With just over half the season played in two months’ time (absolutely insane), it’s time to take stock of what we know so far, what has happened and what’s likely to happen in the second half of the season that has a considerably slower pace. As for the looming Blank Gameweek 19 and Double Gameweek 21 that was just announced – the teams taking part (and missing out) are Elfsborg, Mjällby, Falkenberg, and Varberg. We will get to that in due time and who to target but for now, I will take a short look at every team and their prospects going forward, as well as top performers so far.
This is part one with AIK-IFK Göteborg being covered.
Going into the season, coach Rikard Norling was tasked with adopting a new way of playing, focusing more on the attack. He chose to do this by switching from zonal defence to man marking, 3-5-2 (or 5-3-2 at times) went out the window and a 3-4-3 approach was to be utilised. He used (partly out of necessity due to injuries) a lot of really young players, sprinkled with a few veterans. This ensured players like Paulos Abraham (4.7m), Bilal Hussein (4.8m), Eric Kahl (4.2m) and Robin Tihi (4.3m) became part of the early template, despite their actual returns being far from ideal. The system and AIK had some highs but the lows far outweighed them and Norling got sacked after losing to local rivals Djurgården in Gameweek 11, the first Djurgården win against AIK in the league in 9 years. New coach Bartosz Grzelak took over but the new manager bounce failed to materialise, with him getting just 2 draws and 3 losses from 5 games so far.
This has put AIK in a bit of a crisis and a potential degradation would be a massive financial blow for them, other than the pure footballing side of it where they will feel like they belong in Allsvenskan, having played more games at that level than any other Swedish club. With new signings Sotirios Papagiannopoulos (6.0m), Filip Rogic (7.0m) and Bojan Radulovic (6.0m) joining them to strengthen the defence, midfield and attack, it will be interesting to see what the second half of the season have in store for them. With unwavering faith, I maintain that Nabil Bahoui (8.9m) still have a part to play in our fantasy season…
Häcken is having the season they always seem to have, just below the top clubs by beating everyone they are “supposed” to beat and losing to all the top clubs. This, coupled with a continued struggle while playing away from home, has placed them 5th in the table. Daleho Irandust (8.7m) is the perfect example of just how uneven Häcken are, going from borderline essential to practically irrelevant, multiple times in a season. With goalkeeper Peter Abrahamsson (6.3m) injured for the rest of the season, they’ve brought in Pontus Dahlberg (6.0m) who have yet to play for them, with Jonathan Rasheed (4.5m) doing well in the meantime – at least from a fantasy perspective.
Leo Bengtsson (6.2m) is popping up as a useful squad player but now that Häcken’s fixtures stiffen considerably, question marks remain on just how much they can deliver in the upcoming games against Norrköping, AIK, Djurgården, Sirius, Elfsborg and Malmö. Alexander Söderlund (8.5m) is doing his job scoring goals, yet with just the one bonus point all season and in tough competition from other strikers in the game vying for our attention, his value remains questionable. Now might be the time to look elsewhere for points.
Champions of last season, the faith in Djurgården assets was initially high, which they largely failed to reward. Rotating way too much even with the tight schedule, it was obvious that Djurgården struggled to cope with the loss of Marcus Danielsson and Mohamed Buya Turay at the start. After making the reversed goalkeeper switch of last season, Tommi Vaiho (5.6m) gave way to Per Kristian Bråtveit (5.2m) and the defence has gradually improved, though they’re still privy to letting in the odd goal, enough to win games but rob us of clean sheet points. Aslak Fonn Witry (7.5m) has continued to deliver in attack and with bonus points, other than that it has just been Fredrik Ulvestad (7.8m) who has been relevant, scoring penalties every now and then.
Out in the first round of Champions League qualification, they now enter Europa League qualifiers. If they qualify for the group stage, expect more rotation to kick in again. Magnus Eriksson, who scored 14 goals and 7 assists for Djurgården back in 2017, looks like a pretty much-done deal and it will be interesting to see what price he comes in at, and what position. Playing as a winger, a central midfielder, and a forward, a favourable classification could be key to his appeal. Midfielder Edward Chilufya (5.7m) tends to get games either on the flank or as a central striker, which also could be worth keeping an eye on as he (briefly ahead of his injury) did start three games in a row as the first choice centre forward between Gameweek 2-4.
The goalkeeping duo of Johan Brattberg (4.5m) and Viktor Noring (4.1m) has been the most popular picks so far, alongside striker Edi Sylisufaj (5.0m). Recently, Karl Söderström (5.8m) and Christoffer Carlsson (5.5m) have been popping up with the odd goal and assist as well. More than anything, however, Falkenberg have been a team to bet against with the captaincy, as they have kept just one clean sheet all season, conceding the second-most goals in the division (26).
Going forward it is really just the double Gameweek 21 that appeals, and even then, there are few clear-cut options. Falkenberg will spend the rest of the season fighting for their continued survival in the top division and odds are, it is a losing battle.
Taking the league by storm last season, scoring a record-breaking 75 goals from 30 games (while conceding way too much in the process), the expectation was pretty much just more of the same this season. Out went Nikola Djurdjic and with him seemingly, every ounce of fighting spirit. For a long period of time, Muamer Tankovic (10.7m) Alexander Kačaniklić (9.6m) and Darijan Bojanic (9.1m) have looked like shadows of their former selves. With Paulinho (10.2m) and Aron Jóhannsson (8.7m) consistent struggles with fitness, Gustav Ludwigson (7.2m) has swooped in and staked his claim. 4 goals and 4 assists is hardly world-class but his work ethic, however, has been.
While it’s taken some time to kick into gear, along with a formation change which coach Stefan Billborn is far from committed to, Hammarby are slowly starting to become a team to be counted with again. 3 wins and 3 draws from their last 6 games, the signs of a turnaround are there – the players to target though are still few and far between, beyond Ludwigson. Darijan Bojanic is starting to show some encouraging signs and could be in for a more profitable second half of the season, while Kačaniklić and Paulinho remain big question marks for the significant outlay they cost to get in.
With an already thin squad, the early-season injury to centre back and captain Andreas Granqvist (4.8m) might have sealed their fate, as they reside at the bottom of the table after 2 wins, 7 draws and 7 losses. Fantasy wise they have been a dumpster fire, with really only Martin Olsson (5.9m) and Anthony Van den Huurk (6.7m) providing points from time to time. Max Svensson (6.6m) came into the season as a promising talent, after 16 games he sits at 2 goals, 0 assists.
Like Falkenberg, the prospects look very dire going forward and it would take nothing short of a miracle to save them from relegation this season. Van den Huurk could still produce on their way down, though there are probably better options around that price point.
On the other side of the spectrum, Elfsborg have impressed immensely and currently reside in second place, four points behind Malmö FF. Besides the 6-0 collapse away to Häcken, they have actually not lost a single game. They have drawn 7 though, which is the main reason they’re still trailing the top spot. Jesper Karlsson (9.3m) has delivered on the hype after initially struggling to find the net, 1 goal in the first 9 games, followed by 8 goals and 5 assists in the 7 games after. Per Frick (6.5m) is also doing well recently, scoring 6 goals and 3 assists – though he suffered a rather lengthy period of blanks between Gameweek 3-11 which has made his ownership numbers swing from 607 up to 4924, and at the time of writing he sits in 3440 managers squads, though that number is likely to fall since he will be suspended in Gameweek 17 and has a blank in Gameweek 19. A good option for double Gameweek 21 though, as it stands.
Johan Larsson (6.1m) has played a big part in their successful season as well, scoring 1 goal and 8 assists from a right-back position. He and goalkeeper Tim Rönning (4.9m) are very popular picks and will likely remain that way for the run-in. A potential Jesper Karlsson sale could throw a spanner in the works as far as a title challenge goes, but a top-three placement remains very possible with or without him.
A Swedish cup win aside, Göteborg are actually having quite a horrible season. Sitting just 2 points clear of the relegation spots, they have 2 wins, 9 draws and 5 losses so far. Another thin squad, the loss of Robin Söder (9.2m) after 2 Gameweeks along with the continued fitness struggles of Giorgi Kharaishvili (9.7m), has meant their attack is looking very limp.
Alexander Farnerud (6.7m) and Sargon Abraham (6.0m) have failed to impress, while Tobias Sana (7.8m) is doing his best to keep Göteborg up with his 3 goals, 3 assists and also, relevant for fantasy managers at least, 10 offensive and 8 defensive bonus points. Sitting in just 3.2% of the squads, Sana could be one to target to stick out a bit. Christian Kouakou (6.0m) has been brought in to score goals but so far, he has not hit the ground running. Göteborg could really use a proper striker coming in, as for now, they have to put their hopes to Abraham and Kouakou.
That marks the end of part one, stay tuned for part two in the coming days!
As always, if you want to chat about fantasy football either comment here below – or hit me up @FF_Meltens on Twitter!