not forget how poor they were defensively prior to that game. Stabaek can be a streaky sort of team capable of blowing hot or cold and can be hard to predict. The reverse fixture ended 5-0 to Brann and they took quite a pasting that day. My feeling is that they don't particularly match up well to Brann due to the visitors’ strong physique.

In terms of odds, I think Brann are overrated by the bookies. I actually make Stabaek slight favourites here, but instead the oddsmakers think the opposite. I would back Stabaek DNB if I had some confidence in them, but I don’t. Personally, I think Brann will find a way to win the game. Stabaek are prone to making defensive errors and Brann might be the sort of team who punish them. I thought about backing over 2.25 or over 2.5 here but Brann can be a very good defensive side if in the mood, and I wouldn't be surprised if they nicked this 1-0 either. This could be a good match to watch but overall I’m happy to serve it from a betting point of view.

Prediction: 1-2

Recommended bet: None

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Viking v Sogndal Preview (9/7/17)

 

Match Preview

Viking are like a revolving record this season. They tend to play quite well, at least in patches, miss a bunch of chances, then inevitably concede a late goal which costs them points. They have conceded so many times after the 80th minute this season, it’s gotten to a ridiculous level. I personally believe Viking are a better team than their position and should have at least close to the 15 point mark right now. Manager Ian Burchnall has been shorthanded all year and it looks like they will have some decent reinforcements in July. But until they they are going to have to suffer and grind out as many points as they can.

Sogndal are one of those teams you can never write off. They are a fairly limited team but always have some excellent gameplans under manager Eirik Bakke. They beat Viking 4-0 in the reverse fixture so that should give them plenty of confidence heading into the game. Sogndal have been shorthanded with injuries all year but have no recent concerns. Both teams have a player suspended each. Usman Sale for Viking has been in good form recently, as has Nwakali for the visitors. Sogndal have only scored four away goals in 2017 and tend to struggle offensively on the road.

Who would want to back Viking at odds-on? They find so many ways to fuck up games that you can't really go near them at this sort of price. However, I actually think the bookies are quite accurate with their odds in this instance. There isn't a lot of difference between these two teams, in fact I would even say Viking ar perhaps slightly better. So something around the even money mark is a fair price. I think this will be a tight match. Sogndal can be hard to break down, but also very limited with their approach. They probably won't create many chances here. I have a feeling Viking will sneak it something like 1-0, but I couldn't say so with any assurance. Under 2.5 would probably be a good bet, but Viking are so desperate for points that they might open up at some stage. I’m happy to leave this one alone.

Prediction: 1-0

Recommended bet: None

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Stromsgodset v Kristiansund Preview (9/7/17)

 

Match Preview

What on earth is going on at Stromsgodset? They are third bottom of the table having won just three games all season and are by far the most underperforming team of the season. On  paper they have a squad that should easily be competing in the top half of the table, if not higher but right now they are in a massive crisis. For me, the main problem lies in midfield and defence. They are being exposed to counter attacking situations especially and dominated against centrally. Of course, you could also criticise the strikers for not finishing well enough either. They are an overall mess and maybe the manager's job is starting to come under threat, even though he is a big name.

Kristiansund have somehow only lost 2 of their last 10 games and head into this match off the back of an amazing 3-3 draw against Rosenborg. Only a late equaliser prevented them from winning, but let's remember they were a post away from being 3-0 down. KBK are an extremely limited side in my opinion and I still rank them as the Eliteserien’s worst team, in terms of raw base power rankings anyway. They certainly aren't the worst team in terms of recent form though and with striker Jean Alassane Mendy and Benjamin Stokke in good knick, they also have an eye for goal right now. Confidence is clearly high in the squad.

The atmosphere is so poor at Godset right now that the fans will start to get on the back of the players if they fall behind or struggle at any stage. You couldn’t be backing them with monopoly money right now. Their price looks short @1.60, but I still think they shouldn’t be that much higher around the 1.75 mark. I personally still rank Godset as the 8th best side in the league, in terms of power rankings anyway. We have to remember they do possess much better quality than Kristiansund. The visitors are coming off a short week and might have a slight ‘letdown’ after the excitement of the RBK 3-3 draw. It’s worth noting that Kristiansund haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last nine games and the bet I like is over 2.75. KBK matches have been much more open recently. I still think Godset are a big over team, yet somehow loads of their contests have contained exactly two goals. I guess 1-1 is a danger again but I’m a sucker for punishment and will keep taking overs in SIF fixtures. No outcome would surprise me here, KBK might even bag another victory.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 2.75 goals @2.10 (minimum odds acceptable 1.85)

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Aalesund v Molde Preview (8/7/17)

 

Match Preview

This is a local derby match in which I have a terrible recent betting history. The last three meetings I have backed the overs in all contests, and lost fully with every bet. Everything about these two teams suggests overs. Both like to play fairly open attacking football and there are plenty of good technical players on show who should be hitting the back of the net. It seems that all of the payers are so focused and fighting so hard that some great defensive plays or good saves are often made. Everyone is going to be giving 110% effort here which can make things unpredictable. The formbook is basically thrown out of the window.

My personal feeling about Molde is that they are overrated. Their recent good run of just 1 loss in 6 games has been very lucky, but they have a knack of managing to grind out results and scoring goals at crucial times. Moving Babacar Sarr to centre back has been a great move and he can be very hard to break down. Molde are a fluky, lucky team who I am now reluctant to bet against at the moment. They also have a fantastic record in this derby match, winning on all of their last 6 visits to this stadium. Aalesund’s victory against them earlier in the season was the first time in ages they beat Molde. For some reason they always struggle mightily against their local rivals. I am not a great believer in H2H records, but in this instance it’s very hard to ignore.

My personal estimations make Aalesund -0.25 or DNB a good value bet. Normally I would take them, but the horrible H2H, unusual results against logic and my personal poor record in the fixture puts me off. I also fancy the overs, to a degree at least. But in this instance the price isn't very good and I have a feeling at least one, if not both of the sides will find a way to keeps the goals out one way or another, either with last gasp tackles or some good goalkeeping. You can all but guarantee now I am not betting on the fixture Aalesund will win and there’s a probable over! But I am sick and tired of this particular meeting and I refuse to lose any money on it again today.

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: None

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player

 

Norway Eliteserien – Rosenborg v Sandefjord Preview (8/7/17)

 

Match Preview

Rosenborg again flatter to deceive. On Monday night they were 2-0 up against Kristiansund, but blew that advantage to eventually be losing 3-2. Nicklas Bendtner saved them in injury time to rescue a point. I have to say for the first 50 mins RBK were totally in control though and had one of their efforts not gone off the post they’d have made it 3-0 and walked to victory. However, the last half hour was incredibly concerning how poor they were tactically and an element of panic set in. They remain top of the table but all certainly isn’t rosy in the garden of Kare Ingebrigtsen right now.

Sandefjord have only won 1 out of 7 games and there are some signs that they are in the middle of a slightly poor period. I have concerns about them away from home especially. In their last four road games they were outplayed in all contests, with bad results at Aalesund and Brann a big worry. That day Brann could've scored 7 or 8 goals and again they’ll be facing the same 4-3-3 formation today. Sandefjord also have an appalling H2H record against Rosenborg, losing all of the last seven meetings, and regularly getting thrashed. Will the players believe they can get something today or is the mental block too much?

In terms of betting I think the Asian Handicap mark at least 2-3 lines out. I think Rosenborg -1.25 would be a fairer handicap, but instead they are a whopping -1.75! What we have to remember is that RBK have a massive UCL match away against Dundalk upcoming in midweek. It’s essential they do well in that match and all eyes will be on it. Even if they get 2 or 3 goals up here, I think they’ll take their foot off the gas, not wanting to expend needless energy. My gut feeling is that Sandefjords will keep it close and I was very very close to backing them +2 Asian Handicap. But the risk of a blowout still plays on my mind, especially something like 3-0. Sandefjord will possibly need to score a goal to cover this handicap, and this is a really difficult place to score at the best of times considering the amount of possession RBK usually have. I’ll leave the match alone but I think Sandefjord +1.75 and under 3.25 are the value lines

Prediction: 2-1

Recommended bet: None

 

 

Player importance explanation: K =Key, X =Regular XI starter, B = Bench player