Take the sights down to the southern part of Sweden when Helsingborg returns home after the opener in Kalmar, in a close 0-0 draw which can only be explained with lack of initiatives and a fear to lose for both sides. This will be Helsingborg’s first home game at the Olympia Stadium with Henrik Larsson as their coach.
It is worth to mention, that Henrik Larsson coached Falkenberg last season, and miracoulously kept them in Allsvenskan. He is a popular man in Falkenberg, and of course in Helsingborg as well. His time in Falkenberg means that there will be no surprises in the tacical approach and it is an advantage to consider for Helsingborg. Turning the sights back to the first match, Helsingborg performed very careful but quite impressive for being a ‘new project’ against a defensively strong Kalmar team. Helsingborg kept the ball very well and appeared creative on the last third which showed a lot of promise despite the many injuries they had. The team left Kalmar with a point, that frankly could have been 3 if the offense had more belief, but in whichever case – they will get a more pleasant chance to do so at home against the main candidates for relegation, Falkenberg.
Injury wise, the hosts get back first keeper Par Hansson which is a huge plus on the defensive stability for them. As they had to play with their goalkeeper coach in goal against Kalmar. Midfielder Astrit Ajdarevic (1/0) is new on the injury list, and regular central back Peter Larsson will remain out just as before with striker Mikael Dahlberg – in other words, a way more pleasant situation overall.
Falkenberg were lucky to survive last season, and it would be a bigger miracle if they do it this season as well. The team is charming, small resources, but a big fighting heart. However, they lost first of all Henrik Larsson on the coaching post which was the main loss – because Larsson is a perfectionist and do not tolerate mistakes, a very strict coach focused on details which is essential for small teams. Falkenberg also lost one of their most influential midfielders Anton Wede (30/5) to Helsingborg, as Henrik Larsson brought him with him to his new team. Their offensive threats going forward is 20 year old Godsway Donyoh, a speedy young player who likes one-on-one situations, and is a product from the Manchester City academy who spent some time in Djurgarden as well. Also veteran striker Stefan Rodevag is an important key in the attack, he is dangerous in the air but not the most agile player. Defensively they will always suffer, because other teams tend to dominate the match. Falkenberg lost the opener at home where they are sometimes tricky, against another direct relegation candidate, Gefle IF with 2-0 – which says a lot of where Falkenberg will be at the end of the season. Despite a new coach, the tools are too weak to compete with, and most of their points will come at home. Away, every point is precious.
There are no important injury concerns for the visitors.
Judging by the opening game and recent form, Helsingborg played surprisingly well on the road versus Kalmar with a possession advantage in the first half in particular. Possession is what Henrik Larsson likes, so we might see a 60-65% ball possession in Helsingborg’s favor which will be crucial to use well. At home, the hosts will dare to be more creative and pressure more than they did versus Kalmar. Falkenberg are very vulnerable defensively and mentally already expect a loss themselves. For Helsingborg, this is a game that needs to be won if they want to be a stable mid team, and I will give them my trust at their home premiere and back the -1 AH option as they can score 2-3 themselves which should be enough to cover.