Norway Tippeligaen – Sarpsborg v Lillestrom Preview (17/7/16)

SARPS-LSK

Sarpsborg preview

The hosts fell to a 5-2 defeat at Rosenborg last week but the scoreline was extremely harsh on them. For a large part of that game Sarpsborg were extremely competitive and on another day might’ve pulled it back to 3-3. In the end, two goals in stoppage time disguised the closer nature of the match. Rosenborg had to score a couple of really good goals to win as well and they pushed the champions hard. After a poor start to the season Sarpsborg have really picked up form. Prior to the RBK game, they’d won 6 of their last 9 and played some decent stuff. Important midfielder Anders Tronsden is suspended for this match which is a blow, but the rest of the squad looks set to be in pretty decent condition. Sarpsborg are unbeaten at home since the opening day of the season and haven’t conceded a goal here for over 400 minutes!

Lillestrom preview

LSK continued their slump last week by losing to Stabaek 2-1 at home. Since the summer break they’ve looked absolutely terrible and played some awful football, to an alarming standard. It’s incredible that in both games they arguably could’ve end up with draws, but that’s mostly been down to the level of opposition who have missed loads of chances. Nothing about LSK seems good at the moment. At the back, too many holes are appearing, they lack bite in midfield and creativity seems non existent at times. Lillestrom were dealt another blow this week by the news that key striker Fred Friday is leaving the club to AZ Alkmaar. This is no surprise, it was a question of ‘when not if’ he’d leave. But it still leaves a big hole for now and only adds to their woes. At times like this you need leadership, therefore it’s a blow that experienced centre back Frode Kippe is suspended. LSK have only won one away match this season and will have to significantly improve on recent showings if they are to add to that tally.

Conclusion

Based on what I’ve seen since the resumption of the league after its summer break, there can only be one winner here. Lillestrom have looked awfully sluggish and as if they’ve been on a month long piss-up somewhere in the Mediterranean! Nothing about them seems sharp right now and the overall mood around the camp is poor. Losing Fred Friday was expected, but it’s still a big blow. He’s a massive part of their attack and they lose a massive weapon with him departed. Even if Lillestrom were playing well, this would still be a tough game. Sarpsborg are in pretty good form, especially here at home. Right now, you have to fancy them to keep a clean sheet, so it will probably only take one goal for them to win the match. I’d say 1-0 or 2-0 are the most likely outcomes, maybe more if Lillestrom are as shocking once again. I am never usually a fan of the -0.75 handicap line too much, but in this instance I think taking it @ 1.98 looks a good bet. At very worst the hosts should win the game, and in all truth I expect them to claim a convincing victory.

Prediction: 2-0
Recommended bet: Sarpsborg -0.75 @ 1.94 (minimum odds acceptable 1.75)

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