VPS v IFK Mariehamn
After a demoralizing 0-2 home defeat to rivals SJK, VPS fell into total decadence as they got brutalized 4-1 at TPS. Yes, at TPS. Their hosts may have played their best game of the season but 4-1 is still far from an acceptable result.
Last season VPS were looking great until the very end of July. Second or even top of the table and European success – success according to Finnish standards, that is – fell into dust very rapidly and VPS could not win a single game in 14 matches.
Although VPS season had not been so far as glorious as 2017, the third place in a tight race for the last European spot did look good for the Vaasa team. However, it does look awfully similar to last year’s complete collapse, where the offense lost all their imagination and the defense, and foremost the goalkeeper, was not trustworthy.
Speaking of trustworthy goalkeeping, Mariehamn solved their main issue of the season by recruiting a new goalkeeper, and he kept another clean sheet against Honka, VPS rival in the race for a third spot. Convenient for Mariehamn, Honka and VPS play rather similar football, and as the Islanders’ defensive choice of tactic was highly successful last weekend, I cannot see why it would fail against an ill-formed VPS.
Historically, VPS has been a favorite opponent to Mariehamn. However, earlier this season VPS put on a show when IFK visited Elisa stadium. I would not take too much count on that as VPS played far better back then, and IFK Mariehamn had a stomach flu plaguing the squad.
After poor results during derby days, the 4-1 defeat at TPS is just hard to fathom, which is the reason why I believe VPS have lost this season. Albeit Mariehamn are not showing that many signs of improvement, VPS are at the moment, one of the easiest clubs to face right now.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK Mariehamn 0.50 at 1.910
FC Honka v FC Lahti
In the las preview, I expected Honka to cruise to a victory at their hosts, IFK Mariehamn’s, behalf. However, Honka fell into the same trap Petri Vuorinen’s VPS has so often earlier done. Possession for the sake of cracking the defense is a trendy concept and so on, but there has to be other options when you face a side like IFK Mariehamn.
The Islanders defended patiently with a low-block, never falling into Vesa Vasara’s trap, that is trying to press high and disrupting defensive formations. As Vasara failed to counter Mariehamn’s defensive patience, I am starting to wonder whether or not Honka are starting to develop a similar negative trend as VPS last year. Opponents simply know how to shut them down, and albeit Vasara has aimed for a broader variety in offense than Vuorinen, it looks like the players somehow become numb and lackluster as Fall starts.
Lahti are still the same Lahti they have been for ages, save for finally losing again. If Honka’s trend is seemingly negative, then Lahti’s is clearly negative. Scoring is again a problem, and as I expected in the previous preview, their crossing-focused offense gave no fruit against RoPS. Their only goal was a 35-yard screamer.
Which is what I believe Lahti will be hoping for against Honka as well. Although Honka have a weaker defense than RoPS, they still have the collective quality and a smart coach to shut down the flanks.
On the other hand, Lahti have a solid defense as well, which means that Honka have to step up big time from last round, if they wish to get a positive result. I am a bit skeptical towards Honka’s last third of the season, which is why I see value in an under game.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 goals at 1.840
Inter Turku v RoPS
I have said it several times, in fact, so many times I am sure both you and I have grown tired of it, but Inter’s season is long gone. It’s evident to you, me, and them. However, that does not mean what it used to mean a month or two ago.
John Allen and Kari Virtanen are really doing something unfathomable at Inter, something no one has done since Job Dragtsma was the gaffer. Inter look somewhat like a team and they are winning consecutive games.
While they have now drawn at Lahti and lost at home to KuPS, there is still plenty of positive atmosphere around the club, which is a first since Dragtsma did well – and that is a long time ago. Benjamin Källman was sold to Dundee FC, and although he was not the sole offensive force for Inter – his 8 goals being spread out over 5 games – it is a setback for the remainder of Inter’s season.
RoPS took a solid away win at Lahti on Monday evening. Vahid Hambo had already proved himself to be more than worthy a shot at RoPS, but at Kisapuisto it was Erfan Zeneli’s time to prove himself. His 1-2 goal and an overall great game gave his club full three points.
Inter were unfortunate losing to KuPS, with a penalty miss right at the end of the match, too. Henceforth, albeit RoPS’ brilliant form I am not too confident on neither side really. What I do believe in, however, is a match short on goals.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Under 2.50 goals at 1.760
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