Kalju v Pärnu
Kalju haven’t won in 5 league matches, dating all the way back to 13th August, which was a 2-1 victory against Legion, and have only scored 3 goals in those matches. Kalju have played the other 3 of the so-called big 4 during this spell, losing 2 of them against Flora and Paide. A frustrating 0-0 draw last time out against Kuressaare, a game in which they couldn’t get past 1st gear and were generally 2nd best for the 90 minutes. Confidence is clearly low in Kalju camp now, there’s a real threat of losing the final European spot in the league to Paide. This game with Pärnu has come at the right time.
You have to put your calendars back to the 6th May to find where Pärnu last won a game. It’s the same old story with Pärnu, some spirited displays to start the match and then slowly fading out as the quality shines through from the opposition. You can see that frustration is clearly starting to get into the heads of the players, lots of needless yellow and red cards have come the team’s way in recent weeks. Last weekend saw a 2-1 defeat to a 10 man Paide. Pärnu really gave it a go, but just couldn’t snatch that goal they needed.
Both teams are at full strength, with no suspension or injuries to talk of. Alex Tamm will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, due to being overlooked for the most recent Estonian National Team games, despite calls from fans and the media for his inclusion. Pärnu will need the strike force of Ronaldo Tiismaa and Kevin Kauber on song to stand any chance, There’s been just six meetings between these 2 sides. With Kalju winning 5 of them. Pärnu won the 1st meeting between these 2 last April in an impressive 1-0 win. Since then, Kalju have scored an average of 3 goals a game against Pärnu whilst keeping 3 clean sheets in the last 3 matches. Despite the poor form of Kalju, this is the ideal fixture to kick start their season and regain some much-needed confidence.
Narva v Flora
Narva come into this game in fairly decent form to be fair, only lost 3 games in their last 12 matches. Having been relegation candidates only a few months, Narva can safely say they’ll be playing Premium Liiga football next year. An impressive 6-1 victory away to Legion last weekend, has extended the unbeaten run to 3 games. Denys Dedechko scored from near the halfway line in that game, whilst Narva legend Aleksandr Zakarlyuka got back on the scoresheet following a frustrating season with injuries.
Narva’s unbeaten run is nothing compared to their opponents. Flora are now on a 43 game unbeaten streak, dating back to last August. They sit 10 points clear at the top of the table with just 8 games remaining and look set to reclaim their title. Flora beat Tammeka 1-0 last week, and it probably should have been 3 or 4 if it wasn’t for their former goalkeeper Richard Aland keeping them out for Tammeka.
Flora have a full squad to choose from, and this could be an ideal opportunity to rotate the squad and test some of the fringe players. Aleksandr Sapovalov has scored 10 goals in just 7 games for the U21 in the 2nd division and could use that form with the 1st team. Vladislav Kreida will be hoping to perform too, having failed to secure a transfer abroad during the summer. Narva could be without Nikita Mihhailov who came off early against Legion, so Cem Felek could step in to replace him. Other than that they have a full squad to choose from.
Flora have won 17 times in the last 20 matches between these 2, with Narva not winning one, with an average of over 3 goals a game too. Despite Narva’s recent resurgence it’s hard to see them breaking their winless run against Flora here. Even on a bad day Flora should steal a victory, and there are not many of those recently.
Tammeka v Tallinna Kalev
Tammeka have had an up and down season and will be looking forward to the off season to regroup, having said that, they’ve only lost once in 6 games and are performing at a much higher standard than the previous 18 months. Kalev find themselves in a bit of a predicament, many would say they are safe from relegation but with 8 to play and games against Legion and Pärnu, anything is possible.
Tammeka have been a lot more stable in recent games, especially in defence conceding just 3 goals in their last 5 games. Attacking they’ve been relying heavily on Kevin Mätas, his 8 goals this season is a main reason why Tammeka are not in a relegation battle.
Kalev’s luck defensively is the complete opposite, conceding an incredible 18 goals in their last 5 games, but also scoring themselves in 4 out of the 5 games. Foday Trawally will be missing for the next few games after being sent off for violent conduct, his attacking creativity will be missed in this one.
In the 3 games against each other this season, Kalev lead 2-1 on wins, with goals flowing in both of the games, however games involving Tammeka are usually scarce for goals with 50% of games this season for Tammeka have finished with less than 3 goals, this is something to overlook for this game as Kalev do have the worst defence in the league, conceding 83 goals, 6 of which were by Tammeka. Kalev are no slouches in scoring themselves, only failing to do so in 10 games this season. An always improving Tammeka may prove to be too much for Kalev.
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