Mike Roberts

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Power Rankings For The Allsvenskan Going Into Round 11

In Swedish Allsvenskan on June 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

It’s been a month since I last looked at the Allsvenskan, which makes the latest rankings more interesting from a long tem point of view. In that period, the biggest improvers have been GAIS; AIK and Häcken have dropped off the pace a little.

One thing I’m going to clarify straight away is that I’m discounting the games that were abandoned due to crowd disturbances, so the list below is based on matches that have actually taken place.

1. Gefle

Have continued their impressive start to the season, although they’d be doing even better if they could convert draws into wins: looks as if teams who park the bus at Strömvallen can nick a point. Still, this is an impressive turnround from a team that only stayed in the Allsvenskan after beating GIF Sundsvall in the relegation playoff.

2. GAIS

3. Kalmar

4. AIK

5. Elfsborg

Current top scorers in Sweden – have scored in all their home games this season and have only failed to score twice on the road.

6. Helsingborg

Haven’t won the title since 1999 but are on course to win it this season – the only team to average over two points a game and the only team from last season’s top three to be performing at even remotely at the same level in 2011.

7. IFK Göteborg

Tobias Hysen has taken over as top scorer in the competition, but Göteborg are the model of consistency – a mid table team that seems to be stuck in a rut.

8. Trelleborg

The team to watch if you like goals – an average of three goals per game.

9. Häcken

10. Örebro

11. Malmö

It’s looking increasingly likely that they won’t repeat last season’s success, especially as their hooligan element basically handed Helsingborg three points when their game was abandoned at the end of last month. In case you’d forgotten, Malmö only won last year’s title by two points.

12. Mjällby

One for the punters: in only one of their ten games this season have both teams scored.

13. Halmstad

Worst defence in the division so it should hardly be surprising that they also have the worst goal difference. Four of their eleven points have come when they’ve kept clean sheets. Already looking up against it.

14. Djurgården

Biggest regression since 2010; appeared to have a mini revival in mid May, but it didn’t last long and they’re bottom for a reason.

The promoted sides have had changes in fortune over the last month – Norköpping have lost four of their last five games but Syrianska seem to have worked out how to win in the Allsvenskan after a poor start.

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Power Rankings For The Veikkausliiga For Week 8

In Finnish Veikkausliiga on June 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

I’ve had to make various adjustments for Finland this season due to the various shennanigans that took place during the close season and the reorganisation of the Veikkausliiga that took place after them. But without further ado, here are the rankings going into today’s games.

1. JJK

Most improved club so far this season, although their five game winning streak was comprehensively snapped by HJK a couple of weeks ago. Almost a complete turnaround from last season.

2. Inter Turku

Current leaders on goal difference and defensive improvement has been a factor.

3. Mariehamn

Only won seven games in 2010; have already won three this season.

4. HJK

The bad news for everyone else is that the reigning champions seem to be better than they were last year. Haka were the last team to complete a hat trick of title wins, but HJK could repeat that this summer.

5. Honka

6. TPS

7. Haka

8. VPS

9. Jaro

10. KuPS

11. MyPa

Only one win so far this season – need to improve quickly or the 2005 Champions face a long season as only one club will be relegated this summer.

RoPS not ranked due to promotion.

Free Football Tip For Saturday 28th May

In Norwegian Tippeligaen on May 28, 2011 at 9:13 am

If you’ve come here to find my thoughts on the Champions League final, please scroll down as yesterday’s post is immediately below this one.

Norwegian Tippeligaen

5:00pm

 Strømsgodset v Fredrikstad

A possible bankroll booster for you before you blow it all on Barcelona v Manchester United finishing 3-3…

Although the numbers are positive for Godset (they’re already one of the most improved teams in a wide open competition this season), Fredrikstad have won at Brann and Aalesund this season and are obviously no mugs having also beaten Vålerenga at home.

However, the visitors have already lost at two of the top four teams and as they’ve lost their last three at the Marienlyst Stadium, the recommendation is back Strømsgodset.

Result: Godset 1, Fredrikstad 0

I’ll add the result when I get back from what’s being euphemistically referred to as a ‘Champions League Final Barbecue’ tomorrow and all being well (ie if the hangover isn’t too bad) I’ll have some more tips.

A Quick Look At Survival Sunday

In Premier League on May 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

I was originally going to publish this post on my tipping site but as I’m not making any tips then it seemed more appropriate to post it here…here’s my take on three of the games in the last day of the Premier League.

Manchester United v Blackpool

United have now gone 20 home games in the Premier League without a defeat, which means they’re probably due for one soon, possibly at the beginning of next season if they have to play one of the top five teams at home in their first half a dozen games.  Having said that, I feel the best case scenario for Blackpool today is probably a draw – I simply can’t see them winning. Even though they’ve not played at Old Trafford since the mid 1970s, Blackpool never had a particularly good record there even when they were regular visitors.

Stoke City v Wigan Athletic

This isn’t clear cut either – when Wigan draw away from home it’s usually a sign that they’re going to at least avoid losing for a couple of games and although I can’t see them winning, it’s worth remembering that they’ve made a big improvement in their away form this season and that Stoke don’t have anything left to play for this season.

Incidentally, Stoke and Wolves have almost identical away records. If Stoke get too distracted by their Europa League campaign next season then they might find themselves in trouble.

Tottenham Hotspur v Birmingham City

One of the reasons Spurs won’t be playing in the Champions League in 2011/12 is because they drew far too many games at White Hart Lane this season. One of the reasons Birmingham probably won’t playing in the Premier League in 2011/12 is because they have won precisely two away games this season and are averaging less than a goal per game overall.

So overall – I can’t see either Blackpool or Birmingham City winning, although Birmingham could pick up a point at Spurs. Wigan probably have the best chance of winning today, but that depends almost entirely on which Stoke side turns up. So apologies to Blackpool fans, but I think you’re going to be playing Championship football again next season.

Srsly, RBK, WTF? Tippeligaen Power Rankings After Week 7

In Norwegian Tippeligaen on May 17, 2011 at 9:38 am

Off to an unpredictable start, this season could be the most competitive in  Norway for some time. Rosenborg and Vålerenga already look out of it, but with only three points currently separating the top eight clubs, who knows what’s going to happen.

1. Brann (+2)

Kim Ojo strikes again (sixth goal this season), but it’s Jamaican midfielder Rudolf/Rodolf Austin they need to thank for the late penalty winner against Start. Unbeaten away record also helps.

2. Strømsgodset (-1)

Took an early lead at Aalesund but couldn’t hold on and dropped to their second defeat of the season. Still undefeated at home.

3. Tromsø (-)

Looked like they’d beaten Sarpsborg 08, but a very late equaliser from former Stromsgodset striker Michael Røn means that there’s a five way tie at the top going into Thursday’s games. Along with Strømsgodset and Sarpsborg, they are one of three sides without a home defeat; have also avoided being beaten on the road but need to stop drawing and start winning to be taken seriously as title contenders.

4. Stabaek (-2)

Lost at home to Sogndal

5. Aalesund (+1)

6. Molde (+1)

7. Lillestrøm (-2)

Haven’t lost away yet but they are underperforming at home.

8. Start (-)

9. Odd Grenland (-)

10. Viking (-)

Home form is beginning to be a cause for concern, no wins yet.

11. Haugesund (+1)

I couldn’t find any record of Haugesund beating Rosenborg before, but if that’s the case then Thomas Sørum will go down in the history of football in Rogaland.

As for the next two – Rosenborg’s collapse is pretty comprehensive and Valerenga’s away record (which wasn’t that good last season) has declined.

12. Vålerenga (-1)

13. Rosenborg (-)

Tippeligaen Power Rankings After Week 6

In Norwegian Tippeligaen on May 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm

1. Strømsgodset IF (-)

Maintained their lead with a 1-1 draw with Tromsø

2. Stabæk (+1)

Let a three goal lead at Haugesund slip before Icelandic striker Veigar Pall Gunnarsson scored the winner with seven minutes left.

3. Tromsø IL (-1)

Earned an away point in Drammen

4. Brann (+3)

The first of last week’s big movers. Kim Ojo struck twice to give them a first league win at Vålerenga since November 2008.

5. Lillestrøm (-)

Only two goals in a Lillestrøm game? What’s happening?

6. Aalesund (+2)

Having wondered if they’d have trouble scoring goals this season, they put three past Start in the space of twelve minutes either side of half time.

7. Molde (-3)

Lost at home to Rosenborg, but the visitors only put the game beyond any doubt when Rade Prica scored another late goal.

8. Start (-2)

Have now lost three of their last five games.

9. Odd Grenland (+3)

The other big movers this week. A Morten Fevang goal gave them their first win since early April

10. Viking (-)

Have now gone three consecutive games without scoring but earned a point at Sogndal – which could be vital at the end of the season.

11. Vålerenga (-2)

Beaten at home by Brann: three defeats in the last four games.

12. Haugesund (no change)

Have let in nine goals in the last two games.

13. Rosenborg (no change)

Second win this season but still being anchored down by their poor start; would probably be even worse off without Rade Prica.

Although the table still looks unfamiliar, there’s no doubt that the current top three deserve to be there.  Tromsø’s consistency is defensive strength and Strømsgodset are easily the most improved side this season.

At the bottom, Viking, Haugesund and Sogndal are all having difficulties of one type or another – Viking and Sogndal can’t seem to find the back of the net and Haugesund are conceding 2.83 goals per game, which is over twice as many as the corresponding figure for 2010.

I’ll finish off with a real trainspotter stat: there have only been two goalless draws so far this season, both of them at Sogndal.

Power Rankings For The AllSvenskan After Week 7

In Swedish Allsvenskan on May 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

Updated after last night’s games.

1. AIK (-)

Comprehensively beaten at Häcken, who could even afford the luxury of a Mattias Ranégie own goal.

2. Gefle (-)

May not be in this position much longer: 3-0 defeat at Helsingborg may be an indication of things to come.

3. Kalmar (+2)

Jumped another two places with a 2-1 win at Örebro

4. Helsingborg (-)

Third clean sheet in four home games and already have a four point lead at the top of the league.

5. GAIS (-2)

Took an early lead but lost at Göteborg on Monday night

6. Häcken (-)

7. Elfsborg (-)

8. Trelleborg (+1)

Quietly improving: have won three of the last four games

9. Göteborg (+3)

The week’s big movers following  a come from behind win against GAIS.

10. Örebro (-2)

Second home defeat this season indicates that 2011 won’t be the year they win the title

11. Malmö (-1)

Have now failed to score in three games – not really looking like title winners at the moment.

12. Mjällby (-)

Is it too early to say dull?

13. Djurgården (+1)

May have turned the corner after beating Halmstad.

13. Halmstad (-1)

Had their Spanish goalkeeper sent off in the defeat at Djurgården and are beginning to look as if they’re going to be in a relegation battle with Syrianska.

Overall, Helsingborg deserve to be at the top of the table at this stage of the season, but the other team to look out for is AIK who have played one game less after their game at Syrianska was abandoned. However they are already doing much better than last season; Gefle (who are lucky to be in the Allsvenskan this season) and Kalmar are also going in the right direction.

At the bottom, Syrianska and Halmstad already look as if they’re going to be up against it this season, but in terms of declining performance compared to last season, it’s interesting to see that Malmö are in the same group as Djurgården and Halmstad. They may not be able to defend their title successfully in 2011.

Power Rankings For The Allsvenskan After Week 6

In Swedish Allsvenskan on May 2, 2011 at 11:05 pm

It’s been a couple of weeks since I updated these – the figures in brackets indicate the changes in position.

1. AIK (+1)

The 2009 champions are undefeated and haven’t conceded at home, but haven’t won away yet either.

2. Gefle (+1)

Haven’t lost away from home, which is where the big improvement in performance is. The trip to Helsingborg next Monday will reveal a lot about the promising start

3. GAIS (-2)

4. Helsingborg (-)

Undefeated with a strong defensive start to the competition. Got off to a good start but seem to be slowing down: have drawn last two games.

5. Kalmar (+2)

Unbeaten at home, but haven’t won away yet and and have also yet to score on their travels.

6. Häcken (+2)

As long as Mattias Ranégie is banging then Gothenburg’s ‘other’ team will be fine.

7. Elfsborg (+2)

Unbeaten at home; Lasse Nilsson could be this season’s penalty king.

8. Örebro (-2)

Have a decent away defence; only defeat away from home was at AIK.

9. Trelleborg (+1)

Got off to a slow start  with two home defeats but seem to have turned it around – unbeaten in last three games

10. Malmö (-5)

Failed to score in last two games and lost both but defending a title isn’t easy in Sweden. An improvement in Yago Fernandez’ disciplinary record might help.

11. Mjällby (-)

12. Göteborg (+2)

13. Halmstad (-2)

Haven’t won yet and their away goal difference is worse than Syrianska‘s. Could be in for a long season.

14. Djurgården (-1)

Awful start. Have lost five straight.

Couple of things to remember: this ranking is based largely on past performance, although I do make comparisons from season to season. Both Syrianska and IFK Norrköping (who were promoted last season) are missing from these rankings because their current performance in the Allsvenskan cannot be compared with their performances in last season’s Superettan.

Power Rankings For Norway’s Tippeligaen After Week 5

In Norwegian Tippeligaen on April 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Week 5 finished about 90 minutes again, so without further ado here are the updated rankings.

Next round of games starts on May 6th as next weekend features cup games.

1. Strømsgodset IF (no change)

A late goal at Viking from Fredrik Nordkvelle and Strømsgodset are a point clear at the top.

2. Tromsø IL (up two places)

Conceded their first goal at home this season, but still beat Odd Grenland.

3. Stabæk (up two places)

There’s a trend emerging at the Telenor Arena: goals. Twelve in three games.

4. Molde (up two places)

Won at SK Brann, their first away win under Ole Gunnar Solskjær

5. Lillestrøm (up two places)

Another five goal game at  Åråsen stadium and Anthony Ujah scored twice. Will he finish the season in Norway?

6. Start (down four places)

Beaten without scoring at Sogndal.

7. Brann (down four places)

Lost at home to Molde, their second home defeat this season. The win over Rosenborg at the Brann Stadion in Week 1 might look like a massive aberration in the weeks to come.

8. Aalesund (up two places)

Second consecutive single goal victory at the Color Line Stadium. Goals may be at a premium in Aalesund’s games in 2011.

9. Vålerenga (down one place)

Lost at Rosenborg in the last game of Week 5

10. Viking (down one place)

Last week I wrote ‘doesn’t look as if they’ll score goals, which is odd considering their record last season and could be worth monitoring.’ Failed to score at home on Monday, which means they’ve not hit the target in three of their five games this season.

11. Haugesund (no change)

Battered 5-0 at Lillestrøm and now have the worst defensive record in the Tippeligaen.

12. Odd Grenland (no change)

Scored a goal at Tromsø (only seven clubs managed that in 2010) but still lost. One win in five games is not a good start.

13. Rosenborg (no change)

Finally won a game with a 2-0 victory against Vålerenga and are now ‘only’ eight points behind Strømsgodset.

Of the promoted clubs, Sarpsborg won at home without conceding a goal for the third time this season and although Fredrikstad lost at Stabæk it’s only their second defeat of the season. However, Sogndal lost again and have now failed to score in three consecutive games.

Still only one goalless draw this season, average goals per game 3.23. That’s a lot and will probably calm down over the next few weeks.

Power Rankings For Croatia 1.HNL After Week 26

In Croatian 1.HNL on April 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Changes at the bottom end of this table – Istra‘s 2-0 defeat at Rijeka means they drop two places: Karlovac and Lokomotiva move up a place after they both won today. If Hrvatski Dragoljovac don’t win next weekend they’ll be relegated.

1. Inter Zaprešić

2. Dinamo Zagreb

3. Varaždin

4. Zagreb

5. Rijeka

6. Hajduk Split

7. Zadar

8. Slaven Koprivnica

9. Osijek

10. Karlovac

11. Lokomotiva

12. Istra 1961

13. Šibenik

14. Cibalia