IFK M v PK-35 Vantaa
IFK Mariehamn had an awful preseason, possibly the worst of all league sides. Nothing in their game was working. Their defense was in chaos and offensively there were uninspiring. Unexpectedly, the islanders haven’t lost since the league premiere away at HJK, and have since grabbed points with routine..
Flip the coin and you’ll see PK-35 Vantaa. Tiqui tacaesque performances in the league cup turned the newcomers suddenly into the media’s favorite underdogs. The tiqui taca with hotheaded lads proved to be near to a complete farce. When their offense has failed to deliver their defense makes sure that they’re at least not losing. Their goalless draw against another team in crisis, SJK, was surprisingly enough, a slight disappointment. PK had good chances to score a winning goal.
The essential part of PK’s defense, captain Kim Raimi, is still doubtful to return, so is central midfielder Carlos Portela. Daniel Kollar made a return between the posts against SJK after serving his suspension. Not a league elite goalie, but a considerably better choice than the 17-year-old Volotinen. IFK fullback Albin Granlund is injured and PK’s striker Njazi Kuqi still suspended.
Mariehamn are, at the moment, doing everything better than any other team. Grabbing full points isn’t an easy task to do at Tammela against Ilves, but they did it. Looks like PK are sinking into even deeper waters.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK M -0.5 at 1.98
HJK v Ilves
So David’s dwarf sibling knocked out Goliath, or more like a heavily intoxicated Goliath, HJK were that bad. Fans were understandably outraged after the embarrassing 1-0 loss in Oulu against newcomers PS Kemi. The performance has even been entitled as HJK’s worst under Lehkosuo. I did believe this year’s HJK could go full on Mortal Kombat making the crowd chant “Finish him!” but no, where on earth is that brutality and routine from the title favorites?
I was one of the many who wrote Ilves last in the league prediction. An inexperienced new coach and not enough improvements in the squad were good enough reasons for me, not to mention their modest preseason. Although Ilves season is only 3 games in, they’ve shown to be as strong as last year. A tight defense with poster boy Mika Hilander in goal, exhausts most of their opponents.
HJK’s midfield worries could receive at least a slight relieve if Vincent Onovo and Anthony Annan return from their injuries. The central midfield is also supposed to be HJK’s biggest winning factor.
Lehkosuo’s HJK have rarely shown signs of a strong mentality and ability to really bounce back after a horrid defeat. Meanwhile, Ilves have arguably the league’s toughest mentality and are by all means able to give a good fight in Helsinki.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ilves +1.5 at 1.72
RoPS v FC Lahti
What a team RoPS are. Captain Antti Okkonen was brutally tackled in a cup-tie against a low-tier team, which will keep him out for the majority of the season. Many believed that this was a final blow for Malinen’s dreams to renew a European spot, but so wrong we have been. The comeback at PK-35 was straight from a cheesy Hollywood sports movie, their late winning goal 35 showed even more mental strength as did a 1-2 win at Inter last week.
Toni Korkeakunnas has continued to receive a lot of criticism from Lahti supporters. 69 matches, with 37 ending in draws is honestly a tad too much with that material. No surprise though, that just after a painful 2-0 loss at a chaotic KuPS, Lahti slaughtered VPS 4-0 at home. Zenith-loanee Slovyov and youngster Jasse Tuominen were unstoppable. Goal scoring was the biggest question mark in Lahti, but so far they won’t lose to many points on poor offense.
RoPS had some goalkeeper trouble early on, as first-choice keeper Ricardo was injured for a short time. Now the board has reacted by signing Antonio Reguero. Ricardo wasn’t nearly as good last year as Tomer Chencinski, who left for Helsingborgs IF, but has shown signs of improvement.
Head-to-head statistics show that 5 of the previous matches have resulted in an away win. Lahti put in a huge performance against VPS, which gives additional value for an away result.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: FC Lahti +0.5 at 1.87
Prices correct at time of writing.
Join Eastbridge Soccer Betting Broker today for all your Veikkausliiga betting, now UK licensed!