Jerv v Viking
Time is very much running out for Jerv this season. They claimed a somewhat surprise 2-1 victory away to Sandefjord last week but then lost in midweek 0-1 at home to Aalesund. They desperately needed to beat Aalesund because they remain six points behind the relegation playoff spot, which is realistically the best they can hope to achieve now. Jerv have lost a massive 19 out of 26 Eliteserien games this season. They have done their best to compete and must be given credit for grinding out some results at times, especially at home. But quite simply this squad is not cut out for top level Norwegian football and the club doesn’t have the financial resources. Jerv are statistically terrible at both ends of the field. Their 20 goals scored is by far the worst tally of any team, whilst defensively their 60 goals conceded has been far too many. Their average xGA per 90 mins is as big as 2.31 so this is a legitimately terrible backline. Jerv have three suspended players for this game, defender Erik Sandberg and midfielders Erik Brenden & Leo Fernandes. There are injury doubts with Amadou Diallo and centre back Dylan Mboumbouni.
Viking head into this match in poor form with just 1 win in their last 10 league games. Their season has totally plummeted after an impressive start. A combination of injuries, key transfers out of the club and also a brutal European qualifying run are probably to blame. They lost 0-1 at home to Sarpsborg last week but probably deserved better and it also came just a few days after playing extra time in the Norwegian Cup. Viking have had a full week of rest ahead of this game compared to their opponents Jerv who will be playing their third game in the space of seven days. This is an ideal chance for Viking to get back on track with a victory. They recently won away against struggling Ham Kam 2-1 and this is a similar sort of fixture, albeit against far worse opposition. Viking have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 11 Eliteserien fixtures, although did manage to beat Kristiansund 1-0 in that aforementioned cup tie last week. Team news is favourable for the visitors with only left back Shayne Pattynama a likely absentee.
Viking’s poor form is of course a worry, but they are much the better team with a lot better quality. I am expecting them to win fairly comfortably, so backing them at a price of 1.57 makes sense. This is a very favourable situation because of who they face, but also Jerv could be tired both mentally and physically after a gruelling run of games. When you consider the triple suspension and injury team news for the hosts then Viking definitely look like the top option.
Sarpsborg v Tromso
This should be a terrific game of football between two teams who are now safely in the top half of the table. At certain stages this season then each side were definitely involved in the relegation battle but have pulled through extremely well to make this a 7th vs 6th place clash. Sarpsborg really were staring down the barrel of a gun after suffering 8 consecutive defeats, but then a miraculous late comeback vs Ham Kam has totally transformed their season.
Manager Stefan Billborn, who was perhaps fortunate to keep his job must be delighted that his team have obtained 16 points from a possible 18 recently. Sarpsborg have even kept consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season, not that I would trust this defence which still has an xGA of 1.84 per 90 mins. The big strength of this Sarpsborg team is an attack force which has scored an impressive 48 goals this season.
Only the top three sides have netted more times and Sarpsborg have the third best xG in the division (50.96). A key player contributing towards their recent good form has been attacking midfielder Tobias Heintz who has scored 7 goals and supplied 2 assists in the last 8 games.
Tromsø travel here in good form having won 6 of their last 10 league games. Last week, they came from 1-2 down to beat Odd 3-2 in injury time. Their away form is not as impressive this year with just 1 victory in 13 fixtures. That did come in their most recent road game though with a 2-1 victory at Godset. Tromsø are definitely trending upwards but do have some defensive issues which they need to live with for the remainder of the campaign.
Centre back Jostein Gundersen broke his eye socket in a terrible recent training blow, whilst right wing back Niklas Vesterlund has a back problem. Both are probably finished for this season. Tromsø also have another defender Christophe Psyche doubtful with injury for this match. Gaute Helstrup’s men have only kept one clean sheet in their last 12 league games and can certainly be targeted defensively right now.
There is no pressure on either team and both can enjoy their last four games. Each would like to finish 6th so there is enough of a dangling carrot to create sufficient motivation as well. I am expecting this to be an excellent entertaining game, probably quite end to end containing several chances and goals. There’s no reason to think that this will be a tight and closed fixture. Over 2.5 goals looks like an excellent price at 1.65. There is certainly enough attacking firepower and defensive question marks for at least three goals to be scored.
Bodo/Glimt v Kristiansund
This is a battle between two teams at opposite ends of the table. Bodø/Glimt have not been able to defend their Eliteserien crown this season but if they win their last four games then they would at least secure the silver medal position. This would appear to be perhaps their easiest remaining game, although Kristiansund are fighting for their lives. Bodø/Glimt had a sticky run at the start of September which coincided with a brutal European qualifying run.
They now have another tough stretch coming up with Europa League games vs PSV Eindhoven and FC Zurich on the horizon. Domestically though, Glimt have found some great form again with back to back 4-1 victories vs Lillestrøm & Sandefjord before absolutely smashing Vålerenga 6-0 last week. Make no mistake, this is still an exceptional team who are especially impressive as an attacking juggernaut.
Kjetil Knutsen’s men have scored a massive 70 goals in 26 games and have a very impressive 2.33 xG per 90 mins. With a plethora of talent in the final third of the field such as Pellegrino, Vetlesen & Joel Mushiga they are still very much feared.
Kristiansund have certainly improved in the last couple of months but will be disappointed they have only obtained two points from their last four games. There was an expectation that KBK would have a good chance of beating Haugesund at home last week, but they succumbed to a 0-1 loss, missing several chances along the way.
KBK are five points behind the relegation playoff spot and will be giving it absolutely everything they can here. This is a very difficult game for them though, not least because their recent H2H record vs Bodø/Glimt is absolutely terrible. For some reason, manager Christian Michelsen does not match up well to Glimt and they’ve lost all of their last 8 consecutive fixtures vs the team from the Arctic Circle.
Bear in mind, Kristiansund have been a solid midtable team in recent seasons so there is clearly something in this H2H which needs to be considered. Kristiansund could certainly get on the scoresheet here, but their defence continues to be terrible with 52 goals conceded and keeping just one clean sheet all season.
Bodo Glimt should win the match comfortably but when teams are fighting for their lives you have to consider the fact that motivation is a serious factor. I am expecting a high scoring match, but I would rather take the Bodø/Glimt team total over 2.5 on their own individually. This team has been firing on all cylinders of late, netting a massive 14 goals in their last 3 games.
I would be surprised if Kristiansund have the defensive resistance to keep them quiet. Rather than worrying about a handicap covering or a bigger goal line, Glimt to score a minimum of three goals on their own looks like a solid selection.
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