In a brief moment of clarity I once wrote that I will avoid making predictions because doing so will eventually offer proof that I have no idea of what I’m talking about. While I was smart enough to figure that much out on my own, I am unfortunately dumb enough to ignore my own advice.
The following entry will present my predictions for the fall season in Allsvenskan. The teams are listed in the order of their current league position with their predicted finish noted below the name of each team. Hopefully this will provide you with an idea of where the different teams stand. Please note that any correspondence with actual standings at the end of the season will be coincidental and purely a result of dumb luck.
1. IFK Göteborg
Prediction: 1st (Gold)
By far the best team when the break began, Göteborg enters the fall season riding an impressive five game winning streak. But it will be a different team that gets back into action this July. Key player Pontus Wernbloom left the team earlier this spring and star defender Mattias Bjärsmyr is on his way out. To make matters worse, wiz-kid striker Robin Söder suffered a season-ending injury during the U21 European Championship.
But the squad should still be deep enough to deliver this fall and their most valuable player Tobias Hysen remains in the team. IFK Göteborg has also made heaps of cash in the transfer market this summer and have every opportunity to reinforce the team with top talent.
Göteborg starts off the fall season with four rather tricky games against Halmstad, AIK and two matches against Trelleborg. If Göteborg captures 10 points or more in these games they could very well end up spending the rest of the season in first place. But my prediction is that Göteborg will have a negative first few games this fall season as they are forced to find their way with a new lineup. The key game for Göteborg will instead be against Elfsborg in late August and I believe this game will be won by Göteborg. A reinforced and re-energized Göteborg will then secure the title during the final rounds of the season.
2. IF Elfsborg
Prediction: 2nd (The Big Silver)
Undefeated during the spring, Elfsborg enters the fall season with a reputation of being untouchable at home. The problem for Elfsborg is that their offensive game is a bit stilted and they have underperformed away from home. Elfsborg will keep most of their key players, which will allow them to remain consistent and this could keep the team in the running for the gold until the very end of the season.
I expect Elfsborg to remain extremely difficult to beat and I can see them losing as little as two or three games in total. They could very well take the most points of any team if we only count the fall games, but I believe that a loss in the head to head game against Göteborg will prove to be a fateful defeat.
3. Helsingborgs IF
Prediction: 4th (Bronze)
I don’t see Helsingborg as a serious challenger for the gold considering their propensity toward mixing dazzling games with real stinkers. Even if Helsingborg manages to sign the hottest Superettan talent, striker Erton Fejzullahu of Mjällby, inconsistency will remain a team trademark. I expect Helsingborg to lose points against opponents of widely varying rank, but it will be their inability to match Göteborg and Elfsborg in head to head games that will ultimately keep the team out of the title contention.
Prediction: 3rd (The Small Silver)
AIK will build on the promise from the spring season with Ivan Obolo still on the team and Dulee Johnson back on board. AIK will have an outside chance of challenging Göteborg and Elfsborg if they continue to line up fortunate wins in close games, while at the same time their top rivals fail to deliver.
Unfortunately AIK will quite likely be out of the title contention far earlier than we would like. A close battle with Helsingborg for a third place seems to be in the cards.
5. Trelleborgs FF
Trelleborg will remain difficult to beat at home, but they will not be strong enough to remain in contention for a place in the top four. Trelleborg has a difficult double header against IFK Göteborg coming up. This will provide Trelleborg with a chance to cause an upset, but the team is more likely to end up with a slight drop in the standings. In the end, a solid middle of the table finish seems reasonable.
6. Gefle IF
One of the most surprising sides this spring won’t have any new aces up their sleeves for the fall. Teams now know what to expect from Gefle and it will be more difficult for them to lock down opponents that will be better rested and more concentrated as a result of the far less hectic fall schedule. A middle of the table finish is still a huge fall forward for a team that was largely considered a shoe-in for relegation before the season.
7. Kalmar FF
Kalmar began the season in horrendous form, but has a tradition of rolling with the punches and improving as the season progresses. Kalmar can look forward to a more positive fall season and could prove a real thorn in the side for top teams. However, they lack the necessary depth, particularly in the attack, and they will not make it out of the middle of the table.
8. Örebro SK
ÖSK has the potential to perform better than their current league position lets on, but I just don’t see Örebro finding the right momentum to get much further up the table. Even if they’ll play well at Bernh Arena, they will not be the type of team that will take big scalps away from home. Any team that can lose a game against Djurgården will have problems getting out of the middle of the table.
9. Malmö FF
The underachievers of the spring have all the necessary talent to climb in the league standings. I expect that Malmö will find their game and more importantly begin to find the back of the net. Malmö could become the team of the fall with a better acclimated Wilton that will most likely move into a more withdrawn position where he feels most at home.
The disappointing spring leg of the season will ensure that Malmö will be out of the absolute top contention, but a climb in the table seems highly likely and a top four finish is not out of the question.
10. Halmstads BK
It’s unlikely that this team will experience much of a climb in the standings as a couple of their midfield starters are on their way out this summer. It will be difficult to replace midfield motor Andreas Johansson who is already moving to Germany, and if Michael Görlitz follows suit it will be extremely hard for Halmstad to replace their lost players. Swedish sports columnist Mats Olsson picked Halmstad as the title winners before the season. Gives you a good idea of how much he knows.
11. BK Häcken
Loyal readers of this blog should be fairly familiar with BK Häcken by now. They finished the spring season by stealing points from both Elfsborg and Helsingborg, thus greatly aiding AIK’s chances in the top. I expect this team to continue playing their positive style of soccer, but I don’t think they will continue pulling off quite as many iconoclastic routs of top teams. I don’t expect them to beat AIK at any rate. A spot just inside the top ten seems achievable for the buttocks.
12. IF Brommapojkarna
The biggest positive surprise of April experienced a steady slide down the standings during the month of May. I don’t expect BP to recapture the spirit they showed in April, but given the poor quality of the teams at the very bottom of the league I also don’t expect that BP will need to fear direct relegation.
Brommapojkarna will face a tough fall schedule with double meetings against strong teams and difficult away games against AIK and Elfsborg. A very challenging relegation play-off series against one of the inspired Superettan top teams seems likely for Brommapojkarna.
13. Hammarby IF
The “wrecks” faced plenty of ill fortune this spring, but have managed to trudge along even in games where Charlie Davies has been out on suspension. The impact of the silly season loss of Lolo Chanko could be mitigated by the return of the defender Patrik Gerrbrand and skilled midfielder Andreas Dahl. But the question is if the possible losses of Charlie Davies and Emil Johansson later this summer would mean a spot in the relegation zone for Hammarby.
Hammarby should probably continue to worry about the threat of the relegation play-off, but I believe that even without Charlie Davies, Hammarby will scrape together a good enough squad that can pull off enough wins against the other bottom rivals to keep clear of the bottom of the league.
GAIS has not yet lost their superstar Wanderson Do Carmo, but if that occurs GAIS will be in serious trouble and they may struggle to remain out of the relegation zone. My sense is that GAIS will remain in the bottom half, but will manage to narrowly escape the relegation zone.
15. Djurgårdens IF
I expected Djurgården to pull some last ditch effort to save themselves from relegation. I expected an influx of capital and a couple of foreign players brought in to solve Djurgården’s immediate problems. We’ll see if that actually happens as transfer activity has been strangely quiet surrounding Djurgården so far.
I expect a steady march down to Superettan for Djurgården. They are not yet beyond all hope since they are only one point away from safer ground, but their upcoming schedule is grueling to say the least. Helsingborg, Kalmar and Elfsborg times two feels a lot like zero points in four games. I don’t expect Djurgården to climb out of the bottom after that. For better or worse, Djurgården will face relegation this year.
16. Örgryte IS
Örgryte has no chance of digging their way out of the quicksand they are currently in. A last place in Allsvenskan felt almost certain already back in April. With a new coach, two top strikers back from injuries and new signings they have a chance to clean up their numbers somewhat. Whatever supporters this team has should be happy if the team manages a point total exceeding ten, because avoiding relegation is not in the cards. That’s one prediction I can make with a measure of certainty.
This post first appeared at Markus’s excellent US AIK blog. Any Americanisms contained within it are his and his alone!