I’ll jump straight back into it starting with Rosenborg BK…
• Raufoss (H) 3-0 [Islamovic, Andersson A; Ceide, Islamovic A; Holse]
• Ranheim (H) 2-1 [Serbecic, Holse A; Islamovic]
• Tromso (H) 1-0 [Islamovic (P)]
• Kristiansund (H) 3-0 [Vecchia x2; Holse]
• Ranheim (A) 2-1 [Ceide, Islamovic]
• Dino Islamovic (10.5mNOK) ON FIRE
• Carlo Holse (8.0mNOK) out to prove a point but it looks as though Stefano Vecchia (9.5mNOK) has the right wing to lose
• Emil Konradsen Ceide (8.5mNOK) looking good on the left flank
• Markus Henriksen (6.5mNOK) OOP potential
• Rasmus Wiedesheim-Paul (6.5mNOK) = bench warmer?
Big Dino has been electric over the past month. He’s scoring for fun and seems to be full of confidence which makes him rather hard to ignore. I suppose we’re asking ourselves who do we choose out of Islamovic and Veton Berisha (10.5mNOK), or can we have both?
Holse has been used as both a sub and a starter and even asked to drop in at left back – a position in which he excelled and actually produced an assist. Vecchia seems to have the edge for a starting position but rotation looks likely between the two, which makes Ceide the more attractive midfield option if we are to assume Kristoffer Zachariassen (10.0mNOK) is too pricey which in my opinion he is.
Rosenborg will keep plenty of clean sheets this season. They have invested heavily in restructuring their back line with new additions such as Jonathan Augustinsson (6.5mNOK) and Adam Andersson (6.0mNOK) of particular interest (even though Augustinsson is likely to miss the first few matches of the season) while midfielder Henriksen is currently listed as a defender, increasing his appeal considerably.
My Picks: Markus Henriksen, Emil Konradsen Ceide, Dino Islamovic
Probable XI and Bench:
Hansen; Reitan, Eyjolfsson, Hovland, Andersson; Zachariassen, Henriksen, Hoff; Ceide, Islamovic, Vecchia/Holse
Faye Lund, Serbecic, Chrupalla/Augustinsson, Vecchia/Holse, Tagseth, Konradsen, Wiedesheim-Paul/Molins
• Odd (A) 0-0
• Mjondalen (A) 4-0
• Stromsgodset (A) 1-0
• IK Start (A) 1-1 [Sodlund]
• Former Odd midfielder Andre Sodlund (5.5mNOK) scores only goal of pre-season
• Lost both friendly matches versus relegation rivals
• Kept just 1 clean sheet from 4 matches – impervious defence a thing of the past?
• Vidar Ari Jonsson (5.0mNOK) now listed as midfielder but will more than likely drop back into defence from time to time
Let’s keep this short and sweet. Jacob Storevik was brilliant last season. I do not see a repeat on the cards for him or his defence. 5.0m for a goalkeeper who finds himself in a relegation-threatened team does not speak value in my book.
Everyone seems to be going crazy for Martin Kreuzriegler (4.5mNOK) and while I agree he’s not the worst choice, we shouldn’t ignore Sander Moen Foss (4.5mNOK). Sandefjord are currently lacking a real left-back and as Lars Markmanrud (4.5mNOK) is injured, this could see one of Kreuzriegler/Foss/Marc Vales (5.0mNOK) pushed into that position. Vales is not the worst option but 5.0m seems steep compared to what is on offer elsewhere.
Ari Jonsson is more expensive and no longer a defender which makes him seem a poor choice compared to Kristoffer Normann Hansen (5.5mNOK) for a mere 0.5m more. Sodlund’s role in this team is yet to be fully understood which makes him a relatively unknown quantity at this point.
The safest option has to be Harmeet Singh (6.0mNOK) due to assuredness of starts and overall ability but 6.0m for any Sandefjord is surely much to costly.
Once again it looks as though Sandefjord’s attack does not warrant any contemplation whatsoever.
My Picks: Sander Moen Foss, Martin Kreuzriegler
Probable XI and Bench:
Storevik; Wembangomo/Markmanrud, Marc Vales, Foss, Kreuzriegler; Ordagic, Mork/Singh, Jonsson, Sodlund/Brenden, Normann Hansen; Gussias
Due, Haakenstad, Wembangomo/Markmanrud, Mork/Singh, Sodlund/Brenden, Kurtovic/ze Eduardo/Falchener, Celorrio
A lot of poor players in midfield who are likely to be rotated – avoid.
SARPSBORG 08 FF
• Stabaek (H) 2-2 [Soltvedt; Lindseth, Halvorsen A]
• Valerenga (A) 2-1 [Skalevik]
• Lillestrom (H) 0-2
• Odd (H) 1-0 [Lindseth, Bojang A]
• Ole Jorgen Halvorsen (6.5mNOK) and Jonathan Lindseth (6.5mNOK) make their case for inclusion
• Nicolai Naess (4.5mNOK) and Joachim Soltvedt (5.5mNOK) switch positions!
• Anton Saletros (6.5mNOK) now a more attacking player or just a phase?
• Mohamed Ofkir (6.5mNOK) promises so much but can he actually deliver this season?
• Ibrahima Kone (7.5mNOK) and Steffen Skalevik (6.0mNOK) share duties up top
• Eirik Wichne (5.5mNOK) a promising signing and Benjamin Karamoko (5.0mNOK) could prove to be a shrewd buy
Not many goals but Lindseth looks the most likely outlet at this moment in time. Sulayman Bojang (4.5mNOK) featured mainly as a sub but did get forward on numerous occasions. Saletros looks likely to occupy a more attacking role at times this season but I wouldn’t be expecting it every single game.
Bjorn Utvik (5.5mNOK) is the most nailed defender along with Joachim Thomassen (5.5mNOK) who will offer OOP from time to time as he also plays in midfield.
Ofkir and the returning Rashad Muhammed (6.5mNOK) also seem likely to share game time.
I think this Sarpsborg team doesn’t really know what it wants to be at this moment in time. They have quality scattered around in different positions but have a lot of players vying for similar spots.
My Picks: Bjorn Utvik (obvious choice, sorry), Jonathan Lindseth
Probable XI and Bench:
Kristiansen; Odegard, Utvik, Dyrestam/Karamoko, Bojang/Wichne; Naess, Saletros/Palsson, Thomassen/Soltvedt, Lindseth, Halvorsen; Kone/Skalevik
Nilsen, Dyrestam/Karamoko, Bojang/Wichne, Jarl/Thomassen/Soltvedt, Ofkir/Muhammed, Saletros/Palsson, Kone/Skalevik
I have less confidence in this prediction as Sarpsborg will often deploy a 3 man defence as well as a flat four. Not too happy to really recommend anyone here.
• Sarpsborg (A) 2-2 [Kinshita, Solheim A; Nusa]
• Odd (A) 1-0
• HamKam (H) 2-1 [Skytte (P), Amankwah a]
• Mats Solheim (5.5mNOK) heavily involved at both ends of the pitch but didn’t start a single friendly
• Yaw Amankwah (5.0mNOK) backing up positive analysis from previous article
• Emil Jonassen (4.0mNOK) starts as long as Jeppe Moe (5.0mNOK) remains injured…
• Sturla Ottesen (4.5mNOK) set for more game time?
• Sammy Skytte (6.0mNOK) started every single friendly but does he have a place in the starting XI alongside Herolind Shala (6.5mNOK), Oliver Valaker Edvardsen (7.0mNOK) and co?
Solheim hasn’t started a friendly but I find it hard to believe he doesn’t play every single game he’s fit for. Amankwah is no spring chicken and it looks as though Ottesen could very easily take his place or at least run alongside him every now and then. Jonassen could be the only 4.0m regular and we can probably expect Nicolas Pignatel Jenssen (4.5mNOK) to feature more heavily this season.
Stabaek have plenty of decent midfielders and have reunited with Herman Geelmuyden (6.0mNOK) and brought in HamKam’s Marcus Solbakken (5.5mNOK) on a permanent deal though I wouldn’t expect too much – the 20-year-old managed just 3 returns (2G, 1A) last season.
Shala is the big-name signing which will no doubt turn heads but is he living off his reputation rather than ability? I won’t be in any rush to get him that’s for sure.
Edvardsen seems the most obvious choice along with Kornelius Normann Hansen (6.5m) but Skytte has looked good in pre-season and if he features enough could be a very good option at 6.0m.
Fitim Azemi (6.5mNOK) looks to be winning the race for striker ahead of Kosuke Kinoshita (5.5mNOK).
My Picks: Marcus Sandberg (5.5mNOK), Oliver Valaker Edvardsen
Probable XI and Bench:
Sandberg; Solheim, Amankwah, Ottesen/Pignatel Jenssen, Jonassen/Moe; Lumanza/Solbakken, Kostadinov, Edvardsen, Skytte/Normann Hansen, Shala; Azemi/Edvardsen
Brauti, Vogt, Ottesen/Pignatel Jenseen, Jonassen/Moe, Lumanza/Solbakken, Skytte/Normann Hansen, Lundal/Isaksen, Kinoshita
Versus HamKam, Stabaek played without either of Kinoshita or Azemi – there is the possibility that Edvardsen occupies the most forward position at times.
• Lillestrom (H) 2-3 [Mawa; Enersen]
• Sandefjord (H) 1-0 [Enersen]
• Fredrikstad (H) 1-6 [Jack]
• Humilated by Fredrikstad
• Valdimar Ingimundarson (6.5mNOK) now listed as midfielder
• Salvesen unlikely to play any time soon
• Johan Hove (8.0mNOK) CAN’T do it all on his own
• Even if Gustav Valsvik (5.5mNOK) does join, there is absolutely no value in this defence other than from save points via Myhra!
If Stromsgodset’s woes weren’t serious enough, influential midfielder and club captain Mikkel Maigaard (8.0mNOK) is currently out injured along with long-term absentee Lars-Jorgen Salvesen. There are no goals in this team and plenty will pass through it. Stromsgodset were lucky to avoid the drop last season but I think it’s almost inevitable that we will see them relegated this year. If Hove is serious about his career he should be begging for a move away and even though the wonderfully-named Fred Friday (8.0mNOK) will be looking to fill Salvesen’s shoes up front, I don’t think he’ll be able to.
My Picks: Sondre Fosnaess Hanssen (For value alone)
Starting XI and Bench:
Myhra; Vilsvik, Gunnarsson, Fosnaess Hanssen, Mendy/Mickelson; Jack, Maigaard, Hove, Tokstad, Stenevik; Mawa/Friday
Saetra, Leifsson, Nyhagen, Mendy/Mickelson, Stengel, Ingimundarson, Mawa/Friday
Unsure about the defence
• Bodo/Glimt (A) 1-1 [Ebiye, Mikkelsen A]
• Rosenborg (A) 1-0
• Valerenga (A) 3-4 [Yttergard Jensen, Lasse Nilsen A; Kitolano (P); Espejord; Ebiye, Lasse Nilsen A]
• Moses Ebiye (5.5mNOK) should be first-team regular
• Joshua Kitolano’s brother, Eric Kitolano (7.5mNOK) on penalties and looks dangerous
• Lasse Nilsen (5.0mNOK) listed as defender but plays in more advanced role
Tromso offer a lot going forward but they also boast some decent defenders and a good goalkeeper. Lasse Nilsen, Eric Kitolano and Moses Ebiye are the standout players for me along with Simen Wangberg (4.5mNOK) although he has been linked with a move away from the club so watch this space.
An impressive 4-3 away win at Valerenga topped off a pretty decent pre-season and overall I have real issues with this team – they won’t get relegated and there are plenty of decent options throughout the team – goalkeeper Jacob Karlstrom (4.5mNOK) and former Heerenveen forward Runar Espejord (7.5mNOK) offering value at both ends of the pitch.
My Picks: Jacob Karlstrom, Lasse Nilsen, Eric Kitolano, Moses Ebiye
Although Lasse Nilsen wasn’t involved for half of Tromso’s 2020 campaign, he’s featured heavily in their pre-season, is in form and is more than capable of performing in the Eliteserien and for those reasons I’m happy to recommend him.
Probable XI and Bench:
Karlstrom; Gundersen/Helstad Amundsen, Jenssen, Wangberg, Totland; Yttergard Jenssen, Ingebrigtsen, Kitolano, Nilsen; Ebiye, Espejord
Trige, Gundersen/Helstad Amundsen, Amarson, Berntsen, Mikkelsen, Antonsen/Stabell, Hafstad
• Sarpsborg (H) 2-1 [Utvik OG, Horn Myrhe A; Tollas Nation, Horn Myhre A]
• FK Jerv (H) 3-1 [Donnum, Bjordal A; Layouni, Borchgrevink A, Donnum (P), Jatta A]
• Raufoss (H) 6-1 [Donnum, Christensen A; Layouni; Donnum (P), Layouni A; Christensen, Kjartansson A; Skaret; Udahl, Jatta A]
• Tromso (H) 3-4 [Bjordal, Sahraoui A; Christensen, Bjordal A; Christensen, Kjartansson A]
• Aron Donnum (10.0mNOK) probably worth 12.0m at this point
• Tobias Christensen (7.0mNOK) scoring from the bench and pulling the strings when he starts
• Amor Layouni (10.5mNOK) diving in Valerenga’s friendly match with Raufoss to win a penalty
• Felix Horn Myhre (5.5mNOK) looks set to leave – potentially for Brann – but looked good in pre-season
• Osame Sahraoui (8.0mNOK) may get less game time than Christensen… one to watch
• Christian Dahle Borchgrevink (6.0mNOK) still looking a threat down the right
• Youngster Seedy Jatta (5.0mNOK) impresses
The race for the title this year is going to be so close, and I think Valerenga will push their rival contenders as far as they can go all season long. They have so many creative and attacking players as well as being able to foster an organised and defensive shape. They’ve recruited well over the winter and have put themselves in a great position to deal with the added challenge of playing in Europe.
Donnum and Layouni look set to operate either side of Vidar Kjartansson (11.5mNOK) with Oldrup Jensen (5.0mNOK) being the linchpin around whom Henrik Rorvik Bjordal (8.5mNOK) and one of Sahraoui and Christensen will roam. I’d say Christensen seems to be ahead of Sahraoui at this moment in time but that can all change within the blink of an eye so as much as I’d love to have Christensen in my team with Donnum, I’m not sure it’s a risk worth taking at this juncture.
Wunderkind Odin Thiago Holm (5.5mNOK) will miss the start of the campaign due to a meniscus tear so for the next couple of months he can remain on the periphery. (He’s a player I highly rate and when he’s able to train properly again I think he could give us and his teammates something to think about).
If Myhre does leave it makes Valerenga’s defence pretty obvious to guess, with the only real threat in the form of rotation coming from Brage Skaret (4.5mNOK) towards Jonatan Tollas Nation (5.5mNOK).
Henrik Udahl (8.5mNOK) had a phenomenal 19/20 season for Asane, scoring 19 goals and aiding his team’s cause with a further 4 assists. I have no doubt in my mind that Kjartansson will be substituted in the games he starts as well as being rested every now and then. Udahl is a young, hungry, quality player who will be looking for any opportunity he can get.
This is an exciting Valerenga with a ridiculous amount of quality in every position, but they are lacking depth. I think they’re maybe another couple of defenders and midfielders away from a serious title challenge, but stranger things have happened.
My Picks: Kristoffer Klaesson (5.5mNOK), Christian Dahle Borchgrevink, Aron Donnum, Tobias Christensen & potentially Henrik Udahl
Probably XI and Bench:
Klaesson, Borchgrevink, Nasberg, Tollas Nation, Adekugbe/Myhre; Oldrup Jensen, Bjordal, Christensen; Donnum, Kjartansson, Layouni
Haug, Skaret, Adekugbe/Myhre/Nouri, Holme, Jatta, S. Opsahl, Udahl
• Asane (H) 1-0 [Fridjonsson]
• Sandnes (A) 1-1 [Kabran]
• IK Start (H) 3-3 [Kabran, Berisha A; Berisha, Bell A; Fridjonsson, de Lanlay A]
• FK Haugesund (H) 4-0 [Fridjonsson, Bell A; Berisha x2, Kabran A x2; Haugen]
• Veton Berisha (10.5mNOK) still scoring for fun
• Samuel Kari Fridjonsson (6.5mNOK) also scoring for fun
• Kevin Kabran (8.5mNOK) is a joy to behold
• Viking like to score goals
Berisha – like all the other premium attacking players we’ve looked at – has lived up to his reputation during Viking’s pre-season fixtures. 3 goals and 1 assist in 4 games is a great return but new signing Kevin Kabran has arguably performed even better, netting twice and also providing a couple of assists. At 8.5m he’s Viking’s second-most expensive player but there are another 14 midfielders either equally priced or more expensive. He showed glimpses of his quality at Start last season but now he’s surrounded by much better players I wonder what kind of player we will be treated to this season.
Viking really do have a very well fleshed out squad, with good cover in pretty much every position. Left-back Shayne Pattynama (5.5mNOK) joining the club means Viljar Vevatne (5.0mNOK) can stop filling in as a fullback and focus more on his centre-back duties.
Joe Bell (5.0mNOK) is such a good footballer and even though he won’t score loads of goals, I’m confident in his ability to provide enough assists to make his price feel far cheaper than it should be. Fridjonsson is not known for his goal-scoring exploits but he’s making a bit of a name for himself of late. He’s in more than 11% of teams at the time of writing and it’s no wonder as he’s cheap, a first-team regular and looks raring to go.
Yann-Erik de Lanlay (7.5mNOK) is a much better player than he’s often given credit for but ultimately he faces an uphill battle for a place in the team as Viking have so many midfielders and have recently signed fan-favourite Zlatko Tripic from Turkish outfit Goztepe S.K. No doubt the Norwegian-Bosnian winger will find his way into many teams before Sunday, but personally I’m finding it hard to get too excited. Looking over his stats for the last few years don’t make for kind reading – he’s barely scored or set up many goals at all, and even when he last played for Viking he was far from prolific. The romance is strong in the Viking fans but ultimately I’m not too sure his return will have the fairy-tale ending they are pining for.
My Picks: Henrik Heggheim (5.0mNOK), Joe Bell, Kevin Kabran, Veton Berisha
Probable XI and Bench:
Austbo; Bjorshol, Heggheim, Vevatne, Pattynama/Hove; Bell, Lokberg, Torsteinbo, Fridjonsson, Kabran; Berisha
Ostbo, Vikstol, Pattynama/Hove, de Lanlay, Sebulonsen, Auklend/Nilsen Tangen, Hoiland