Tromsø v Jerv
This match means more to Jerv, but I am not sure if they are good enough to make use of their motivational edge. The promoted minnows are now drinking at the last chance saloon with only three games left to play. Jerv are five points behind the Eliteserien relegation playoff spot but have two difficult fixtures vs Tromsø and then at home to medal hunting Rosenborg next week. They are the worst team in the division which isn’t a surprise when you consider their squad and resources. Jerv have done well to be relatively competitive, although most of their decent results have been at home. Here on the road, they’ve lost a massive 11 out of 13 games with a 12:37 goal differential. Jerv did win their most recent road fixture 2-1 at Sandefjord, but this will be a far more difficult trip to the Arctic Circle. Jerv’s shocking defence continues to be a huge problem and their 62 goals conceded is the joint worst in the Eliteserien. Their xGA average of 2.32 per 90 mins shows how legitimately poor they are at the back.
Tromsø had home nightmares last season, but they have improved their results at Alfheim Stadion this year. Their overall home record is 8-3-2 with only Sarpsborg and the new champions Molde able to beat them on their own patch. Results have been even better recently, winning 6 of their last 7 fixtures at this venue. With a good finish to the season, Tromso could yet finish as high as 5th place, but they are effectively guaranteed a decent midtable spot. Their motivation could be slightly questionable compared to Jerv who are fighting for their lives. Tromsø are still having to deal with defensive issues with Niklas Vesterlund and Jostein Gundersen ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury. Centre back Christophe Psyche is also doubtful for this game. Gutan are spearheaded by their attacking midfield duo of Eric Kitolano and August Mikkelsen who have both had impressive campaigns.
Tromsø are a very short price to win this match at 1.22. They should win, but with Jerv battling hard against relegation the result is perhaps not as clear cut compared to what most expect. I think a better bet is to take over 2.5 goals. Tromsø could cover this goal line on their own, but it is worth noting that Jerv have scored at least one goal in 6 of their last 7 games. Their terrible defensive metrics in addition to the away side having to likely take more risk should lead towards a naturally open game of football. Jerv are in a desperate situation but should like their chances of scoring vs a Tromsø outfit who only have one clean sheet in 13 league games.
Kristiansund v Aalesunds
Time is running out for Kristiansund, but all is not lost quite yet. Christian Michelsen’s men have a five point deficit to make up on the relegation playoff spot and only three games left in which to chase down Sandefjord. They need some help from other teams but the most important thing they can do is control their own performances and results. With home games vs Aalesund and Jerv still to come. Kristiansund simply must take this opportunity and put some pressure on the teams around them. To be fair, KBK have been much more competitive since the end of the summer. A three game winning streak appeared to give them hope, but they are now winless in five straight games. The year long problem of a terrible defence continues to plague this team and their 57 goals conceded is simply not good enough.
Aalesund travel here in good form but now the question of motivation will apply to this team. They’ve obtained 10 points from their last 4 games but are now officially safe. Aalesund have given a lot of effort and fought really hard in the last few matches and now they can almost relax as the season comes to a conclusion. Motivation, desire, and drive is always difficult to predict with some football teams but my feeling with Aalesund is they won’t be quite as sharp and committed in the final three rounds. They are a team that relies on defence, structure, and organisation in which to succeed. Now that they are safe then teams who operate in this fashion are more likely to lose focus in my opinion. Aalesund have kept clean sheets in three consecutive games but will come under a barrage of attacks from a Kristiansund side who will be giving it everything to survive.
I think it is now or never for Kristiansund and they simply must win this match. Failure to take victory could see them get relegated on the day and they will not want that to happen. I think they are a big price to get 3 points at odds of 2.20. Let’s not forget it wasn’t so long ago they were beating good teams such as Vålerenga here at home, and they should have also got a win vs Rosenborg. The home crowd will get behind this team and they can keep this relegation dogfight interesting by collecting victory. A draw is no good to Kristiansund, so I think backing them straight on the nose to win represents some decent value.
Viking v Molde
Molde have already won the Eliteserien title but have endured a difficult week in Europe. They were 2-0 up vs Swedish outfit Djurgården at home but eventually lost 2-3. They must now go to Belgian side Gent on Thursday evening to obtain at least a draw in order to qualify for the Conference League knockout phase. Domestically, Molde have absolutely smashed it this season. They are the runway league champions with 69 points after 27 games. Molde have won an astonishing 14 Eliteserien matches in a row and the last time they were beaten was way back on 7th May, where ironically their opponents here Viking claimed a shock 4-3 victory from 0-3 down. Maybe Molde will have an intent of revenge here or maybe they will have more focus on their upcoming European game. They’ve scored 63 goals so far this season and will surely fancy their chances of feasting vs a Viking defence which hasn’t kept a clean sheet in any of its last 12 fixtures. Perhaps there could be some squad rotation but Molde have a lot of depth to call upon if needed.
Viking have been sinking like a lead balloon for quite some time. They couldn’t even beat rock bottom Jerv last week and have now only won 3 of their last 19 league games. That is relegation-type form, and they are fortunate that their first third of the season was strong. Viking have a lot of work to do over the course of the winter to get back to where they want to be at, but this year has been plagued by injuries, key transfers out of the club and a brutal summer European qualifying campaign which saw them get knocked out in heart-breaking fashion. They will be fired up for this game because Molde at home is always a big fixture, but Viking are a very difficult team to trust right now. Maybe they can get some inspiration from the fact they could potentially beat the champions twice in one season.
Molde are 1.91 favourites here which is a difficult price to judge. They have won 14 consecutive league games, so come the end of the 90 mins these odds could look absolutely massive. However, Molde don’t have much left to play for now and could have other distractions on their mind. I like the idea of backing the goals here. 11 of the last 12 Viking games have all contained over 2.5 goals and their defence has been especially terrible. Molde have the best defensive record in the league but I don’t expect they’ll be quite so committed compared to normal. The reverse fixture ended 4-3 and this is the sort of high profile game which usually yields plenty of goals. Over 2.5 can be backed as big as 1.50, which at this stage of the season seems a perfectly acceptable price.
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