Back in November 2007 when Martin Andresen was appointed to spearhead the Vålerenga-revolution, the stated ambition was to establish the club as one of the top sides in Norway by 2010 and to be the best team in Scandinavia by 2013. Let’s just reflect on that one for a moment, as another fairly abysmal performance from Mad Martin and his merry men tonight saw them lose their sixth straight Tippeliga fixture.
The 1-0 defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Lillestrøm, who before tonight had yet to keep a clean sheet this season, was a particularly miserable experience for the VIF-fans, and Vålerenga are now just a few points clear of the relegation-mire. Andresen can rightly point to injuries and player-sales as factors out of his control and detrimental to his team’s chances, but the simple fact is the revolution has gone the way revolutions tend to go and a few more defeats will entrench Vålerenga in a relegation-battle they are ill-equipped to get out of.
The Vålerenga board need to either back their man and give him the money he needs to strengthen his squad before the window closes or just show him the door. This peculiar middle-ground they seem to have landed on, not sacking him but not trusting him to spend their money, isn’t doing the club any good and if this is allowed to continue then relegation could become a very real possibility.
In the remarkably rainy city of Bergen, local heroes Brann have this season been branded as essentially a bunch of thugs plus Erik Huseklepp, due to their squad containing cloggers like Azar Karadas, Eirik Bakke, Rodolph Austin, David Nielsen etc. Even their more cultured players like Petter Vaagan Moen often reveal a thuggish streak that makes it very difficult to like the team. These are all offset by Huseklepp, who in addition to running like a girl is also a fairly handy player, as his eleven goals and nine assists this season clearly shows. Well, with the arrival of Diego Gustavino from Lyn, there are now two proper footballers to counterbalance all these doormen in football-kits.
While criticised by some for being a “glorified futsal-player”, Gustavino at least looks like he enjoys kicking the ball more than he enjoys kicking people, which is a refreshing change from the rest of Brann’s squad. The relative merits of Mr. Huseklepp and Mr. Gustavino can be argued back and fourth until Nils Johan Semb grows hair, but there was no doubt that the deft duo laid waste to Strømsgodset this weekend with considerable ease. The 4-2 tonking of Ronny Deila’s plucky darlings sees Brann ascend to fourth place in the league, and since they probably won’t stay there this seems like an opportune moment to remind you all that a website not a million miles from here predicted them to do rather well this season and was ridiculed for it. Ridiculed, I say!
Also worth mentioning about this game was that ‘godset-keeper Lars Ivar Moldskred took a quite spectacular shot in the goolies, which is one part hilarious and one part horrible really.
There was serious weirdness at Aalesund as their wonderfully opinionated manager Kjetil Rekdal bizarrely decided against criticizing a referee. During his team’s 2-1 defeat to Odd Grenland there was a moment when giant striker Tor Hogne Aarøy was given a proper man-hug in the area and could well have been awarded a penalty, but when asked about it after the game Kjetil Rekdal shrugged if off: “We discuss this every time and I can’t be bothered this time. Maybe, maybe not”. Is the fiercest ranter in the West losing his touch? Has married life calmed him down?
Down South the boy Stokkelien was afoot yet again, scoring the only goal as Start claimed a slightly underwhelming 1-0 win over struggling Fredrikstad. “We have a lot to work on,” said Start-manager Knut Tørum, while his opposite number at Fredrikstad told TV2 he “expects” his squad to be reinforced in the near future. You get the picture.
Some phrases inevitably get used too often throughout the course of a season, like “it was a game of two halves”, “we have to take one game at a time”, “that was never a penalty Edvartsen you deranged f***wit” and “oh dear, David Nilsen’s elbowed someone in the face again”. Another phrase we’re getting tired of hearing now is “it doesn’t look too good for Lyn“. No, it doesn’t look too good for Lyn, in fact it looks extraordinarily terrible for Lyn, and losing 2-1 to Sandefjord doesn’t do much to improve their situation. “It doesn’t look good, but we’ll just have to take one game at a time” said manager Gunnar Halle, not really making any sense.
The battle of who could care less between Tromsø and Stabæk ended in the most predictable 0-0 draw of the century, and there really isn’t a lot more to say about that.
Rosenborg won 2-0 over Bodø/Glimt without really impr.. look, you know the rest. Nine games to go now. Nearly there.