HJK v KuPS
It is safe to say that HJK’s defence has been a mess this season, there is quite clear statistics speaking for this, too. The amount of shots HJK have been conceding this season is sky high, however, they have started to generate more shots now.
Their 0-2 win at IFK Mariehamn was not the most beautiful game of football – to be honest, barely any match involving IFK Mariehamn is beautiful to watch – but they did get the job done. Partially thanks to an absolute bonkers reaction by Oskari Forsman to a long ball, which gave the guests the opening goal.
I think it is inevitable that HJK will not be able to fix their defence in time for the European campaign, however, they do have the time to fix it to save their league campaign. There are already some signs of improvement, but at times the defending in box is just a state of confusion.
KuPS absolutely annihilated Lahti at home by 5-1. Their guests are in a very negative trend, but it does not take away the triumph of Jani Honkavaara’s lads. Their previous win at Vaasa by 1-2 signals of a positive period for KuPS, who are known to have long lows and long highs.
Now, KuPS may be in good form but HJK are always a tough bite to chew on in Töölö. No matter how poor HJK’s start to their season has been and the fact that Toni Koskela has not yet had the time and resources to make that big improvements, Telia5G is still a fortress for the giants.
The earlier fixture in Kuopio between these two ended in a scoreless draw, where HJK’s goalkeeper was definitely the man of the match. KuPS will probably put up a tease this time too, however, managing to net at least once. Then again, I count on the hosts to score as well.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 2.020
RoPS v KPV
After beating Lahti away by 1-2, RoPS tour in Southern Finland continued with a defeat at Tapiola. The final result, 1-0, mirrored the events pretty well in my opinion.
Honka were very sharp despite challenged properly by a well-defending RoPS. The defensive line lied semi-low with the midfield line hindering advancement to the final third of the pitch. However, Honka’s skilled passing created chances by through balls penetrating the last defensive line.
RoPS have also improved their collective reaction to negative transitions remarkably. Honka rarely got to threaten Antonio Reguero after winning the ball. Nevertheless, RoPS offence left a lot to hope for, and it is quite clear that the quality is a big issue there.
Additionally, Timo Stavitski returned to Caen after his loan spell at Rovaniemi, contributing virtually nothing due to most of his time being wasted to injury rehabilitation.
RoPS guests from Kokkola have quite the opposite situation. After losing Isaac Shaze to an injury, who had just found his place on the field as a holding defensive midfielder, easing the defensive work load from especially Hendrik Helmke, the defensive structure of KPV is back to square one, to simplify it.
Also, so typical to KPV, they were well in the match in the first half, leading 2-1 in the beginning of the second, but ending up bottling it totally. Shaze or no Shaze, I am unsure whether this KPV will ever get rid of this culture.
KPV are in a dire need of points and will continue with their risky football in Rovaniemi. Helmke is really in his essence in a freer offensive role and produces constantly threatful situations, which can be trouble even for Reguero. However, this KPV also gives away plenty of chances for the opposition, which even RoPS rather blunt offence can abuse.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.00 goals at 1.750
SJK v Inter Turku
An extremely even Veikkausliiga – save for the two dead last teams VPS and KPV – are the sole reason SJK’s state does not look as bad as it in fact is. And for one hugely talented individual in offence, Denys Oliynyk.
In defence they are almost as dependent on one individual, that is, Mehmet Hetemaj. This was, once again, exemplified at Telia5G Arena, when HIFK beat SJK by 1-0. Also without Sergei Atakyi, whose loan contract ended, the offensive workload of Denys Oliynyk grew even bigger.
I would not put that much blame on the gaffer, Alexey Eremenko sr., though. The quality of SJK’s squad has dropped immensely since their title season, and Eremenko does simply not have the tools to work much better with.
Inter had a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against VPS, who had identified the zones between the outer centre backs and the wingbacks as the vulnerable points in Inter’s defence.
Nevertheless, Inter created enough chances to score at least one more goal, but poor finishing and a bar kept the score to one. Although VPS created a fair share of chances as well, the quality was not that good, and the result was not exactly fair.
Now, SJK beat Inter earlier this season at Veritas Stadium with a solid tactical performance. However, I think Eremenko’s cards have been exposed now, and I would be surprised if José Riveiro has not learned his lesson. Inter avoiding a loss here is fully expected.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Inter Turku DNB at 1.900
Preview by: @konformisten.
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