KPV v Honka
In their fight against relegation, KPV have started picking up vibes of a positive trend. However, it is too little too late as for now. They have recorded two shock victories against top sides KuPS and HJK, while losing to two other bottom teams, FC Lahti and HIFK.
Nevertheless, this minor positive vibe comes in handy when VPS have finally left their winless streak, albeit they have, so far, only recorded that single win. In fact, they were not too far away from grabbing a very precious point at Veritas Stadium. Ishmel Yartey scored his fourth goal in five games since arriving to KPV, and looks like a very worthy recruitment in the race against relegation.
Unfortunate to KPV, Inter are the side to beat against bottom teams. In an interesting comparison by @finsvenskan, Inter show up with zero losses against the bottom half, winning 7 out of 10 matches. Additionally, Inter could have scored at least twice before the equalizer, so all in all, it was a very fair home victory to Inter.
What KPV did fairly well against Inter, and have done so at least since Jani Uotinen took charge, was how they stocked up the central lanes. However, they did this at the cost of the flanks, where it was an open road for Inter’s wide men.
Stocking up the central zones creates a good opportunity for KPV to react quickly to positive transitions, and with their wide men lying so far up, they can punish their opposition for lying to narrowly or too high.
However, if there is one side in Veikkausliiga that enjoys attacking on wide more than Inter, it is Honka. In my opinion, Honka are astonishingly poor attacking from the central lanes for having so much quality in the squad, which might be the reason that they are, more or less, outside of the podium race. Against KPV, they should have no problems of keeping their slim chances alive.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Honka -0.25 at 1.862
Ilves v FC Inter
Ilves had this odd thing of facing HIFK in two consecutive rounds – which would have been fairly normal with the earlier series system but I guess nothing is really shocking what it comes to Veikkausliiga and schedulinga – drawing first – a bit luckily, too – at Telia5G and then clearly winning home at Tammela.
What makes Ilves the favorites to win the league is their consistency no matter whom they face – save for KuPS, that is. Ilves are in top when comparing matches against the top half and the bottom half (a bit old statistics, point still stands), with Inter being the only side to be better against weaker teams.
What Ilves have also done well this year is bouncing back from a conceded goal. HIFK took the lead at Tammela, despite Ilves being the one creating most of the chances. They responded only one minute later with a goal, and although HIFK managed to put some pressure on their hosts, Mika Hilander stood his ground and Ilves were the ones to use their scoring opportunities.
I have already partially analyzed Inter’s victory home against KPV. What I have not mentioned is, how superior they were. Until KPV scored the equalizer, it was not only Filip Valencic who got to scoring opportunites, but Mika Ojala and Timo Furuholm as well. Something that speaks well for Inter’s offence, that has quite obviously been dependent on their Slovenian star’s capability to deliver.
However, the inefficiency in these scoring chances is something that has bothered Inter all season long – save for Valencic – which also keeps me doubtful for their hopes in the title race. Ilves have been far better against top sides this year, and I trust them to avoid a loss at home against Inter.
Asian Hcp Betting Recommendation: Ilves 0.00 at 2.330
VPS v HIFK
After grabbing their first win for the season, I believed VPS would finally pick themselves up and seriously start their race against the clock. Avoiding relegation qualifiers seems too distant but managing direct relegation and picking up the differential of four points to KPV, however, did not seem to be that.
And then VPS go to Kuopio and look like a team that deserves nothing less than relegation. A 5-0 defeat is something VPS has usually suffered only at HJK, and I cannot help myself from wondering whether this first victory was too big of a mental relief to the whole team.
The scoreline was 4-0 already after the first half, which really is enough to say about how poor VPS were. This kind of thing happens exclusively – sure, IFK Mariehamn were not too far from this at home against KuPS earlier this year but they bounced back in the second half – to teams that are more or less set for relegation.
I have been surprised by HIFK all season long, however, I have been even more surprised lately as Divock Origi’s cousin Arnold has been sidelined and the generally disliked goalkeeper Daniel Kollar has been playing instead.
Origi has gained plenty of admiration for HIFK’s defensive success, however, Daniel Kollar has surely not been as bad as he has earlier been judged as. I think this says something about HIFK’s defense in general, too.
VPS are in a dire need of points to end their regular season in slightly less catastrophic position, while HIFK have merely theoretical chances to finish in the top half. Albeit the hosts have plenty much more stakes in here, I would be surprised if they managed to win for a second time this year, this time.
Asian Hcp Betting Recommendation: HIFK +0.25 at 1.690
Preview by: @konformisten.