Tromso v Haugesund – Saturday 17:00
Tromso looked as if they’d made good use of the summer break as they impressively beat Lillestrom 4-2 away from home last week. The northerners were much the better team in that encounter and fully deserved the three points. What was noticeable was how strong their midfield and attack looked. Unusually for them, there seemed a real cohesion in the attacking third. A few defensive errors threatened to cost them victory and for this match they’ll be missing number one goalkeeper Gudmund Kongshavn because of injury. Key man at the back Simen Wangberg is suspended, along with striker Sofiene Moussa. Historically, Tromso are excellent at home and poor away but bizarrely they come into this match on the back of two straight home defeats. That is something they will look to rectify but if they play like they did last week it’s hard to see them losing.
Haugesund have been one of the surprises of 2016 and currently sit fifth in the table. They laboured to victory last week, coming from behind to beat Start 2-1.FKH weren’t particularly impressive last week but they got the job done. Mark Dempsey has had them playing in an unusual 3-5-2 formation all season and they are a unique side in the Tippeligaen with their own style. On the road, it seems they are all or nothing. So far, they’ve won 3 and lost 4 away from home with no draws. The midfield duo of Alexander Stolas & Eirik Maeland missed last week’s match due to injury, so both have to be classed as doubtful here. Haugesund have no suspensions to worry about.
This is a match I’m quite excited about. Tromso look like they might be coming into some good form, whilst Haugesund have been playing some decent football all year. It’s a shame that the hosts miss two important defensive players to suspension but I’m not too sure it will affect them that negatively. It was their offense which looked so strong last week and I think it could power them to victory again. Haugesund are a decent side but this is never an easy trip north to Tromso. I just think home advantage could prove crucial come the final whistle and TIL just edge proceedings. Taking Tromso -0.25 at 2.04 looks a good price, I can’t see them losing three consecutive home games. I also think over 2.5 goals is worth backing. A lot more TIL games have been ending over recently and it seems their attitude has changed to be more positive. If allowed to play, Haugesund are a naturally attack minded team as well, so a high scoring home win is my prediction.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendations: Tromso -0.25 at 2.04 & Over 2.5 goals at 1.91
Sogndal v Molde – Saturday 19:00
Sogndal beat Stabek last week and they are now unbeaten in seven consecutive Tippeligaen games. The margin of victory was only 1-0 last Sunday but in all truth they should’ve won 3 or 4 nil. Ok, that was only facing Stabaek who are woefully out of form, but it was a very encouraging display for the promoted outfit. It looks like they will comfortably finish in mid table this season and the players are enjoying their football. Manager Eirik Bakke has done a good job with this squad, and they’ve been fortunate with injuries and suspensions. Bakke often keeps a very similar XI and all of the players know each other really well. One again he should have a full squad from which to choose from here. Sogndal have only lost one home game all year and have the capabilities to really frustrate Molde with some solid tactics.
It seems to me like Molde are in a bit of a mess. I felt like they’d been having an underachieving campaign anyway in which they dropped silly points, but now a recent player exodus has left them shorthanded until replacements can be found. Key men, Fredrik Gulbrandsen and Mo Elyounoussi have left the club and both were two of the best players in the whole league. I struggle to see how Molde can replace them adequately and their quality has definitely reduced thanks to these departures. Couple that with a lot of recent injuries & suspensions and it feels like the team has no stability right now. The big strength of Molde was creating chances and scoring goals, but they looked completely toothless last week losing against Viking at home 0-1. At the back they make too many defensive errors and there is a continual problem at right back whilst Sewankambo is injured.
The odds look all wrong to me here. I see no reason why Sogndal are a +0.25 underdog. At very worst they should be a favourite on a DNB handicap. This is a team unbeaten in seven games, very settled and confident at the moment. Molde seem the opposite and a right mess. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is being tested to the limit as manager and the deficiencies he showed at Cardiff are starting to show again. Sogndal are a really competitive team, tough to beat. Even Rosenborg couldn’t win here at the Fosshaugane Campus. Molde’s away record this season is pretty average with only wins at Bodo and Stabaek who are really poor teams. Even with the likes of Elyounoussi and Gulbrandsen I think I’d be willing to go against them here. Taking Sogndal +0.25 is a no brainer in my opinion. I personally don’t think they’ll suffer defeat and actually give them a great chance of winning.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Sogndal +0.25 at 1.89
Prices correct at time of writing.
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