PK-35 Vantaa v VPS
Njazi Kuqi’s suspension made PK-35’s trip to Kuopio unnecessarily hard, as their main force – goal scoring – was weakened. However, KuPS proved to be terrible both in defense and midfield. Crossing especially, was made ridiculously easy for Vantaa.
Petri Vuorinen is continuing with the tactical renaissance of VPS, which he started last fall after taking over Olli Huttunen’s job. In their season premiere VPS faced HJK in Helsinki, and surprised the most of us by winning the possession statistics. In other words, Vuorinen was stubborn to stick to his own game plan, instead of taking a more pessimistic and ultra defensive approach.
The home team are still likely to miss captain Kim Raimi from its central defense and Kuqi’s suspension hasn’t ended. Fellow striker Pablo Couñago is questionable for full match condition. Timi Lahti might make a return to VPS defense, allowing Nikko Boxall to return to his natural position in the bottom of the midfield.
Despite possessing a 3-1 lead during halftime, PK-35 midfielder Aleksi Ristola was unhappy with his team’s performance. VPS has more discipline and a better structure, which makes them far more dangerous than KuPS.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS +0.25 at 1.94
Inter v KuPS – When will the Sun rise in East?
Inter took 3 precious points from their visit at HIFK, despite a poor second half. The two halves were almost like a mirror image of each other. Inter ruled the first one, hosts IFK the second one. However, it was Inter’s Macedonian fullback Egzon Belica who settled the scores to 2-1 with 89 minutes played for Inter’s favor.
In the last preview I analyzed KuPS chances throughout the season. I did not expect a loss against a weak PK-35 at home, but it gave us a good lesson. The Savonians are likely to go full on Aston Villa this season. There are only a handful of matches where KuPS can grab a win, if even that. A horrible midfield organisation accompanied by poor defensive communication and non-existent defense on the wings are ingredients to a catastrophic recipe. Only Nigerian international Gbolahan Salami may salvage a few points through his individual performances.
Inter coach Job Dragtsma has praised his defense and has a good variety in the offense, which creates a healthy competition between strikers. Offensive quartet Njoku-Duah-Gnabouyou-Mannström made a solid game against HIFK. Late signing Kennedy is told to be far from full match fit.
KuPS lack the discipline to keep their defense tight even in away games. Inter are given a sweet chance to practice goal scoring.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Inter -0.75 at 1.93
HJK v SJK – Prove your worth, HJK
Both teams participated in last fixture’s two big surprises. RoPS-HJK was nearly identical to last season’s collision; RoPS kept a high pressure and thanks to their brilliant fullbacks they also eliminated HJK’s threats from the wings. The high-consuming and aggressive approach by RoPS finally exhausted the hosts with a quarter of an hour left, but HJK couldn’t capitalize for a win.
SJK had to host their home premiere in exile on an artificial turf, which is actually intended for American football. However, that is a poor excuse for a poor match against a team, who is one of the few to be exclusively comfortable on natural grass. IFK Mariehamn played exceptionally well to everyone’s surprise and grabbed a precious 0-1 away win. SJK striker Tuco continued frustrating the fans with worthless in-game decisions. New signing from Estonia, Tarmo Kink impressed on the left flank.
SJK’s fullback Richie Dorman, midfield anchor Mehmet Hetemaj and striker Toni Lehtinen are ruled out due to injuries. Home team midfielders Anthony Annan and Toni Kolhemainen are also expected to still be in rehabilitation.
SJK are still searching for harmony with a refreshed squad and have the biggest question marks in front of their own goal. HJK seem to have corrected their mistakes from last season and should show whom the throne belongs to.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: HJK -0.5 at 1.89
Prices correct at time of writing.
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