Bob Bradley has done it once again this season. Stabaek just does not stop surprising at the moment as they are in 2nd place with 16 points before tonight’s game. Not only has Stabaek won their latest five league games, but they have also kept a clean sheet for five consecutive games now. They are coming off another fantastic win against Valerenga (0-2) and the recipe is always the same.
Valerenga did control the possession throughout the game, but Stabaek were effective and played cynical as always. They was well organized defensively combined with getting the ball up to their quick strikers and take advantage of their pace towards goal. They also got a red card after 56 minutes when they led 0-1, which also led to more space for Valerenga who created a lot of chances. However, Stabaek held on to their game plan and took their chance to make it 0-2. The hard work as a unit pays off again and again, but they have to reset tonight, as they are favorites and not the underdog as usual. Midifelders Craig Henderson (0/0) and Jevgenij Kirisov (0/0) are still injured, while midfielder Luc Kassi (7/0) is suspended.
Sandefjord has really got it tough after quite a good start to the season. Their loss against Aalesund (1-3) at home in their last match extended their loosing-streak to four games, and it seems like they are already beginning to set for the relegation battle this season. The game against Aalesund was a game where it became clear that Sandefjord struggles with creating chances.
After taking the lead early in the first half, things became a lot more difficult after that. Instead continuing on building momentum for another goal, they let Aalesund dictate and slowly take over the initiative in the game which led to the loss. Keeper Jacob Busk Jensen (1 game) is missing, while defender Christer Reppesgard Hansen (3/0) is doubtful. The positive news is that their striker, Jean Alassane Mendy (1/2), is finally back after been out with a hamstring injury since the first game of the season.
The self-confidence among the players at Stabaek is without a doubt at a surreal level at the moment. No one had expected anything like their recent performances ahead of the season, but Bob Bradley will not let his players get too confident either. He will use the level of confidence in a smart way in order to continue winning games. Sandefjord has not been able to take the level in Tippeligaen as good as Stabaek and it will be tough against a high-flying team tonight as well. The hosts will definitely be taken more serious by their opponents in the games ahead, and a loss is likely to come at some point. However, it does not seem like it is Sandefjord that will be the team to break that record.
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