Norway Eliteserien – Brann v Stabaek Preview (21/7/19)

Match Preview

The last time we saw Brann in the league they failed to Beat Mjondalen at home, dropping points in a 0-0 draw. This can be a real problem for them against teams that sit deep and make themselves difficult to penetrate. Brann do lack creativity and have even been criticised by some of their own players for being ‘too negative’. Head coach Lars Arne Nilssen often splits opinions with his more pragmatic approach. As things stand, Brann are seven points off the top of the table but in my personal opinion they are far too inconsistent to make a challenge for the title. Brann suffered Europa League humiliation by getting knocked out by Irish side Shamrock Rovers in midweek. The first leg was a poor one for Brann though as they conceded late and could only draw 2-2 with the Irish side. Failure to progress through on aggregate as they went down 2-1 in Ireland only adds to their misery.

Stabaek travel here on the back of a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Sarpsborg on Monday night. They came from 1-3 down in what was a wild encounter. Since new head coach Jan Jonsson returned to the hot seat they’ve only lost 2 matches and picked 8 points out of 6 games, which isn’t a bad return for a team that was languishing well down the table. Key striker Franck Boli continues to be a frustrating player by both scoring goals, but also missing some big chances. In the last 10 days alone he missed a huge one on one vs Odd and then a penalty vs Sarpsborg. Stabaek were missing a few players on Monday night such as left back Jeppe Moe. I’m not sure who will be back available for them here yet but the defence looked really vulnerable on Monday night and also against Odd last week.

I personally don't think either team can be relied upon right now. Brann are far too inconsistent and especially at home have dropped a lot of sloppy points. They are heading into the match off a short week of rest and travelling to Ireland in the Europa League on Thursday. Both mental and physical fatigue could be an issue. Stabaek meanwhile, aren’t playing too badly but they make a lot of mistakes which could cost them at any time. Goalkeeper Marcus Sandberg has been enjoying an excellent season but he can’t save them in every match as Monday night proved. The pick I am going to take for this game is over 2.5 goals. This is a bit of a risk if Brann continue to misfire but I don’t think Stabaek will come here to defend. They have enough dangerous layers on the break to cause Brann problems and I think both teams will score. Brann are -1 Asian Handicap favourites but rarely cover this sort of handicap even if they win matches. So the home team are best swerved and backing the goals looks like the best way to go.

Prediction: 2-2

Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @1.88