Norway Eliteserien – Sarpsborg v Brann Preview (2/7/20)

Match Preview

Where to watch on TV - Eurosport UK 19:30 BST

Sarpsborg are the only remaining team in the Eliteserien yet to pick up a point. It’s played 4 lost 4 so far for new coach Mikael Stahre and the longer this continues the more this will start feeling like his failed stint at San Jose Earthquakes. Stahre has been implementing a 3-4-3 system which hasn’t really been effective so far. They were a little unlucky in the last round only losing 1-2 vs Bodø/Glimt but actually restricted them quite well. Stahre put together a ganeplan to sit deep and frustrate Glimt but ultimately individual mistakes cost them. That’s been a theme all season whether it’s been a missed penalty, or a crucial missed header. I don’t think Sarpsborg have been quite as bad as their results suggest but they haven’t been good either. Considering the squad has been injury and suspension free the excuses are starting to run out.

Brann started the season well and would still be unbeaten but for a freak deflected goal conceded vs Rosenborg last time out. I personally didn’t think that Brann took the bull by the horns vs RBK and were almost too timid. This is a mentality problem under coach Lars Arne Nilsen. With him at the helm there will always be moments like that where they are too passive and not adventurous enough. Nilsen has at least enjoyed a decent coaching season so far though and actually masterminded some good second half comebacks. Brann on paper have a very good squad which realistically should be challenging for medal positions. Daouda Bamba upfront and Gilbert Koomson out wide have been performing much better this season.

From a betting point of view I think taking Brann DNB is worth a go. They appear more comfortable away from home these days anyway and I just sense that Sarpsborg are one of those teams that are finding ways to lose games whatever they do. Brann have the better team, are generally in better form and have a nous of experience on how to get the job done. I’m a little surprised their price is so big for this game but maybe Sarpsborg are just overrated by the bookmakers, something which has been a regular theme for nearly 2 years now. As a side bet I’m going to back Brann centre back Vegard Forren to score anytime at a big price of 16/1. He’s new to the club and I just sense he is eager to make an impact by getting on the scoresheet. He has been known to take a thunderbolt of a freekick from time to time but will also be dangerous from set pieces.

Prediction: 1-2

Recommended bet: Brann DNB @1.98

Recommended bet: Vegard Forren anytime scorer @17.0 (WilliamHill)