EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) heads to Norway on Sunday for his latest best bet on the continent.
Viking v Tromso | Sunday 20th October 2019, 17:00
Eight-time Norwegian champions Viking of Stavanger spent a solitary season in the second-tier after a surprise relegation in 2017, although the Dark Blues have certainly consolidated their place in the Eliteserien again following an impressive promotion campaign.
Bjarne Berntsen’s boys might be out of reach of European qualification but they’re finishing the 2019 term in fine fettle. Viking head into Sunday’s showdown unbeaten since mid-August (W5-D3-L0) and looking to enhance their already eye-catching efforts at their Viking Stadion base (W7-D3-L2) when Tromso pitch up.
The two defeats suffered by the Stavanger hosts both came against the top two in Norway’s top-flight and Viking have notched at least two goals in nine of their 12 outings on home soil. The Dark Blues are averaging 2.08 goals per-game and rank amongst the leading back in the Eliteserien for Expected Goals (xG) output.
I’m inclined to believe Berntsen’s men will produce another strong performance here; Viking have W9-D7-L1 against teams below them in the table and scored at least twice in 12 of those 17 encounters too. The hosts have recently booked a place in the domestic cup semi-final and will be looking to sign-off the season with a flourish.
Tromso arrive on the back of an unexpected 5-0 destruction of Kristiansund. The bottom-half dwellers were 3-0 up at half-time, and four goals ahead before their guests were reduced to 10 men. However, the final score didn’t quite reflect the pattern of the game as TIL only won the shots in the box count 8-7 and scored five times from six on-target efforts.
Indeed, the visitors’ form over the previous three months is arguably a better reflection on their ability. A shambolic display when going down 4-0 in the derby to Bodo/Glimt three weeks ago was Tromso’s sixth loss in 11 (W2-D3-L6) and Simo Valakari’s charges have been shipping goals at an alarming rate.
The Boys – as Tromso are known – have recorded only four shutouts across the whole campaign and are conceding an average of 2.75 goals per-game on the road. In eight of the team’s 12 away days they’ve leaked at least twice and in seven of those fixtures Valakari’s troops allowed their opponents at least three goals.
So naturally, I’m keen to oppose Tromso here and the 4/5 available for Viking to win and Over 1.5 Goals appears to tick most boxes. The hosts have seen this selection land in all 10 of their home triumphs this term, whilst 11 of Tromso’s 13 losses have followed a similar path, including seven of their eight defeats in 2019.
Viking v Tromso – Viking to win and Over 1.5 Goals (4/5 Coral)