PS Kemi v PK-35 Vantaa
The two rookie teams of Veikkausliiga are set for a clash in very different states of mind. Home team PS Kemi had a negative trend but broke it by two valuable draws. Against both Ilves and VPS, they managed to find their enemy’s Achilles’ heel. Ilves were stripped down by giving them the possession, and VPS game was shaken and stirred by the highly aggressive pressure from Kemi.
As the home team have found a way to at least avoid defeats, PK-35 have been left in ruins. One of the part-owners, striker Pablo Couñago left PK-35 before the summer after too much beefing with head coach, and another part-owner, Shefki Kuqi. Together with Couñago, a handful of his countrymen took the exit door. Flash-forward until end of July, and even Kuqi leaves the club with his brother. Overall, the amount of professionalism has declined to a tenth of what they had at the start of the season. Basically no strikers and coaching staff. What a farce.
Kemi’s biggest – let’s be (way too) nice and say their only – problem at the moment is Billy Ions’ drought. The 23 year old Englishman was blessed with multiple fine chances against VPS, but the striker is clearly in a need of a cheap goal.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: PS Kemi -0.5 at 2.02
SJK v KuPS
SJK v KuPS is another hot game in the race for the third spot. Here the stakes are slightly higher, as a loss would mean an even bigger gap to VPS or RoPS. KuPS I believe to be too inconsistent to be a serious contender, while SJK need to make a serious step up, and the time would be now.
The reason why KuPS are still hanging along is their strong squad and a strategy – or more like the lack of one – which would’ve guaranteed them a top 4 finish a few years ago. Now the league has at least 5 teams that have a solid game plan with a strong squad, so keeping your end tight is far from enough, but keeps them hanging on in the better half of the table throughout the season.
What I mean with a serious step up from SJK would be a huge improvement in their defense. And to be honest, I have a hard time seeing that coming with the troops they have now. But, it is August, and their owner have a lot of money, so there’s a possibility to save the season with an A-value signing.
The previous matches between these two teams have been very poor on goals, and I would be surprised if that wouldn’t be the case this time. Sure, SJK has scored next to most goals alongside VPS, but also conceded a lot more than any of the other teams in the top 8 in a 12-team league. So what’s keeping this game poor on goals? KuPS and their solid defense, but horrifyingly plain offensive creativity.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5 at 1.74
RoPS v VPS
The two Palloseuras face in a clichéd 6 points game. Both are in the top of the form table, RoPS being undefeated for their last 8, and VPS for their last 7 league games. If either one is to lose and break their streak, the race for a third place is suddenly a lot tougher.
They also share something way too rare in Veikkausliiga – a clear ideology. While RoPS rely on physical and highly energetic football, VPS have been introduced to a stubborn and patient, but efficient game. A good few of their opponents, who simply strive to survive from game to game by switching their strategy depending whom they face, tend to retreat against VPS and RoPS. The result is another cliché, anti-football, but it works to an extent.
RoPS are missing the Finnish international Janne Saksela from their right flank, who provides an awful lot of offensive firepower to Malinen’s arsenal. The away team are nearly fully fit, but Vuorinen enjoys rotating the squad, so you never know who starts.
I was surprised how much the odds were in RoPS favor. Their previous match in Vaasa ended in a 1-0 home win, when RoPS were barely a threat on a horrible pitch. In Rovaniemi RoPS has better statistics, but I see them highly overvalued.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS +0.5 at 1.79
Prices correct at time of writing.
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