KPV v VPS
Simo Roiha was the centre of attention as his KPV visited his former side RoPS in Rovaniemi in the midnight match. Roiha was the man behind virtually KPV’s only chances, however, showing very well why exactly he was not that valued in Rovaniemi.
Taye Taiwo got a red card before the half hour mark with Reguero saving Roiha’s penalty shot. Despite playing for more than an hour with man advantage, KPV could not create really anything against their hosts.
As Hendrik Helmke was missing, I would dare to conclude that this match exhibited rather accurately the importance of Helmke in KPV’s offensive threat. The strikers are far off from league quality, leaving Helmke basically as the sole threat from the central zones.
As VPS lost to Ilves at Elisa stadium by 1-2, their last home win in Veikkausliiga celebrated its first anniversary the 4th of July. A sad story which of the players were clearly conscious about, judging from their reactions as the ref blew the final whistle.
The mental load on VPS squad is quite obvious, as exhibited in the previous example. Additionally, despite getting an early lead a couple of times this season, just like against Ilves, they simply cannot keep it together for full 90 minutes.
VPS defence is a mess and they keep conceding far too many shots. Even though some of the issues have been addressed, especially the fact that the amount of shots around the edge of the box has been way too high, in this pace the ship will continue sinking.
This is a matchup between two poor sides, where the hosts can only win if their opponents play poorly. I see a clear upside on VPS, who after all, have a lot stronger squad.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS +0.50 at 1.620
RoPS v IFK Mariehamn
So, RoPS hosted KPV literally around the midnight as the sun kind of never sets in Lapland around this time of the year. Despite the natural phenomenon, the game itself was no spectacle.
Sure, RoPS played with one man less for over an hour, but in my opinion that opened even more chances to counter attacks for RoPS. Despite having an open lane several times during that hour, the quality of RoPS offensive pieces is simply too low to get much out of it.
Aleksandr Kokko is still in need of at least a couple of months of conditioning before finding his best form, Youness Rahimi is highly unreliable, and the rest get to goal chances simply way too seldom. RoPS defense has improved clearly under Pasi Tuutti, but the offense is still quite harmless.
As IFK Mariehamn’s great form ended, so did Aristote Mboma’s, or vice versa. I would like to see it as Mboma scoring more than expected during that run, and him scoring, in fact, now less than expected as Mariehamn have struggled to gain points.
Lately, the Islanders have had a tough schedule facing Honka, HJK, and Ilves in the cup final, losing twice. As a sidenote I have to mention them losing to Lahti before these three fixtures, which says something about how deep their dip was or is. Anyway, in the 2-2 draw home at Wiklöf Holding, IFK were great offensively against Honka but horrible defensively. Defending inside the box was atrocious as it has been at times this season, which I really cannot get a grip of.
I see this matchup very equal, with the guests somewhat undervalued. RoPS defense without Taye Taiwo is so much more unstable, hence, I see a good opportunity for Mariehamn’s offense to continue their fine form.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK Mariehamn +0.25 at 1.680
Ilves v SJK
Despite conceding early in the beginning of the match at Elisa stadium against VPS, Ilves had a fairly effortless job to cruise past their hosts to another victory.
The league leaders have had a bump in their defensive form after starting the season with a sensational run, conceding six goals in their last five matches (including the cup final). However, their offense has surely gained a huge boost from the somewhat dull start to the season.
Lauri Ala-Myllymäki was awarded as the player of the month in Veikkausliiga, and together with Paul Emile Tendeng he has been behind the hot offensive streak of Ilves.
SJK were very lucky beating Inter at home by 2-1. Their guests had the game in full control the first half but could not find the net despite creating several dangerous chances. Only a wonder goal by Filip Valencic around the hour mark gave Inter their deserved lead.
However, as Inter had been wasting their chances – and Mihkel Aksalu stopping them – in the first hour of game, their hosts got more into the game after finally conceding. A skilled header from a corner and a poorly judged penalty sealed a home victory for SJK.
Nevertheless, SJK’s central defending was generally good, and the space Inter had on especially their left flank did not produce much. Just like VPS, SJK had also recognized Lucho Balbi’s zone as Inter’s weak spot in defense, where the Spaniard does not cooperate that well with Juuso Hämäläinen.
In the end, SJK did not deserve full three points and should be considered as clear underdogs at Tammela.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ilves -0.50 at 1.980
Preview by: @konformisten.
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