IFK Mariehamn v SJK
The pride of the Åland Isles, IFK Mariehamn, reacted to their abysmal form by signing Keaton Isaksson from Kemi, goalkeeper Igor Levchenko from Ukrainian Mariupol, and adding Hamed Coulibaly on loan from KuPS. The 2016 league champions have grabbed only 4 points out of their 10 previous games, which has dropped them second to last.
The need for the additions have been evident ever since preseason, as each field of play has lacked that something. Coulibaly had a tough time in KuPS this season, where he was expected to take a leading role as a center back. However, it became soon obvious that he could not fill Nikko Boxall’s boots. Next to Kristian Kojola, on the other hand, he will likely feel more comfortable and play on the same level as last year in KuPS.
Keaton Isaksson was probably the last nugget to dig from Kemi, who are desperately trying their everything to avoid bankruptcy in the midst of other chaos. Isaksson is a young promising offensive midfielder, who is expected to do a better job than the now obvious flop Simon Silverholt.
Just like their hosts, SJK started investing heavily as soon as the transfer window opened. The eminent lack of wingers was settled by two lads well known by the Eremenko family. Trinidadian Shahdon Winchester was great under Eremenko sr. a few years back in Jaro, and Ukrainian former international Denys Oliynyk played with Eremenko jr. in Metalist Kharkiv.
Another familiarity joined SJK, however this signing is a bit off an odd one. Peter Odiyo played as a central mid for Eremenko sr. the season Jaro got relegated and was nothing particularly special back then. Central mid is anyhow a well-stacked area in SJK, so go figure.
So far Mariehamn have made the better, or should I say more logic, additions than SJK. Albeit they were in desperate need of wingers, and this might ease the knot of problems in Seinäjoki, I do not think we will see the effect of it, yet.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: IFK Mariehamn DNB at 1.847
TPS Turku v Ilves
As TPS a bit sneakily climbed first past PS Kemi and IFK Mariehamn, they did it by creating a 6 game long undefeated streak at home. Home was where TPS struggled the most and worst in the beginning of the season, not scoring at all in their 6 first home games.
Although a settling 10th position and two straight home wins, TPS know that they cannot feel too settled. Not after seeing how IFK Mariehamn – and SJK for that matter – are sizing up to level up in the transfer window, and losing away both to HJK and Honka, although quite expectedly so. Therefore, TPS received to players on try-out but I refuse to comment them as they are completely unknown to pretty much all of us. However, it is the message they are sending that matters. That TPS have not given all they have got, yet. Just like Mariehamn and SJK.
Their visitors, on the contrary, are showing no signs of replenishing. A quick exit from Europe against Slavia Sofia was just as expected as FC Lahti embarrassing the whole football nation of Finland – I will repeat myself later – as Ilves had started to fall further and further away from the race for a third spot in the league table.
Ilves simply do not have the resources to make any fancier additions, save for a random guy neither you or I have heard of. However, that is where Jarkko Wiss’ and Ilves’ charm lies, paradoxically it is also likely the reason why Ilves might finish in the bottom half this year.
Still, it is worth to remember that TPS have not made any new signings yet, and even if they made them, it is highly unlikely that the new lads would fit in any other team (excluding Kemi). TPS wins are from other relegation battling teams, and as Ilves is not in that group and Jarkko Wiss is a way better coach, I am calling for an away win and a spark of hope for the away team.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Ilves -0.50 at 2.330
VPS v FC Lahti
Speaking of money and the lack of it – wow, the preview above is really inspiring – VPS coin chest is kind of empty, too. I mean empty as in making solid signings, not as in “we forgot to pay taxes” empty. The two Sion loanees stay for the rest of the season, and home-grown Samu Alanko returned from Austria to get a new chance to break through in Veikkausliiga.
In addition to that, two Ghanaian players are on some sort of a weird tryout where they go to Sweden to play… yeah, I lost it too, and it is probably nothing significant for this season, at least.
Meanwhile, FC Lahti, who humiliated not only themselves but the whole country – not the first time they did this – as they lost to Icelandic FH in Europa League qualifiers, are trying to do something in the transfer market, although I am not sure what exactly.
First, they chose to pick out Oskari Forsman of all the worthful players from PS Kemi’s auctioning, when they already have a trustworthy – and better – goalkeeper in Siskovski. Secondly, Ville Salmikivi, who hardly has shown anything in the league, is barely a solution to Lahti’s goal scoring issues.
VPS are on the verge of a magical run of five wins after beating KuPS away in a disciplined manner. Lahti, on the other hand, had to wait until the very end of the game to beat a poor Mariehamn at home. The home squad is healthy and in excellent form but Lahti is no easy side to beat, so I’ll back it up a bit.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: VPS DNB at 1.770