It will be a boiling, mad and crazy atmosphere as usual when Hammarby are declared the hosts for a football match. The newcomers have one of the largest fanbases in Sweden and the home factor is usually a big advantage for the Stockholm side. The visitors on the other end will be no less than the league leaders themselves, IFK Goteborg have collected enough points to be alone in the lead which is an impressive mark despite a couple of questionable performances. The match has an extra spice in the sense that this is the last round before the summer break, which means teams will be motivated to put themselves in a good position before the season enters a break.
Goteborg comes into Stockholm with only 5 conceded goals so far which is less than 0.50 goals per game – impressive. The leaders only have one loss so far, which came versus Malmo at home and overall have nothing to be ashamed of. In recent years, Goteborg have received a stamp in a negative sense of playing a physical style of football without creativity or technique which usually is required ingredients to be considered a top team, however this is slowly starting to change. There are players who can beat their man individually, not least on the flanks which is considered to be one of the biggest strenghts of Goteborg who likes to attack wide on their quick players and look for crosses. The performances have not always been convincing, particularly not the away games but Goteborg have found a way to claim the greasy and hard fought victories towards the end of the games. Some call it luck – but it creates a winning mentality within the group.
If we look at Goteborgs run of games and where they have dropped points, it is at home against Djurgarden (strong team this year), away against Gefle (long travel up north on artificial turf) and home against Malmo (current champions). In other words, two top teams and a mid-table side on the road. Hammarby will be a difficult team to crack considering the turf is artificial and Hammarby are desperate of points.
The visitors will arrive weakened as winger Jakob Ankersen (12/2) is suspended, along with his Danish radar partner Soren Rieks (11/2) who got injured in the last match. The natural replacement for one of them would be Martin Smedberg Dalence (9/0), however he is on international duty with Bolivia and therefore not available either.
What does this mean for the match from an analytic point? It means that Goteborg will lack their efficiency and pace on wings when they attack which has been one of their main keys. The individual skill will lack as well when trying to put the Hammarby defenders under pressure. It also puts more pressure on striker Lasse Vibe to work harder and drop to a lower starting position when attacking in order to help his midfielders which gives the Hammarby defenders more time to capitalize. It remains to see how everything plays out, but Goteborg will always remain competitive.
Hammarby began as a confident group and completely ignored their status as newcomers which gave them a great start. It has now been 7 consecutive matches without a victory for the Stockholm side who are seeking their peak again and perhaps this is just what they need – A big game on home turf. The performances have slowly looked better and recently they claimed a 2-2 tie against Kalmar on the road which should be seen with positive eyes. The hosts try to play an energetic football style at home with the impressive support they have from the crowd. They have an experienced coach in Nanne Bergstrand who is somewhat of a perfectionist and have high demands on the players. Hammarby as an organization is an openly ambitious club with high hopes and expectations for the future, and this is the season they have the chance to prove that they belong to the highest league. So far the performances have been of mixed quality but they will remain a tough away game for all the teams in Allsvenskan unless they really fall flat.
Positive news for the hosts is that the entire team is healthy with the exception of midfielder Erik Israelsson (11/1).
A team without a win in seven consecutive games does not seem like a confident betting option to consider, but the Swedish league is charming in the sence that everyone can beat everyone and this is one of the situations where the table position means very little. It is a top game, crowd will be excited, players will be motivated to give the little extra – and all of this will be leaning to Hammarbys favor in this game. Goteborg will be more limited than usual and this is a better chance for Hammarby to claim at least a point than the odds suggest.
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