PS Kemi v VPS
Home side PS Kemi had a brilliant start to the season, holding even the third place for some rounds. A 6 game losing streak shifted the newcomers down but a hopeful 1-1 draw from a tough away match against Ilves ended the struggling period. Ilves did have the best scoring chances, but putting an end to a losing streak was the most important thing for Kemi.
Now Kemi have a chance to put an end to another streak. VPS are on a 6 games long winning run, which makes them one of the hottest teams in Europe at the moment. Their last win against KuPS in itself wasn’t surprising, but even I was caught by the 2 late goals, which gave them a big 3-0 victory.
Neither team has any new injuries or suspensions, but what it’s worth for VPS, it doesn’t seem to even matter if some defender is suspended or a midfielder injured. Coach Vuorinen has created a system that is nearly independent from individual efforts.
I guess thanks to the low attention from the media and a somewhat nameless squad gives VPS the benefit of doubt. 2 out of the 6 wins they’ve taken now were on hostile turf, against Inter and HIFK, who at that point weren’t really a match to anyone. In other words, the away form isn’t as strong, but I still see VPS as a big favorite here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS +/- 0 at 1.85
KuPS v RoPS
KuPS went way out west to Vaasa with an oddly cautious mentality. Coach Rajamäki sounded very modest in the pre-match interviews as he told VPS were going to be a tough challenge for KuPS and, that they were mainly focusing on keeping the enemy away. It turned out to be a bad idea, as they gave too much space early on to VPS, who grabbed a 1-0 lead. The game ended in a 3-0 defeat and possibly a very heavy man loss. Ain’t no such thing as halfway crooks, Rajamäki.
Too bad for the Savonians that RoPS are nearly as hot as VPS, as the Lapland team is on a stroll of 5 wins. Similar to VPS, they aren’t too dependent on individuals, with the arguable exception of captain Antti Okkonen.
KuPS midfielder Onobi took two bookings against VPS and is suspended against RoPS. In addition to that, goalkeeper Craig Hill hurt himself during the very last moments of the match, as did defender Babacar Diallo. RoPS fullback Juha Pirinen is also suspended.
Rajamäki’s KuPS lack a clear idea, which is a huge problem against teams that actually have a philosophy to follow, like VPS and RoPS. RoPS streak is a result of something else than pure luck and poor opponents, which makes them a favorite against a KuPS, who’ve relied more on lady fortuna.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: RoPS +/- 0 at 2.07
PK-35 Vantaa v Ilves
Will PK-35 even finish the season? That’s a question I pose literally. Half-coach half-owner Shefki Kuqi left at least his role as the coach, and is heavily linked to Inter, for some reason. The Vantaa side has reportedly had big difficulties to pay its players salaries on time, if at all. All this, despite 6 players and an assistant coach leaving the team months ago. This just might be the worst run club ever in Veikkausliiga history, and that’s a throne harder to claim than the one in King’s Landing.
Ilves were left with a disappointing 1-1 draw home against PS Kemi, which revealed some of their problems. Those problems are also very visible in the league table. They have a shared 5th spot (a game in hand against KuPS), but have scored next to fewest goals. On the other side they’ve conceded, together with RoPS and KuPS, the third least goals. So if they are to win a game, they better not concede. Ilves do create a fair amount of chances, but sometimes they try to play too close to the goal, while the other times the finishing is simply not there.
While RoPS and VPS aren’t dependent on any individuals, the same can’t be said about Ilves. Paul Emile Tendeng has either scored or assisted 10 of Ilves’ 16 goals. Wild, but alarming.
Usually I’d stay away from games where there’s a new coach – like I do with HIFK-SJK (yes, HIFK replaced their coach, too!) – but in this case I can’t see any upside to it. The players have been mentally beaten for a long time, and as the coach (and part-owner) left the sinking ship, why would they suddenly start trying to save it?
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ilves -0.25 at 1.96
Prices correct at time of writing.
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