World Football: Norwegian title-chasers can shine on Sunday


WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) looks to continue his fabulous form with a selection of hand-picked best bets from across the planet on Sunday.

Djurgarden v AIK | Sunday 12th May 2019, 14:00

Djurgarden and AIK is always a big game in the Swedish footballing calendar and we get our first taste of it this season on Sunday afternoon. There is a huge rivalry between these two, which began in 1891 after both were founded within a few weeks of each other.

This contest is known as the Derby of the Twins, and the two Stockholm-based clubs are two of the most successful in Swedish football. Djurgarden has seven Allsvenskan titles to their name, the most recent coming in 2005. AIK have six, the latest coming last season.

AIK therefore are top dogs in Stockholm for now, and whilst they’ve not started their campaign in blistering form, they’re still only three points off league leaders Malmo, despite sitting in eigth position.

Sunday’s hosts has earned a point more than AIK so far, suffering only one defeat in their seven encounters so far. Djurgarden are winless in their last three, but no side in the top-flight is dominating things in these early weeks of the new campaign.

AIK are having no such issues playing at home, but away from home they’ve had some troubles so far. They’ve won three from four at home, but are winless in three on the road. That may serve as a bit of a worry travelling to the Tele2 Arena this weekend, but this is a contest they’ve largely had the better of for a while now.

Djurgarden in fact have only won once in the previous 15 head-to-head with their near neighbours. That came in March last year in the semi-finals of the Svenska Cupen, a competition they went on to win. They are on something of a recovery mission in one sense, as they finished 7th last season, after ending the year before in third position, yet still behind AIK.

Although we are into a new season, there are still some similarities from last season when it comes to AIK. They were incredibly strong defensively when winning the title. Incredibly they only shipped 16 goals across 30 matches. Seven matches into this year, they’ve already let in seven, which isn’t so bad, but it is when we remember their exploits from the previous season. Expecting a repeat was always a big ask. Djurgarden has only conceded seven times, but have at least managed to score double-digit goals, unlike AIK.

Traditionally these are very tight and close games. The last five has ended 0-1, 1-1, 0-2, 2-0 and 0-0. That tells a story. Only two of the last ten has contained a minimum of three goals overall. These are games that neither side desperately wants to lose. At this early stage of the season we cannot call this a must-win encounter, and a draw wouldn’t necessarily disappoint anyway. Djurgarden however haven’t won a home meeting with AIK since October 2010.

For all that AIK has normally had the better in this fixture, I do worry about the fact AIK are ultimately not as good as they were last season. They’ve already conceded nearly half the goals they did in the whole of the previous campaign. They’ve struggled on the road too, and Djurgarden are keen to wrestle back control of the city in terms of football, having been second best for some time.

Djurgarden Double Chance and Under 3 Goals looks a solid enough selection using the Bet Builder at 6/5 (Bet365).

Molde v Mjondalen | Sunday 12th May 2019, 17:00

Don’t you just wonder if there was even 1% of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer wishes he stayed put in Molde? Probably not. The glamour of the Premier League and facing the likes of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League are experiences which are a million miles off of that of the Norwegian top-flight.

However, if he did stay put, the reality is that he’d probably be with a side fighting it out to win the tile; something he can’t say about at Old Trafford any time soon.

Molde have actually responded to life post-Solksjaer pretty well. His replacement, is Erling Moe, who has been on the coaching staff for a few years anyway. Like Solksjaer with the Red Devils, he impressed enough as caretaker to then be offered the job outright. Unlike Solksjaer, the honeymoon period is seemingly not over as they sit top of the Eliteserien after seven matches.

The story of Mjondalen won’t have attracted too many headlines on these shores, but they are a side who have had some progression in recent times. After a 22-year absence from the top flight, they won promotion from the second-tier in time for the 2015/16 season, only for that to last one year and thus were relegated back.

A defeat in the play-offs came the following two seasons, before a runners-up finish last season meant they were back. They’ve adjusted to life in the league pretty well, and find themselves in seventh place. The highlight so far was the away win over big rivals Stromsgodset last month. They’ll relish the trip to Molde.

Molde have already established themselves as the clear favourites to go on and win the title. This would be their fourth since 2011, and they’ve also had a further two second-place finishes within that period, including last season. Rosenborg again won the title on that occasion, but they’re having a torrid time so far, finding themselves in the relegation zone, and they were bottom prior to the home win over Sarpsborg in their most recent clash.

Molde need to make the most of their rivals having big struggles, and this is Molde’s chance to really stamp their authority on the league this season. Something Molde has no trouble doing is scoring goals. They’re already averaging 2.43 goals per game, and that number increases to 3.33 when focusing purely on clashes played at their Aker Stadion.

For all that Mjondalen have settled into top flight life quite well, they’re still conceding a few. Despite sitting in seventh, they have the joint-worst defensive record in the division. That may not mean much at this stage of the campaign, but it could be a sign of things to come. Expecting them to suddenly improve when taking on the league leaders away could be asking too much.

Mjondalen did concede five of those 11 goals in one game, which did come in a match to a team near the top of the table. This was an epic 5-4 loss at home to Bodo/Glimt, who are situated in second position. However, this game is all about Molde. They already have a 3-0 win versus Rosenborg to their name, they’re the highest-scorers and hold a 100% home record.

Molde unsurprisingly are the odds-on favourites so we have to find another way of getting them on side. They’ve scored at least three in all three of their home matches to date, whilst Mjondalen have conceded at least twice in 2/3 on the road. Molde have scored in each half in two of their three at home, whilst the same is said for Mjondalen conceding away.

Molde to Score in Both Halves looks a handy enough 17/20 (William Hill) chance to give us an interest in this one.

Best Bets

Djurgarden v AIK – Djurgarden Double Chance and Under 3 Goals (6/5 Bet365)

Molde v Mjondalen – Molde to Score in Both Halves (17/20 William Hill)

About Author

Since leaving university I've worked as a Research/Football Performance/Betting Analyst. I live and breath all things football. This has gradually helped me with my betting when looking for value and ultimately, winning selections. I've experienced both the bad, and more recently, the good supporting Lincoln City, with whom my weekends aren't the same without.

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