Stromsgodset did very well for the first 30 minutes against Molde (3-1), but did not manage to do anything against the defending champions from last season. They were recognizable in that period and an early lead showed what they are capable of doing. Their problem has been their consistency in both ends of the pitch.
They are letting the opponents produce too much of the big chances and also not being effective enough when getting chances themselves. Molde had three very good shots at goal which ended in three goals, while Stromsgodset produced four good shots and ended up with just one goal. Their last home game against Sandefjord (3-2) showed some of the same defensively ineffectiveness, but a lot better offensive play. After leading 2-0 they seemed to cruise into a good win, but managed instead to concede two unnecessary goals. This made their performance look nothing more than an average in terms of result, despite their offensive dominance of the match itself. Midfielder Petter Vaagan Moen (1/0) has to get a knee surgery and will not be able to play for a while. Reserve keeper Anders Gundersen, defender Kim Andre Madsen (0/0) and the young midfielder Mathias Gjerstrom (0/0) are also missing.
Sarpsborg 08 has had a positive start to their season with eight points from the first five games (2-2-1). After a very unlucky draw against Bodo/Glimt (2-2), they struck back with a very impressive win against title contenders Odd (2-0). Even if Odd dominated the game in terms of possession, Sarpsborg 08 was the most effective team and therefore deserved the win.
The key for them was the hard defensive work they did as a unit in order to stop Odd from taking advantage of their possession. That must really be done tonight as well if the hope of getting something from this match should be realistic. The strikers must also start contributing with scoring goals which has been a huge problem for them so far. It is now the central-back Ole Heieren Hansen (5/2) who is their top-scorer so far. Striker Henrik Ojamaa (3/0) is doubtful, while the two defenders Sigurd Rosted (0/0) and Kjetil Berge (1/0) are both injured.
Stromsgodset has shown what they are capable of from now and then, but they need a full 90 minute performance in order to deliver a more stable impression. Sarpsborg 08 is not a great team away from home, but I think that they will bring an offensive boost with them from the game against Odd. I predict the very same picture in this game, where Stromsgodset is controlling the possession and Sarpsborg 08 trying to take advantage of their opportunities. It may seem like Strosgodset win to nil could be the scenario as we look at the odds here, but with the host’s previous home games against Sandefjord (3-2) and Mjondalen (1-1) in mind, I do not think they could get any clean sheet against another motivated opponent tonight.
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