Still high on the schadenfreude endorphins that came from this week’s cup upsets, this NFN writer is graciously feeling that the Tippeliga is right where it belongs. When the players fail to create entertainment on the field, there are plenty of people who will gladly say stupid things to a camera in the hopes that the match will look better in comparison. Although it can sometimes make his job harder, seeing as it can be troublesome writing sarcastic comments about something that is so absurd that it provides its own irony without any help. Absurdity and weak excuses are -my- job, dammit!
Tromsø (1st) -Vålerengen (3rd)
Starting off with the top match, this one will end 1-0 or 2-1 to Tromsø, just like always. Mind you, Tromsø are capable of also playing well every now and then, and as such, the result doesn’t have to mean it was a scrappy game, it just means that Tromsø’s defenders are a fricking tough bunch to go up against. Of course, there’s technically room for an upset with a Vålerenga who’s eager to show that they aren’t a bunch of headless chickens. Which they normally aren’t, as long as certain key players are starting. Ask Tønsberg what happens when those players don’t start.
Hønefoss (15th) – Brann (13th)
After the truly humiliating cup loss to Fyllingen, Brann could be in really deep… trouble, if Hønefoss grabs this game to pass the Bergensers on the tippeliga table. Repulsive local tabloid BergensAvisa (a “newspaper” that makes VG look serious and non-sensationalist) claims that Steinar Nilsen’s now gone from the club, getting a compensation of two million NKR. Considering that’s about as much as Tom Nordlie got from far smaller club Fredrikstad last year, this looks to be a rather small sum for the champions of unnecessary spending; but NFN hopes Steinar Nilsen isn’t fired (yet), if only to prove BA wrong.
Apparently Eirik Bakke’s been one of those most eager to get rid of Nilsen, amongst other things for him stating that the players are only thinking about their next paycheck. Since that’s pretty much what -everyone- believes that the Brann players are currently doing, NFN fails to see why it hurts so much more hearing it from someone who’s been witnessing it firsthand for several months. But Eirik Bakke’s about as willing to listen to the truth as he is unwilling to end other players’ careers.
Kongsvinger (14th) -Molde (11th)
Mostly every week, there’s a “who cares” match, and this time, Kongsvinger meeting Molde is it. Molde’s been nowhere near as impressive as last year, which probably has a lot to do with that Thioune is a rather good and important playmaker, and the opponents know that, and therefore they try their best to take him out any way possible. Which of course means he’ll also be injured sooner or later, and with Molde having no backup plan, they just haven’t got much game going. As for Kongsvinger, they’re not competent enough to play pretty, nor are they in a situation where they can afford it.
Haugesund (12th) – Sandefjord (16th)
Haugesund has so far been the most competent of the newcomers, and while they’ll probably still be struggling to stay up, they are capable of making trouble for anyone on a good day. And since Sandefjord apparently has given up on the concept of having a good day, especially when playing away, I really can’t see anything but a home victory here. Quite possibly a really big one too, depending on just how good Sandefjord and NT keeper Espen Bugge Pettersen is feeling.
Stabæk (9th) -Start (7th)
This is a rather interesting match. Stabæk have often played well this year without getting the results, and sometimes when they’ve played like crap (which has been rather too often for a team of their potential), they’ve then won. Start is also somewhat unpredictable this year, but apparently, their tactic for this game is to use inside information from Bernt Hulsker, who’s currently being rented out to Stabæk, apparently as a mole. To be sure, double-agent tactics like this is something NFN wholeheartedly endorse. In any case, expect at least one of these teams to attempt playing some nice, attacking football, but which team it will be, and whether they’ll actually win, is another matter.
Who knows? Seriously, this is next to impossible to predict.
Aalesund (5th) -Strømsgodset (10th)
Kjetil Rekdal is now getting rid of one of the annoyances in his club, Diego Silva, whose contract expires the 30th of June. As the best paid man in Aalesund, Silva was quite possibly shocked to find that the club weren’t ready to keep paying him top-notch without him actually, you know, performing. In fact, so were we, as this is possibly the very first time that has happened in Norwegian football since the Bosman verdict. NFN predicts that either Brann or Stabæk will buy Silva and pay him a ridicolous amount of money while blaming the coach for his poor performance, which should restore the balance. Oh, and Strømsgodset have been in really poor form lately, but at least the surgery on Fredrik Nordkvelle went just fine.
Viking (6th) -Rosenborg (2nd)
The one thing this NFN writer got oh-so-very-right last round was that Viking and Sandefjord most likely wouldn’t score many goals, if any. Since Rosenborg is in the habit of scoring enough goals to win (and occassionally a few more), still haven’t lost any matches this season, and have a defense you can hardly get a hockey puck through, I fail to see that Viking can get anything better than a draw. Of course, since it’s now confirmed that legendary Rosenborg coach Nils Arne Eggen, will lead the club once Erik Hamren leaves, one may wonder if the players may give an extraordinary performance in the hopes of not getting too chewed out once Eggen’s the boss. Fat chance of that happening!
As a side note, Eggen did have the habit of telling his players that their only concern is the next paycheck, and nobody would even dare argue with him, much less demand that he should be fired. But the man was capable of telling you that your dear hamster just died and make you smile about it, and I’m sure the sports tabloids will be overjoyed, since Eggen will undoubtedly provide entertainment whenever his team doesn’t. Heck, Eggen is the only thing that saved this match from being the “who cares” match.
Lillestrøm (4th) – Odd Grenland (8th)
Carrying on the jinxing powers of NFN writers, I claim that LSK will come back from their less-than-overwhelming performance against Brann and downright humiliate Odd Grenland with at least three goals. Hey, gotta have some perks with this gig, right? Though it is in fact most likely that LSK will in fact win this game, as Henning Berg seems to have gotten his boys under control now. On the other hand, Odd is pretty damn unpredictable this season (which is business as usual for them), so while the odds favour the yellow birds, absolutely anything can happen here.