Last weekend PS Kemi got to their newly renovated stadium, and this week’s fixture includes the premiere of SJK’s completely new stadium. Meanwhile in Vaasa, VPS are waiting for their stadium premiere which should be in a month, but the match between VPS and PK-35 Vantaa had to be postponed due to a terrible pitch. At least we’re going towards better times.
SJK v HJK
Four wins and only one defeat in their last six games sounds a lot more like the SJK we were expecting to see. Although the darkest days lie in the past and guys like Tuco have been brilliant, there’s still some work to do for coach Simo Valakari.
And speaking of work to do, hello (once again) mister Lehkosuo. Sure, there’s been some crucial injuries keeping up to four of their preliminary central midfielders out, as if that wasn’t a problem already last year – but there seems to be a huge mental issue with keeping the pole position safe, as if that wasn’t a problem already last year (wait, did I say that already?). IFK Mariehamn slipped for a few games giving HJK a chance to skyrocket through the top of the table no where to be seen again this season, but no, go ahead and lose against VPS and draw against KuPS and RoPS.
HJK did win with a convincing 1-4 at KuPS in the cup, but the cup rarely says anything about your league form. A few key players got to rest this one out, while Kolehmainen made his return and Morelos got back to scoring. SJK got two important guys back, as key midfielder Mehmet Hetemaj and fullback Richie Dorman made their first appearance in a few months.
SJK have hyped this match up a lot and loaded huge expectations on themselves. In the end, it’s HJK who have the bigger pressure, especially Lehkosuo. Valakari is a better coach and with a healthy squad, I see good value in a positive home result.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: SJK +/- 0 at 2.04
KuPS v FC Inter
Johannes Kreidl had a nice streak of 6 clean sheets until KuPS’ biggest nemesis, at least in Veikkausliiga, Ilves came for a visit and put an end to all the fun. Could it be that another loss to Ilves is the turning point for KuPS? So far it seems to be so, as the Savonians’ pulled a 1-1 draw away at PK-35 and got severely beaten by HJK (1-4) in the national cup.
Inter had the luxury of resting some legs instead of playing against SJK in the cup, as they awkwardly lost in the previous round against PK-35 Vantaa, who were at that point experiencing probably the deepest point of their crisis. But that was during Dragtsma’s rule, what about now with Wallenius?
It’s impossible to say yet what kind of an impact Dragtsma’s exit has made, as Wallenius was his second man for several years. One positive thing we can be sure of is Petros Kanakoudis return to the Turku team. Inter made a further addition to the squad – maybe club president Håkans opened his wallet since Dragtsma left by his own choice? – as midfielder Lucas Garcia joined from PK-35.
Clearly, a lot is going on in Inter, where there are things to figure out. Sure, KuPS got a bad beating by HJK, but there’s two thing to consider: 1) It’s HJK 2) HJK play on artificial turf, which Inter does not.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: KuPS -0.5 at 2.19
IFK Mariehamn v PS Kemi
Home team IFK Mariehamn had a three-game slip without winning but got back on track after an important 1-0 victory home against SJK, who have been climbing up the table lately. Thanks to HJK’s draw against RoPS the Islanders’ share the pole position with the title favorites.
PS Kemi had a wonderful home premiere against Lahti last fixture. In front of a sold out newly renovated stadium, the newcomers took a 2-1 win against the league’s worst away side FC Lahti. What made the win so memorable was striker Billy Ions’ red card at the 71st minute, allowing Lahti to equalize a few minutes later. Two minutes before stoppage time substitute Aleksi Gullsten scored the game-winning 2-1 goal.
While PS Kemi are missing their hottest goal scorer Ions due to a headless red card, home team IFK Mariehamn are likely to get their star striker back. Dever Orgill got a few minutes for the Jamaican NT in Copa America, but his team got knocked out in group stage.
Kemi’s home form is still strong and a win despite playing one man less showed great carachter. However, they’re not too strong away and IFK is a rock solid home side.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK Mariehamn -0.5 at 1.85
Prices correct at time of writing.
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