HJK v FC Inter

The cup finalists meet already for the third time this season, although the second meeting was in the national cup. Nonetheless, this gives both sides an interesting setup to the game.

Titleholders HJK chose pragmatism as their priority number one after the cup final defeat. When they visited Inter’s local rivals TPS, HJK grabbed a 0-1 win. Albeit a rather modest score against promotees, it was still full three points for the blue and white side.

Altogether HJK’s situation starts to look critical for us outsiders. Fans do not recognize their team that starts securing a one-goal lead against a far weaker opponent, and there is nothing special to watch in HJK’s football at the moment.

Meanwhile, Inter gaffer Fabrizio Piccareta has finally thrown the typically Italian three-back line in the trashcan. Mister Piccareta chose a typically English 4-4-2 formation against SJK with success.

Inter’s defense had so far worked only against HJK but now that they’ve seemed to find stability in formation, they could keep a clean sheet at SJK, too. A leaking defense was clearly Piccareta’s biggest issue, which he now has solved. However, offensively there is still work to do.

As HJK are trying to minimize damage through coach Mika Lehkosuo’s return to his engineer-like orientation, I do not think they will find it any easier barely a week after the cup final. Inter’s defense has been thick as a brick wall against HJK this season, and as Lehkosuo is not exactly known to be a reactive coach, I expect another tight match between these two clubs.

Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 at 2.210

VPS v KuPS

Ilves and VPS met in the previous round in a fixture that is starting to become an infamous classic. Jarkko Wiss and Petri Vuorinen are seemingly each other’s kryptonite, resulting in immensely boring 0-0 draws.

For VPS, it did not help much that the squad has started to wear off of the intense Spring schedule. Swiss Super League club FC Sion’s loanee Marco Privitera – who has absolutely nothing to do in Veikkausliiga – made his debut, which tells a lot about the health status of VPS squad.

KuPS suffered their casualties two rounds ago at RoPS, where they lost 2-0. Although still missing Reuben Gabriel against IFK Mariehamn, KuPS with smoking hot Rasmus Karjalainen defeated the ever-so physical team by 2-1.

Egyptian international Abdalla El-Said, who signed for KuPS to get into match form prior to the World cup, made his final appearance against Mariehamn. Besides the superstar, KuPS are only missing defender Tabi Manga.

After this round, there will be two more fixtures before a 10-day international break. For VPS the schedule is a lot more challenging, facing first Lahti away and then SJK at home in an important derby. Meanwhile, KuPS host bottom club Kemi and visit another bottom side TPS.

Henceforth, KuPS are in a favorable position to play their best line-up, as they also have a very healthy squad. VPS, on the other hand, have some injury woes and a tougher schedule ahead. KuPS will likely dominate this game, and VPS will have a hard time to fight against it.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: KuPS -0.50 at 2.280

TPS v FC Honka

A 0-1 loss as a newcomer against the reigning champions is not seemingly a poor result, however, against an HJK, who are in the midst of an existential crisis, the lack of any signs of progress is concerning.

TPS had two great chances in the game, and typical TPS, they could not execute them. The first chance occurred already during the first 15 minutes, which was followed by a very lackluster performance. TPS looked exactly what a newcomer is expected to show against the champions, allowing chance after another.

The second half was more of the TPS we have seen earlier this season. One shot in the post and a hint of pseudodominant ball possession. There is the obvious problem with goal scoring, however, the defense is extremely prone to wide attacks. The midfield puts up a stable line while defending but they are little to help for the defensive line behind them. The defenders are often left alone, with their midfield teammates reacting too slowly.

Attacking wide is something especially Jonas Levänen of Honka enjoys. The Espoo-kid returned home from VPS as a Bosman and has shown all the reasons why he deserves a spot in a league starting line-up. Altogether, Honka’s signing have been successful, with the latest addition Macoumba Kandji bringing in some sassiness in the striker section.

This is rematch of last year’s decisive match in Ykkönen who would gain the automatic promotion. TPS were victorious that time, however, Honka is the side that has taken the step up on the pitch to league level, while TPS has remained more in last year’s level.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: FC Honka DNB at 2.000

By Petteri Räisänen – @konformisten from @FootballUtd

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