We here at NFN-towers are a privileged bunch. Unlike every other media-outlet, we don’t need to talk up our product. We don’t need to feed and pamper our golden goose. Like pear-cider peddler and occasional comedian Mark Watson, we can give it to you straight. Round 9 of the Tippeliga was utter dross.
Mostly. Aalesund were quite good and reclaimed the top-spot by beating a Start side that displayed all the defensive frailties of earlier games but none of the attacking verve. Also, showing the kind of journalistic nous that has seen yours truly avoid gainful employment for so long, the game we didn’t even dignify with a prediction at least produced a few goals, with Lillestrøm thwacking a truly awful Sandefjord 4-0. Apart from that the only point of interest was that Strømsgodset edged their home-tie against Vålerenga, largely thanks to a terrific display by their young goalkeeper Adam Larsen. The rest of it was mostly rubbish and not worth lingering on at all.
Strømsgodset 1 – 0 Vålerenga
Aalesund 2 – 0 Start
Possibly working on the thesis that football is like sex, origami and suicide-attempts (the more often you try it, the more likely you are to get it right), the sixteen teams of the Tippeliga go straight back in there with another attempt this midweek.
Rosenborg (3rd) – Stabæk (10th)
Undefeated in the first nine and just three points off the top, Rosenborg are obviously only a whisker away from a full-blown crisis. This is because their last two home games have ended 0-0, and for a crowd that for the last fifteen years or so have gotten used to seeing Rosenborg casually give every visiting team a good hiding, that simply won’t do. “Bring back Nils Arne Eggen!”, they cry. He was in charge back then, you see.
Brann (13th) – Tromsø (2nd)
Bad news for average footballers all over the world: The Artist Formerly Known As Roald Bruun-Hanssen, responsible for epic hits like “2,7 million a year to Hassan El Fakiri” and “3,7 million a year to Eirik Bakke”, has been relegated from director of football to some other ill-defined administrative role at Brann. Manager Steinar Nilsen will now get full control, and the Northern tactician surprisingly lost his composure and quoted his favorite movie in spectacular fashion when asked for a comment*. “You may say that I’ve been moved from central midfield to central defense. We’ve been shipping a lot of goals lately, so it could be a good solution,” The Artist Formerly Known As Roald Bruun-Hanssen actually did say at the press-conference, sounding positively David Brent-esque. However, Brann-fans who think their club’s budget is now safe from the blundering buffoon may have to think again, as TV2 ominously reported that “when it comes to negotiations with players the idea is that Bruun-Hanssen will still contribute”. Bloody hell.
*might not have happened
Sandefjord (15th) – Kongsvinger (14th)
No doubt about it, Sandefjord have been bloody awful lately. But in their defense, well, they kinda always have been, on paper at least. Last season’s league form was as unlikely as it was impressive and the team had to be so much more than the sum of their parts in every single game, think Fulham in the Europa League times ten, and this merely the squad crashing down to their natural level. This season was never going to be pretty.
Strømsgodset (4th) – Odd Grenland (11th)
Besting Martin Andresen’s Vålerenga meant Strømsgodset have now won a whopping ten straight home games, and ordinary Odd have shown no sings in recent times of being able to break that run.
Viking (9th) – Haugesund (8th)
Only a certified loon would have guessed that Viking would head into their first Rogaland-derby of the season below somewhat local rivals Haugesund in the table, but here we are. Injuries have plagued the boys in blue since pre-season began and made it difficult for Åge Hareide to shape the team in his image, while Haugesund so far look like this season’s Sandefjord. For all their faults though, Viking have been decent at home so you’d expect them to take this.
Vålerenga (5th) – Hønefoss (16th)
Frustrated after the Strømsgodset game, yet confident in their abilities at home after that savage mauling of Odd: Vålerenga are about to unleash all sorts of emotions, and none of them are at all good for Hønefoss.
Start (6th) – Lillestrøm (7th)
“I have no explanation, it was terribly bad,” was the words of Knut Tørum after Start were bested in every possible way by Aalesund, which seems to be his usual stance when things go wrong. He is nothing if not consistent. He’d better figure it out soon as opponents Lillestrøm seem to enjoy smacking dysfunctional teams around, with almost all of their goals this season coming against Sandefjord and Hønefoss.
Molde (12th) – Aalesund (1st)
Again, only a fully certified loon would have predicted these fierce local rivals would go into the first derby of the season with the league situation being like this. In fact, most would have predicted it to be the other way round. But even if they have scored more than second-placed Tromsø, Molde keep conceding preposterously stupid goals, which makes it very hard to pick up points. Kjetil Rekdal’s orange army on the other hand have been the exact opposite: Cynical, well prepared, tactically disciplined and efficient. And we think they just might nick what would be a famous victory here.