FC Honka v TPS
FC Honka are on a point draught with only one victory out of their five last games after losing only once in the ten games before this dry run. A 1-1 draw against a miserable Kemi was surely a poor and unacceptable result and losing a 1-3 lead at Ilves to a 3-3 draw was not either a positive ending. However, Honka are much better than what the recent trend is showing.
In addition to the evidently best mid-season transfer, also known as Macoumba Kandji – just look at the stats by @Tapuli – they have made some of the best additions in this window. It is possible that it has been a factor to the negative trend recently, as all new players have their toll in learning the team philosophy and so on, but I am convinced that at the end of the long and demanding season it will pay off with quality and depth in the squad.
TPS, on the other hand, are not in the same position. They do not have the same resources, despite Honka being a fellow promotee to Veikkausliiga. Nevertheless, TPS were in a position where they needed additions more than Honka, and in contrast to Honka’s pole position aspirations, TPS need to strengthen their squad to secure another season in the top tier.
After a couple of questionable test players, TPS signed former Honka center back Zeljko Savic and Estonian striker Albert Prosa. Somewhat surprisingly in my opinion, these names were not welcomed too friendly by the supporters. Savic has proven to be an at least decent name in Veikkausliiga, and even if Prosa looked for most of the time like a fat sloth in RoPS, he is exactly on the level TPS can afford right now.
TPS offensive arsenal is so subpar with names like Elias Ahde and Aleksi Ristola, that Albert Prosa can only do good for the squad.
Comparing these additions and how the result wise poor form of Honka is giving good value for the home team, I think we can make a coin or two on a bigger home victory.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Honka -0.75 at 2.210
KuPS v PS Kemi
KuPS got out of a negative trend by beating TPS. Wow, what a prestige. They beat on home turf a relegation favorite side narrowly by 3-2. TPS were, by the way, leading 2-1 and can only blame themselves for travelling home without a single point.
With that said, Jani Honkavaara is getting close to a point where his only exit is the exit door from the club. Considering the resources he had prior this season and after a successful first year in Kuopio, his reputation is questioned. Sure, he took up HIFK with very limited resources to Veikkausliiga, but when HIFK hit a bad period, Honkavaara was locked out.
At KuPS it seems like he is stuck in the same position. Honkavaara’s KuPS has been a few months now in a pickle, and Honsu does not seem to know how to handle a difficult situation.
Which is quite the opposite to the club culture up North in Kemi. The club’s website has been down for a few weeks, and albite the club’s official statement is that the website’s host is to blame for it, I cannot but doubt that and join the mass of Finnish football folks and suspect that they are out of money.
It is well known that Kemi have taxes in debt, something they have had for the past seasons as well, eventually paying them off at some point. In addition to that, their long-time coach was fired, which was followed by multiple exits from the staff and the squad.
Nevertheless, Kemi have looked even stronger than before, striving to pass at least TPS on the qualifying spot. They are not far from it, being on equal points but with a poorer goal difference. Kemi are fighting, and a KuPS led by Honkavaara will have a hard time beating them at this point of the season. A few rounds ago, Kemi managed even to beat them at Savon Sanomat Arena. It might not happen again, but I expect them to give up a proper fight.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: PS Kemi 1.50 at 1.884
RoPS v IFK Mariehamn
If not for their superior Spring season, RoPS would have found themselves in a similar situation as KuPS right now. The trendy club has started to slip off with some poor performances and awkward results, however, they are comfortable at a second position in the table.
In contrast to KuPS, RoPS have shown signs of resurrection. One possible factor is the exit of Wato Kuate, the Portuguese midfield hound dog, who was a bad breath in the locker room. Another one is Toni Koskela’s first season in the club. The former Klubi 04 (HJK reserve side) coach has implanted his philosophy more than well in a prosperous mix of international experience and domestic young talent. We’ll see next year how it pays off in the long run.
Nevertheless, it says something about Koskela as a person as he was daring enough to bring in Vahid Hambo, who was released from the chaotic SJK. Hambo was exceptional at Inter a few seasons ago, which led him to Brighton Hove & Albion. To his unfortune, injuries and whatever else, made sure that his time in England’s hipster Mecca was unsuccessful.
A return to Finland was obviously the best choice for the Bosnian Finn, however SJK was perhaps the worst club to go to. Now, at RoPS he got a chance from the very beginning and respected it with scoring against HJK.
RoPS put up a good fight in Töölö against the becoming champions, which is a hard thing to do now in Veikkausliiga, as HJK are clearly prioritizing it over Europe. While IFK Mariehamn are showing proof over improvement and clear tendencies to dust off the relegation battle, I see RoPS as a way better side. Anything but a home win would be a shame for Koskela and his lads.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: RoPS -0.50 at 1.950
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