Elfsborg v Norrköping
An exciting match-up between two sides struggling of late, with the home side on a six-match winless run and Norrköping bagging their first victory in nine games last time around in the Swedish Allsvenskan.
Elfsborg’s season hasn’t been catastrophic by any means, but for a team used to pushing for a top four position, sitting in 10th is disappointing to say the least. Their underlying numbers are solid (have created the 5th highest xG and scored the 4th most goals in the league) but having lost a couple of important players during the summer months, there’s a lack of cohesion in the starting XI. Too many individual mistakes in a newly composed backline have led to a lot of cheap goals being conceded and a change in goalkeeper to the inexperienced Valdimarsson. The recent departure of midfield engine Simon Olsson certainly hurts too, but it was a matter of time with the silky midfielder being linked abroad for a couple of seasons now.
IFK Norrköping’s dire run came to an end in the last game, overcoming strugglers Degerfors 2-0 at home. A well needed three points to take them further away from the relegation zone; the last few months have been a massive disappointment after a very strong start to the season. There were positive signs last time around, though, Totte Nyman getting back on the scoresheet and key player Jonathan Levi looking sharper again.
Only three points separate these two teams, and they’re both in dire need of points to climb up the table and give fans a bit of hope ahead of next season. While Elfsborg haven’t kept a clean sheet for 13 matches, Norrköping’s run of 11 without one isn’t much better. Expect to see goals at both ends here.
Häcken v Mjällby
The hosts took back the lead in the league last gameweek, impressively dismantling strugglers Helsingborg by a 5-0 scoreline, while Djurgården only managed a draw away at Värnamo. Youngster Uddenäs has had a breakthrough season and produced his best performance to date with a hat-trick to show for it. More importantly, it was their first clean sheet all season, however this probably has much to do with Helsingborg’s impotence in attack.
A team in incredible form, only fellow title contenders Djurgården have beaten them in the last 14 matches. Always produce a spectacle, being the highest scorers in the league, scoring an actual 42 goals and creating 35.7 xG. This is much down to the incredible season of Alexander Jeremejeff, undoubtedly the best striker in the league this campaign, he has 18 goals – 9 more than any other player.
Mjällby, meanwhile, are on an impressive run themselves, unbeaten in four matches and proving very difficult to overcome. Only three goals conceded in those matches while scoring five, their games tend to be closely contested. Young starlet Silas Nwankwo’s breakthrough has had a big part to play in their solid season to date, scoring six goals from only 3.6 xG, very important considering Mjällby rank lowest in the league for xG created.
While the away side has shown solid form, the run of games hasn’t been the toughest – facing Häcken is a different level of opposition. Häcken’s blistering attacking play should be more than enough to overcome a solid but unspectacular Mjällby team much more difficult to beat at their home ground. In fact, their last defeat was to the league leaders just over a month ago.
IFK Göteborg v Hammarby
A red-hot IFK Göteborg side, unbeaten in four and winning the last three, hosts Hammarby who themselves have been in fine form.
The home team has turned around its fortunes in impressive fashion; after a dire run of form without a win in six matches, they are now in title contention with six victories in eight since. Play has at times been stale this campaign, however several youngsters breaking through has made a massive difference to the feeling around the club as well as their overall team play. Three players aged 21 and under (Yakob, Carneil and Bångsbo) were selected in the Team of the Week after inspired performances in the 4-0 battering of Varberg last weekend. Carneil scored his first goal for the club in the match prior to that, a 2-0 win over Norrköping, after a beautiful drive up the pitch by Bångsbo, assisting the fellow academy product. Marcus Berg has come back to life of late too, scoring 7 in as many matches.
IFK’s last defeat was, in fact, against Monday’s opponents, a heavy 3-0 battering. The scoreline was fully deserved with Hammarby creating 3.16 xG to IFK’s 0.21, however it feels like there is a newfound belief around the club in recent times. In addition, IFK tend to fare much better on grass than artificial surfaces, especially at home – they’ve scored in every single game at Gamla Ullevi this season.
Hammarby have been impressive all season but especially of late, recording four 3-0 victories in the last five games, the only blip being a surprise defeat at the hands of newcomers Värnamo a fortnight ago. Their attacking power is such that they can beat pretty much any team when on song, although they sometimes struggle to break down deep defences. Star signing Berisha was handed his first start last week and didn’t disappoint, being heavily involved in open play, scoring a tap-in and hitting the post too. Other new arrivals have hit the ground running; Saidi has 2G/1A in 4 matches while Shaquille Pinas has slotted in seamlessly at LB.
With both teams firing on all cylinders and IFK strong at home, 1.6 represents good value for BTTS.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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