Mike Roberts

Another Title For Rosenborg?

In Norwegian Tippeligaen on March 3, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Only another couple of weeks to go before league football in Norway gets underway and the main question is whether Rosenborg can win their 23rd title.

The unbeaten Trolls won the Tippeligaen comfortably in 2010 – by finishing seven points ahead of Valerenga, they claimed a remarkable seventeenth title in 20 seasons and are the bookies favourites to win again in 2011. Reminiscent of FC Porto‘s form in the Portuguese league this season, Rosenborg’s success came as a result of defensive fortitude away from home: they kept five clean sheets on the road in 2010 and haven’t lost an away league game since a defeat at Lillestrom in October 2008…thirty games ago.

It’s not that difficult to see where Rosenborg’s main competition will come from. Despite finishing second, Valerenga actually had a better home record than the champions but were horrible on the road. For example, they lost 3-1 to Honefoss (who were eventually relegated) and ‘only’ beat bottom club Sandefjord 1-0.

Tromso – who finished 11 points behind Valerenga in third place and qualified for next season’s Europa League – had a superb defensive record at the Alfheim Stadium, but struggled to score goals.

Looking beyond last season’s top three, none of the other thirteen teams look capable of mounting much of a challenge. Haugesund only lost once at home, but only won three times on their travels and although Stromsgodset IF are capable of another ten win season at the Marienlyst Stadium, they’re equally as likely to lose ten games on the road.

Of the newly promoted sides, two have had recent experience at this level. Sogndal won the Adeccoligaen last season and will be making their first appearance in the Tippeligaen since 2004; Fredrikstad only spent one season in the second tier after relegation in 2009, but Sarpsborg 08 are universal favourites to go straight back down – they only escaped relegation from the Adeccoligaen in 2007 when Raufoss had their professional license revoked.

Sarpsborg and Molde start the new season off on 18th March at 6:00pm GMT but the second round of games doesn’t start until the beginning of April.

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