Mjøndalen v Viking
Both sides have done reasonably well since their promotion. Expectations weren’t really high for either of these clubs, especially Mjøndalen. Vegard Hansen’s men conceded a staggering amount of goals in the early stages of the campaign. However, they have somewhat steadied the ship at the back since April. It is nevertheless worth noting that MIF have still only kept one clean sheet all season. The step up to the Eliteserien is never easy for any of these promoted sides. MIF currently reside 14th in the table which is a position they would gladly accept come the end of the season. I personally think they will be relegated but it’s clear they are far more competitive than I expected overall.
Viking are doing better and are 7th in the league. It certainly helped their cause that they won the first three Eliteserien games in 2019. Since then, only two victories have been picked up but they have a good record against sides in the bottom half of the table. A lot was said about the Viking defence at the start of the year. It was expected to be an abomination but turned out to be surprisingly tight. There have been signs recently though that they can be targeted. Molde scored five times against this backline and then last week they conceded four times at home to Bodo Glimt. At least Viking do contain a strong attacking threat themselves. The quartet of Hoilland, Tripic, Bytyqi and Thorstvedt have been excellent this year.
It’s no secret that MIF can cause loads of problems from set pieces. In Solberg Olsen or Stian Aasamundsen, amongst others, they have some really good takers. Of course, it also helps that they have an abundance of height and strength in the team overall. I’m not sure that the Viking defence will deal with some of the set pieces very well. This fixture last season in the second tier ended 2-4 to Viking, and whilst a similar result would be a bit extreme I do expect this to be an open encounter. There shouldn’t really be any fear for either side and both will be targeting three points. MIF are -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites but I’m not sure who will win. The pick I like is to take over 2.75 goals because I just see it being the type of game containing chances at both ends.
Asian Total Goals Recommendation: Over 2.75 goals at 1.850
Molde v Brann
There had been some criticism of Molde recently, especially away from home where some of their results had been questionable. Erling Moe’s side hit back with an excellent 4-0 victory at Godset last week though. All of the goals were scored in the first half and the surprise hero was striker Leke James. This is a man who has had to be quite patient this season, playing second fiddle on the bench to Ohi Omoijuanfo, who is the Eliteserien top scorer. I just don’t see how James can be dropped after such a great performance though and at the same time fitting both him and Ohi into the same starting XI probably isn’t going to work. James has more of a natural flair about him and will be brimming with confidence after last week.
The gap between Molde and Brann is seven points so if the visitors were to lose this fixture then a title charge seems beyond their reach. To be honest, I don’t see Brann doing enough anyway this season because they seem far too inconsistent. One thing they can take comfort from though is a good away record in which they picked up 10 points from the last four games. This is a much more difficult test for them at a ground where they have a horrible record historically. You have to go back all the way to 2011 for the last time they even so much as picked up point from the Aker Stadion. The last time the Bergen outfit won here was in 2006 and MFK have tasted victory in all of the last six head-to-head’s at this venue.
I think that Molde do have some vulnerabilities defensively at times. The return from injury of Kristoffer Haugen at left back has definitely helped them be more solid though. Molde have a 100% home record in the Eliteserien, winning 6/6 matches scoring 18 goals and conceding just two in the process. I think it’s going to be business as usual for them in front of their own fans and I’m happy to back them on a -0.75 Asian Handicap. Brann won’t of course lay down easily but they have a terrible record in this fixture as aforementioned, and I just don’t see them having enough overall strength to combat this Molde outfit. A midweek defeat in the cup 0-4 at Ranheim also has to be worrying for Brann, considering they fielded a full strength side. Molde have had full week to prepare for this game so should also have a physical advantage.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Molde -0.75 at 2.010
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.