Norway Tippeligaen – Valerenga v Sogndal Preview (15/7/16)

VIF - SOG

Valerenga preview

VIF remain rooted inside the relegation zone after yet another loss last week at Brann. Incredibly, it was their tenth defeat of the campaign and looking at all the Tippeligaen squads on paper, in my opinion they are the most underachieving team right now. Head coach Kjetil Rekdal has found himself under a lot of pressure, with some saying that he might have to be replaced. Well, he has now been replaced, to a certain extent. Ronny Deila, the ex Celtic manager is going to take charge of the team in 2017. For now, Rekdal keeps his position as manager, although I’m not so sure that’s a great idea. Valerenga have looked awful of late and to concede four goals against Brann last weekend is totally criminal. Sooner or later their form must surely improve, there’s enough quality in the squad to get them out of trouble. But they sold their starting striker Deshorn Brown a couple of weeks ago which won’t help matters.

Sogndal preview

The promoted visitors head to Oslo unbeaten in eight games and have been one of the most in-form Tippeligaen sides. Manager Eirik Bakke has done a really good job with this group of players and everyone knows each other inside out at the moment. It’s clear the whole squad is enjoying its football and working hard for each other, team spirit is superb. Sogndal were quite a negative side in the early stages of the season but have gradually opened up. This has been clever tactical management from Bakke, but also a result of the gradual increased confidence within their ranks. If course, Bakke has been helped by a lack of injuries and suspensions. Once again, it appears as though the squad is going to be in excellent condition again. Make no doubt about it, Sogndal are an extremely dangerous side right now.

Conclusion

At some stage, Valerenga will start to go on a good run. They are currently second bottom and I know it’s an old adage, but their squad is simply ‘too good to go down’ However, right now they look a bit of a mess. The latest off the field news might settle things down a little bit but Kjetil Rekdal still has a really tough job on his hands. He’s called for the fans to really get behind the players here, but it’s understandable how many supporters are a bit disenchanted at the moment. Valerenga have shown little of late that they can be trusted in any form. Sogndal meanwhile, are riding the crest of a wave. They have looked excellent in recent weeks, topped off by a superb 4-2 win against Molde. Unless Valerenga rapidly find an improvement then this looks like a draw or an away win.

Prediction: 1-2

Betting analysis

Valerenga are a side who will always be overrated by the bookies because of their big name and stature. Incredibly, they are no bigger than 2.13 to win this match and those odds look far too skinny right now. I have no idea who could put some blind faith into a side that just got beaten 4-1 at Brann, and who haven’t looked beating anyone for quite some time. Sogndal are constantly an underrated team and I’ve backed them in both of the last two weeks with great success. I will once again jump on board the Sogndal express with a +0.5 handicap @ 1.83. This is a silly price and as long as they avoid defeat, this bet is a full winner. If Valerenga manage to pick themselves up and deliver a good performance and victory, then fair enough. I would have no regrets, because when this sort of price and line is being offered, it’s a no brainer of a decision to take Sogndal.

Recommended bet: Sogndal +0.5 @ 1.83 (minimum odds acceptable 1.70)
Alternative line: Sogndal +0.25 @ 2.02 (minimum odds acceptable 1.85)

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