Vålerenga v Haugesund
It hasn’t been a happy return for Vålerenga since the summer break. They looked to have a favourable run of fixtures at home to KBK, away at Godset then Stabaek.
However, Ronny Deila’s men have rather made a mess of things and failed to win any of those contests.
This is a really poor return for a side that still had title aspirations or at least a medal spot. VIF are 12 points off the top and 5 off third place though and it looks like they will endure yet another season of mediocrity.
Of course, the Oslo outfit lost key playmaker Chidi Ejuke to Heerenveen which has probably been a negative factor. However, there is enough attacking talent in this squad to propel them if needed.
Aron Dønnum and Matthías Vilhjálmsson haven’t looked too bad since the summer break but Shala and Finne have been poor.
New signing from the Danish League Mayron George made his debut on Wednesday night and scored vs Stabaek. He looks more of a physical unit and good in the air but if given decent service should go fairly well.
Perhaps of more concern for VIF has been an inability to keep clean sheets against KBK, Godset and Stabaek. They suddenly look much more vulnerable at the back which is perhaps something Haugesund can exploit this weekend.
The visitors are situated in midtable right now but have only won 1 of their last 7 games. The squad has been badly injured ravaged in the last couple of months and they’ve also had Europa League qualifiers to contend with.
At the time of writing the result of their Thursday night match away to PSV Eindhoven isn’t known. But I am fairly sure Haugesund will suffer in the aftermath of that game. It’s such a big fixture for them in the Netherlands that there is probably going to be some sort of comedown.
I have to admit I haven’t been very impressed with Vålerenga in the last three matches but this is another favourable situation for them here. They should be better than Haugesund in normal circumstances anyway, but I suspect the visitors will be quite flat.
We saw that as they lost at home to Ranheim last week (0-1) and the grind of Europan matches is taking its toll on the team. VIF have of course also played in midweek but they rested a few players and they should be able to freshen things up here.
VIF are the sort of team who maybe need more minutes on the field anyway to try and re-find their form after this slump period.
I am willing to give them another chance here and backing them straight on the nose seems like the best option. I make Vålerenga a -0.75 favourite here but they are backable around the 1.90 mark -0.5. It really is time that Ronny Deila’s men ended their funk and grabbed another 3 points.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Vålerenga -0.5 Asian Handicap at 1.90
Tromsø v Lillestrøm
It’s not too often that I write about these two teams in proper detail but I sense a betting opportunity in this match. More on that later but both teams are generally hovering in and around relegation trouble. LSK are 4 points ahead of Tromsø and remain largely unpredictable.
However, 3 wins in their last 6 games isn’t a bad return. TIL won 4 out of 5 fixtures around the May/June period but since the resumption of the winter break blew a -20 lead vs Mjondalen and then got hammered 5-2 by Rosenrog last week.
In total, Tromsø have conceded a whopping 16 goals in their last 5 games which is a staggering amount. From a defensive point of view they just don’t seem capable of keeping things tight.
In the reverse fixture Lillestrøm claimed a comfortable 4-0 victory in a match which they bullied Tromsø from a physical point of view.
Manager Simoi Valakari tries to get his side to play in a nice attractive fashion. When things are going well this is nice on the eye but I actually think TIL were picking up better results when willing to adapt by grafting and grinding.
It seems like that has gone out of the window for now and whether or not they go back to basics I’m not sure. Injuries and suspensions haven’t really been a big issue for them of late, especially defensively there are few excuses.
One area in which the manager needs to make a decision is in goal. Does he go with the more experienced Gudmind Kongshavn or youngster Jakob Karlstrom. Both of them make too many errors to be honest and the keeper spot has been a weakness for years at Tromsø.
The northern outit have picked up 10 points from a possible 12 in their last 4 home games which is a positive.
This is quite a clash of styles. Lillestrøm are a much more physical unit, play direct football and tend to have a more old fashioned ethos. This fixture usually contains goals though, especially at Alfheim Stadium.
In total, 6 of the last 8 head to head meetings have ended over 2.5 and it’s the overs again which I fancy here. LSK have regained two key players of their offense recently, Anor Smarason and Thomas Lehne Olsen. Those are the type of guys who I personally think will cause Tromsø issues.
The home team have goalscoring threats in all areas of the field but new striker Fitim Azemi looks to have fitted in nicely and could do well in the second half of the season. Youngster on loan from Man United Aidan Barlow could be useful on the wings if he’s available following a recent move.
Tromsø are -0.25 Asian Handicap favourites which is fair enough. I find the actual winner of this game hard to predict, it could go either way. But I definitely think over 2.5 goals is worth a go at around 1.85 mark. Both teams should fancy their chances, leading to an open game of football.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 1.85
Preview by: @meatmansoccer.