Stabaek v Haugesund
Stabaek have had a troubling campaign which has included a managerial change. Since Jan Jonsson took charge they have picked up 8 points from 7 games. This isn’t a bad return but things have looked a bit more ropey in recent times. Stabaek managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets relatively early into Jonsson’s reign but since then have conceded twice each to Odd & Brann and of course three times to Sarpsborg in what was a thrilling 3-3 draw. The defence has been fairly poor all year and has relied on excellent goalkeeper Marcus Sandberg who has probably been the best custodian in the Eliteserien 2019. As we enter August and the Norwegian transfer window opens Stabaek have already reinforced by adding midfielder Tortol Lumanza. He should give them a much needed physical presence in the middle of the park and improve their overall ‘toughness’
Haugesund only actually played two Eliteseren matches in July. They drew 0-0 against Viking and then beat Tromsø 5-1. FKH have been involved in plenty of European action though, The most recent affairs have been against Austrian side Sturm Graz in the Europa League qualifiers. Haugesund won the first leg 2-0 which surprised everyone. At the time of writing the second leg result in Graz is unknown. Jostein Grindhaug’s men have had issues regarding player availability in recent times. Key left back Alexander Stølås is ruled out for the rest of the season with injury whilst their main striker Ibrahima Wadji remains on a suspension due to a doping charge. Add in some recent concerns to centre back Pallesen Knudsen + midfidler Joakim Nilsen and it’s been a tricky period for FKH.
Haugesund have been playing the better football this season but Stabaek haven’t looked too bad since Jan Jonsson took over. I really feel like this is a perfect opportunity for the home side to strike. Haugesund aer going to come here battered and bruised physically, whatever the result on Thursday night in Austria. This is a thin squad that isn’t designed for multiple matches in a week. I think it will be extremely difficult for Haugesund in many different faucets to get themselves ‘up’ for this fixture. Stabaek can be awkward opponents at their Nadderud home and taking them on a DNB Asian handicap looks like the best bet to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ended an over 2.5 match either, but I prefer just to stick with one pick. It will be a good chance for the likes of Frank Boli & co to feast on a tired defence but at the very worst Stabaek should draw.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Stabaek DNB at 1.860
Vålerenga v Kristiansund
July has been a really sporadic month for Eliteserien fixtures. Some teams such as Stabaek have played as many as four games but other teams far less. The last time Vålerenga were in action was July 5th when they hammered Bodø/Glimt 6-0. The midsummer ‘break’ in fixtures actually came at a bad time for VIF because they looked on fire, previously having battered Haugesund 4-1 away from home. Ronny Deila’s men have had a whole month to reflect on their recent success but there is a danger they could lack match sharpness. VIF have also lost key attacking talent Chidera Ejuke who has been sold to Dutch side Heerenveen for nearly £2m. Whilst his statistics didn’t always reflect it, Ejuke was a huge player and offered the X-factor to unlock defences. His acceleration and dribbling ability will also be missed. As of yet, the Oslo outfit haven’t brought in a direct replacement and it will be interesting to see who is signed during this August transfer window.
Kristiansund were another team who only played one league match in July. They beat Lillestrom 5-2 but have since been out of competitive action. The limelight was actually on this small club from Western Norway in midweek though. They faced Man United in a pre-season friendly and only lost 0-1 against the Red Devils. It has to be said that KBK were given a proper run around though in that game. Were in not for goalkeeper Sean McDermott things could’ve gotten very ugly. Overall it’s been a solid enough campaign for Kristiansund in the league and they currently reside in a comfortable 7th place. The visitors are missing two important players to suspension here. Defender and captain Aliou Coly + midfielder Amidoi Diop will both not feature.
To some degree there is an element of uncertainty because both teams haven’t played a league match for a whole month. Vålerenga are also renowned for being hard to predict. They can be extremely up and down and capable of producing a stinker of a performance at any given time. However, VIF are also capable of the spectacular and can beat anyone on their day. I am a little bit concerned about the loss of Chidera Ejuke but I still believe the home side should have enough to prevail this weekend. VIF still have a very strong attack with the likes of Matthias Vilhjalmsson, Herolind Shala & Bård Finne. Not to even mention Aron Dønnum who had been in scintillating form prior to the break in fixtures. The key Kristiansund suspended duo of Coly & Diop could have more of an affect on this game than Ejuke leaving VIF and I am happy to back the hosts on a -0.75 Asian Handicap. I just see this as a three point match for Vålerenga and their true AH line should probably be more around the -1 mark.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Vålerenga -0.75 at 1.980
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.