KuPS v VPS
Hosts from Kuopio made their best performance so far against PS Kemi at home. A 2-0 victory could’ve been even larger, but there are still some major weak spots in KuPS’ game. Kemi didn’t just know how to use them.
Captain Petteri Pennanen, who’s been injured the last two seasons, gave the audience a show with his two goals. Young Austrian goalie Johannes Kreidl played well for the first time in the league, but might be benched against VPS, as former KTP-keeper Craig Hill was signed on Friday. Interesting enough, Hill was on a try-out to Vaasa during preseason, but wasn’t worthy a contract. Ilmari Niskanen is guaranteed to be out, Patrick Poutiainen and Tuomas Rannankari are doubtful.
HIFK fans were furious when they saw the so-called pitch in Vaasa. Ironically, a poor pitch should affect VPS, who are striving to control the ball like all of the players had OCD, more than anyone else in the league, The 3-1 win was important for the morale after the awful 4-0 loss at Lahti. Defensemen Veli Lampi and Mikko Viitikko injured, as is defensive midfielder Jerry Voutilainen. Striker Steven Morrissey is still suspended, but fellow Jamaican Andre Clennon made a huge game against HIFK, and should be fine without his friend.
KuPS had still a cringe-worthy gap between their midfielders and defensive line against Kemi, which will leave open space for the midfield triangle of VPS. Also their defensive on the wide is spookily bad, giving way too much area for wingers Soiri and Hertsi.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS +0.25
PK-35 Vantaa v HJK
Draws won’t take you too far, Mr. Kuqi. Nevertheless, two goalless draws against SJK and IFK Mariehamn are more than he probably had in mind, or not, it’s hard to say what the PK-35 gaffer thinks. Against SJK they had fair chances to even grab a win, but as the case was in Mariehamn, so was it against SJK – it was the opponents that made them look good. Especially IFK’s performance raised some eyebrows – and thoughts “How can they be top of the league?”
Criticize and they deliver – expect a delivery, and you won’t get it. HJK are an odd squad. From their worst performance under Lehkosuo – it’s easier to explain to your grandson how Leicester became champions than this worthless performance – to an absolute lynx-slaughter of 45 minutes.
Fortunate for HJK to have own products who can step in and deliver when foreign starters are injured. Sebastian Dahlström made an exceptional debut. Striker Richard Gadze is finally match fit, but Toni Kolehmainen will be playing with the reserves. Lum Rexhepi is suspended, which may turn out to be a blessing. PK’s striker Njazi Kuqi is still suspended, captain Kim Raimi’s return seems to get just further and further away. Midfielder Carlos Portela is doubtful.
HJK have impressed at home, especially when playing towards their supporters. On the contrary away games have been a lot worse. Severe inefficiency in offense is costing PK points, whilst HJK need to find a better strategy on hostile soil.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.5
PS Kemi v Ilves
After a historical win “home” against HJK in Oulu, Kemi went to Kuopio and didn’t really stand a chance. As expected the newcomers are dependent on points on home turf. Additionally, a tight schedule is a heavy burden especially for a squad with so little experience from league games.
Visitors Ilves gave a good fight during the first 45 at Sonera stadium against HJK. Ilves took an early lead and used well their own strengths. Something happened though in HJK’s locker room during halftime, and Wiss’ lads were massacred 5-1. There simply wasn’t much to do to fight against it.
Ilves have only bench goalie Huuhtanen and fullback Koskinen ruled out, but Wiss is expected to continue to rotate his starting eleven. Kemi experimented also with some rotation in Kuopio, which evidently didn’t work out at all. Especially their game on wide needs some adjustments.
The lack of goals is really starting to eat Kemi’s strikers’ guts. Cornelius Stewart could bring some inspiration from the bench to the wing. Ilves will stick to their confident and strong collective defense.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 1.5
Prices correct at time of writing.
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