Brage v OIS
These are two sides that have enjoyed and endured very different starts to the season with Brage beginning the weekend’s round of fixtures sitting third in the table and OIS, still winless, sitting rock-bottom in the Superettan.
Under the management of Kleber Saarenpaa, the home team have been sat in the second-tier for this their fifth successive year. They are a side that have bounced around Sweden’s lower leagues but they have gained a reputation for being ‘comeback kings’ among their supporters, especially after their 2-2 draw away to Telleborg last weekend, whereby they scored two goals in two minutes to come back from 2-0 down.
OIS have lost four of their opening five matches with their only point of the season so far coming in a surprise 2-2 draw at home to Halmstad on the opening day of the campaign. Orgryte IS are a historic Swedish side with two Allsvenskan titles in the 1920’s but their fairly aggressive fanbase is growing unhappy at the start of this campaign.
The hosts remain without midfielder Adil Titi, who completed a successful surgery during the week. OIS do still have in-form forwards Sargon Abraham and Ajdin Zeljkovic so can pose a threat to the Brage goal.
Only AFC Eskilstuna have scored more goals than Brage this season and no team has conceded more than OIS. However, as mentioned, OIS have still proven to be a threat going forward and Brage have averaged 1.2 goals conceded per game so far this season. Brage will be expected to win this one quite comfortably but goals should be on the cards, regardless of the result.
Utsiktens v Dalkurd
With three victories in their last four matches, Utsikens will be very pleased with their start to the 2022 Superettan campaign. Dalkurd, on the other hand, have now suffered three successive defeats as they sit down towards the bottom end of the table at this early stage.
A comfortable victory away to bottom-of-the-table and still winless OIS last weekend gave Utsikens their third win of the year. Bosko Orovic’s side were promoted from the Division 1 Sodra last season so survival will be viewed as success this time around. It has, therefore, been a very promising and pleasing start.
Dalkurd have endured a pretty miserable campaign thus far. Aside from a 2-1 win at home to an inconsistent Trelleborg in their first home game of the season back in early April, they have lost all of their other matches. In doing so, the visitors have scored just two goals so far – the fewest in Sweden’s second-tier.
The home team have a clean bill of health heading into the sixth matchday of the season but Dalkurd will be without their off-season new signing Rewan Amin. Dalkurd are a club built and owned by the Kurds of Borlange and their squad matches a multi-cultural outset with 13 different nationalities represented.
Despite enjoying a surprisingly strong start to the campaign, Utsikens’ expected goals for the season averages out at just 0.58 goals per game – meaning they are currently overperforming. Given the fact they now come up against the league’s lowest scorers, this one isn’t expected to be a thriller.
Orebro v Ostersund
These are the two sides that finished in the bottom two places of the Allsvenskan last season, being automatically relegated to the second division. They have started in similarly unconvincing form and they have both been subject of supporter unrest, already, at the early stage.
Orebro, under the management of Alex Kjall, have begun the 2022 Superettan season with two wins and three defeats in their opening five matches. They come into this encounter on the back of back-to-back losses, going down 2-1 away at Vasteras last weekend, in their most recent outing.
Ostersund had been one of the ‘fairy-tale’ stories in European football over the last half-a-decade or so. From Graham Potter’s cup winners to winning at the Emirates in the UEFA Europa League against Arsenal, it had been one special journey. However, financial issues means the club has nearly gone out of business twice in the last 18 months and those off-field problems led to their terrible season last year. Now, in the second-tier, they have managed just one win in their opening five games.
The home team will be without midfielder Jake Larsson after the 23 year-old was sent off in second-half stoppage-time against Vasteras in that aforementioned defeat. As for Ostersund, they still have some players from their recent ‘golden era’ at the club with Aly Keita, their goalkeeper and captain, a bedrock at the back. However, it is a much-changed squad struggling to gel.
Last season in the top-flight, these two won their home games – Orebro being 2-0 victors in September after Ostersund won the reverse fixture 5-0 in April. They are both evenly matched, separated by just a point and a place in the table having scored just 11 goals between them. Given that, a low-scoring encounter is expected.
Skovde v Halmstad
This looks likely to be a hugely impactful game, very early on, for the rest of the Swedish second-tier. Skovde begin the weekend sitting at the top-of-the-table whilst Halmstad will be expected to challenge for the league title as well.
Skovde, under Tobias Linderoth, were promoted from Ettan Sodra last season, meaning that survival would likely have been viewed as a successful campaign. However, after four victories and a draw in their opening five matches, SAIK might well be mounting a challenge for promotion – whether or not this run can be sustained is not something that the club will be concerned about just yet.
Halmstad, following relegation from the top-flight in the playoff at the end of last season, were, are and will be expected to challenge for promotion. They started their season slowly with a draw and a defeat in their opening three matches. However, the four-time Swedish champions are beginning to click into gear after their win against Ostersund last weekend made it three successive victories to nil.
The story of Jack Cooper Love has been a special and unexpected one. The Swedish striker was loaned out to OIS last season and he failed to score in nine appearances. He is currently the top scorer in the Superettan this time around with five in five for Skovde since joining on loan during the off-season. Halmstad have full availability for this match with their deep squad representative of a team probably playing a level below where the club should be.
It has been a strong start to the season for Skovde, particularly defensively. In fact, only two clubs have conceded fewer than the five they have let in so far and one of those clubs is, indeed, Halmstad. Given those strong defensive records, as well as the fact these are two sides on the back of strong form, an even match is expected with goals likely to be tough to come by.
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