Djurgarden v Hammarby | Sunday 6th October 2019, 14:00
We not only have a local derby in our midst in the Swedish Allsvenskan this weekend, but it is also a big top of the table encounter. Djurgarden lead the way as things stand, with only four games to play, but Hammarby are six-points off in third, knowing they realistically must win to stand any chance of the title.
Djurgarden have been league leaders for a little while now, but they last won the title all the way back in 2005, so this group of players are not necessarily used to winning major honours. They’ve not shown that to be the case in recent times however, as they’ve shown 15 of their last 18 league clashes, losing just the one.
Hammarby have very much caught the eye this season on a count of their impressive goals for tally. They’ve hit 65 goals in 26 games, which is far and away more than any other side in the league. Djurgarden in fact are joint-third highest scorers with 46, with second Malmo managing two more. Hammarby aren’t the strongest are the back however, and have shipped 20 more goals in comparison to their Sunday opponents.
There is quite a contrast in tactical approach between these two teams. Djurgarden are very secure defensively and give very little away. They’ve kept a very, very impressive 14 clean sheets this season, meaning they’ve only conceded in 12 games. One of those was the earlier season away meeting in Hammarby, where they lost 2-1; which is just one of three losses they’ve suffered.
Hammarby really do go for broke every time they take to the field. In September alone, they recorded victories to the nature of 6-2 and 5-1, both versus reasonable yardsticks in this league in the form of Goteborg and Orebro. Djurgarden have played two relegation candidates in their last two, winning 1-0 and 2-1 over Falkenberg and Ostersunds respectively. Those are the sort of games which win you titles.
It will be a completely different test this weekend however as they most certainly have to be wary of a free-scoring opponent. Something which will encourage the league leaders is that Hammarby haven’t beaten any of the top-eight away from home this season, so far. Four ended in defeat, and they failed to score in three. They’ve only not scored in four league games this season.
In what is a real contrast in styles, it is quite difficult to nail down a confident goals selection ahead of this game. However, I have found a play I like the look of. I will be backing the Half Time Draw at 13/10 (888).
We’re getting to that stage of the season where everything becomes defined and this is a top-three battle. Djurgarden are normally quite reserved in the first half of games, proven by the fact they’ve been drawing after 45-minutes in exactly half of their league games so far, and seven of their 13 home assignments.
Hammarby may struggle to break them down in that period, with Djurgarden then happier to play on the break and expose potential spaces in the second half.
Mlada Boleslav v Viktoria Plzen | Sunday 6th October 2019, 14:30
The Czech top flight is beginning to settle down now we have played 11 games and there is a familiar feel to things glancing at the league table. Plzen again find themselves fighting for the title, sitting three-points behind current leaders and reigning champions Slavia Prague. They’ve finished first or second in eight of the last nine seasons; the only exception when ending up in third.
Mlada Boleslav are now in their 16th consecutive season at this level and have generally always finished in the region of 4th to 9th; finishing third on one occasion. They’re one of those sides who will threaten to finish higher, but ultimately never do.
Still, at home to the bigger sides they are more than capable of causing a scare of two. They already have a 4-3 home win over Sparta Prague to their name this season. They find themselves in fourth, but are seven-points behind Plzen, having won two games fewer and lost three games more.
Plzen have actually one just one of their last five visits to Mlada Boleslav, failing to score in three of them. The two games last season finished in quite different fashion, with Boleslav drawing 1-1 at home, but then losing 6-1 away from home. It is fair to say that they are quite reliant on their home record to pick up the majority of their points.
In fact, Mlada Boleslav have earned 18 of their 19 points this season in home fixtures, enjoying a perfect six from six in front of their own supporters. Plzen will certainly present them with their toughest test so far to try and preserve that. They’ve won just two of the last nine home meetings with Plzen, but they are capable. 21 of the 23 goals they’ve scored came in home clashes, too.
It might seem strange to say but I do think Plzen can be taken on this weekend. They have won their last three away games in all competitions, but they’ve have generally been close matches. Mlada are just full of goals and at home they are certainly more than confident in their own ability. They’ll give Plzen a scare here and I just can’t be taking Plzen at the prices.
Having said that, a draw wouldn’t be out of the question either as half of the last ten meetings has done so. Mlada Boleslav are just so difficult to defeat at home as well. They’ve won their last seven home league matches in succession, losing just one of their previous 21. Plzen are certainly a strong side at this level but Mlada Boleslav have faced a few of the strong teams in that run, including Plzen.
Plzen are generally quite strong on the road in this league but winning eight of their last 19 away league contests to me suggests that they are anything but bulletproof. Of course, if they turn it on then our proposed selection could be in trouble but Mlada Boleslav have scored 4+ goals in five of their last seven at home in all competitions.
That selection is Mlada Boleslav Double Chance and Under 5 Goals. Of course, I’ve touched upon they’re scoring many goals at home, but only two of the last 19 head-to-head encounters featured over five goals, and both of those came when Plzen was at home.