Sirius v Ostersunds | Sunday 18th October 2020, 13:30
Having not played since 4th October, both Sirius and Ostersunds both resume league duties on Sunday afternoon following the international break. Whilst neither are necessarily two of the shining lights in the Swedish game compared to the likes of Malmo et al. these are two teams who are more than holding their own.
Sirius are very much one of the surprise packages in the league given they find themselves in a lofty 5th position and only one point off third, which would give them a shot at Europa League qualification. There is still a lot of football to be played before the season closes, but the finishing line is in sight. Considering they’ve finished just above the relegation zone in the last two seasons it resembles marked improvement from Henrik Rydström’s side.
The Graham Potter glory days at Ostersunds are very much a thing of the past but they will be more than delighted to find themselves in a relatively safe mid-table position. That is because earlier this season it looked as though relegation seemed a foregone conclusion as they had only won two of their opening 14 league matches.
However, they’ve now lost once in nine, including a four-game winning streak in August which propelled them away from relegation trouble. They’re now actually closer to the top-three than the bottom-three, so confidence is high.
There are a few stats this season which very much places Sirius as a team against the grain. They actually possess one of the worst records in the league for teams that score for the first goal. Whilst they have scored first in 11 league battles this season, they’ve failed to win seven of those.
On the flip side, they possess the best record in the division when conceding the opener. It shows they appear to galvanise when falling behind, but struggle how to manage taking a lead. They’ve scored ten more goals in the second half compared to the first, so we may see their best in the second 45.
One reason for Ostersunds’ improved form is very much a going back to basics approach. They have the best defensive record in the league over the past ten games, and actually one of the lowest scoring figures, too.
This shows that they are quite happy for games to remain tight, and their Allsvenskan encounters are averaging only 2.00 goals per game; the lowest in the league. Sirius have one of the highest, so this could be a real contrast in styles and approach on Sunday.
In one sense this is a mightily difficult game to predict, but I will take a chance on the Half Time Draw at 25/19 (VBet). We’ve noted Ostersunds’ preference to stay organised and give little away, and that is reflected by the fact they have the joint-most amount of half time draws in the league. Only seven times have double digit HT draws, and both these teams fit into that bracket.
Sandefjord v Valerenga | Sunday 18th October 2020, 19:30
The final Sunday game in the Norwegian Eliteserien comes from the Sandefjord Arena where, you guessed it, Sandefjord are in action and they welcome Valerenga. It is a sort of top versus bottom sort of clash as the hosts find themselves fifth from bottom, whilst the away team are fourth from top, but are most certainly not involved in the title race.
I say most definitely as they are 21 points behind runaway leaders Bodo/Glimt, but the battle for second and third is very much up for grabs. Rosenborg and Molde possess they positions currently, but Valerenga are in a group of at least four other clubs hoping to break through. They’ll need to improve their fortunes on their travels however as they’ve only won three away games all season.
Sandefjord have been another yo-yo club over the last five/six seasons as they experienced three promotions and two relegations in that time. The reality is that merely avoiding relegation would resemble a fine campaign for them and they remain on course to achieve that.
One defeat in four is the sort of form which will deliver the goods. They opened the campaign with one win in seven, which came away at now fifth in the table Odd, and fears of an immediate relegation were raised. They’ve turned things around now though, and have a recent home win over Molde to their name, which also running Bodo/Glimt very close, too.
They’re not big scorers however and only five times have they scored 2+ goals in any Eliteserien match this season. They won four of those however, so it just goes to show they don’t exactly ship a big amount of goals either.
In fact, they’ve not really had any big beatings this season, which you may expect from a newly-promoted side. They seem to raise their game against the bigger clubs and make life tough. They have three wins and four one-goal margin defeats against the current top five.
I said earlier on how Valerenga just don’t do enough on the road and their recent form backs it up. Whilst they did secure an away triumph at Brann in August, they’ve lost four either side of that, including their last three on their travels in succession.
Maybe we’re being slightly harsh as the majority of their setbacks come to the bigger clubs like Bodo/Glimt, Molde and Odd, but they just aren’t the same team as when playing at home. Therefore, I can’t entertain them at 1/1 this weekend, no in the slightest.
I will however take a bit of Both Teams To Score and Under 5 Goals at 5/4 (Bet365) using the bet builder. It is a risk backing BTTS in any game involving Sandefjord but the presence of Valerenga makes it more tempting.
Only three teams in the league has seen their game include BTTS more than Valerenga, including their last five away from home. We’ve noted before how Sandefjord make life tough for the bigger teams, and six of their seven encounters with the current top five earlier in the campaign has seen each team net.
Sirius v Ostersunds – Half Time Draw (25/19 VBet)
Sandefjord v Valerenga – Both Teams To Score and Under 5 Goals (5/4 Bet365)