We are mere days from the start of the 2021 season which means for the last few weeks a bunch of friendly matches have been taking place which means… yup, more statistics for us to chew on!
I managed to find 41 friendlies that took place between 17th April and 2nd May. There may well have been more, for example FK Haugesund played an in-house training match from two of their own sets of XI players. Obviously, this was of little interest and thus has not been included.
After a bit of Twitter-trawling and site-hopping I managed to collate all relevant information even if some of the line-ups/benches are somewhat incomplete. I’m happy to say it’s enough data for us to contemplate at least.
If anyone spots any mistakes I might have made or is able to fill in the blanks then please feel free – it will not be taken offensively… Enlightenment is always encouraged!
• Tromso (H) 1-1 [Saltnes]
• SK Brann (H) 4-1 [Sorli (P); Solbakken, Sorli A; Tounekti, Lindahl A; Lindahl (P), Bjorkan A]
• Molde FK (A) 1-1 [Sorli]
• Midfielder Vegard Leikvoll Moberg (6.5mNOK) played up front vs Tromso and Brann as Erik Botheim (10.0mNOK) was injured. He also scored an own goal
• Sondre Sorli (9.5mNOK) scored twice (1 penalty) and got an assist
• Fredrik Andre Bjorkan (6.0mNOK) was fouled in the box to earn a penalty
Bjorkan is a must for this season. He is one of the most creative and threatening defenders in the league and he should certainly cost more than 6.0m. His statistics and Fantasy Points score in the 2020 see him outperform the vast majority of defenders and he plays in the best defence in the league. Even at 7.0m I wouldn’t think twice.
Ola Solbakken (10.0mNOK) is a good player but will he face competition for minutes on the left wing from Hugo Vetlesen (7.0mNOK)? Vetlesen can easily play in the midfield three alongside Ulrik Saltnes (10.5mNOK) and Patrick Berg (6.0mNOK) (as he has done in some of these matches) but he’s more naturally an attacking wide player.
I do not understand why Satlnes and Berg are in so many teams – they will not be as effective this season. Satlnes no longer has Zinckernagel, Hauge or even Junker to bring him into play and while Berg is indeed brilliant, there are surely better 6.0m options out there and would you want your third Glimt player to be their defensive midfielder?
Marius Lode (5.0mNOK) is hard to ignore as he is so cheap. He may not be a defender you’d expect too many goals/assists from, but clean sheets should be a given.
My Picks: Sondre Sorli, Fredrik Andre Bjorkan, Marius Lode
Probable XI and Bench:
Assuming those flagged are fit/able to play
Khaykin; Sampsted, Lode, Moe, Bjorkan; Saltnes, Berg, Vetlesen/Brunstad Fet; Sorli, Botheim, Solbakken
Smits; Hoibraten, Konradsen, Kongsro; Brunstad Fet/Vetlesen, Moberg, Tounekti, Lindahl; Pernambuco
• Sogndal (A) 4-1 [Heggebo, Skaanes A]
• Asane (H) 0-1
• FK Bodo/Glimt (A) 4-1 [Moberg (OG)]
• Sandnes Ulf (H) 3-3 [Taylor; Delaveris; Taylor (P), Delaveris A]
• Asane (A) 1-2 [Taylor (P), Grogaard A; Taylor]
• Robert Taylor (7.5mNOK) scored 4 goals (including 2 penalties) = 20 Fantasy Points + any extra BFP
• Newcomers Filip Delaveris (7.5mNOK) and Kasper Skaanes (5.5mNOK) both scored and got an assist
• Brann actually beat Bodo/Glimt in a February friendly – 16-year-old midfielder Niklas Jense Wassberg (4.5mNOK) and Daouda Bamba (9.0mNOK) getting the goals
I’m still not convinced Brann will do that much better than last season but there is more cause for optimism regarding the recent investment in their midfield. Sadly that’s pretty much the only part of the squad they’ve added to and it’s worth remembering they’ve also lost Fredrik Haugen, Gilbert Koomson, Amer Ordagic and Gilli Rolantsson.
Left-back David Moller Wolfe (5.0mNOK) has found his way into the senior team after spending last season on loan at Asane where we returned 1 goal and 5 assists. He adds much needed depth to a poor defence but is it enough to make the difference they need? Probably not.
My Picks: Robert Taylor
Probable XI and Bench:
Opdal; Blomberg/Tveita, Forren, Kolskogen, Grogaard/Wolfe; Barmen, Strand; Skaanes, Taylor, Delaveris; Bamba
Johansen, Blomberg/Tveita, Kristiansen, Grogaard/Wolfe, Rasmussen, Pedersen, Simba, Heggebo
• Asane (H) 1-1 [Wadji]
• Viking (A) 4-0
• Ibrahima Wadji (8.0mNOK) scored Haugesund’s only pre-season goal from two friendlies
• First game of new season is 16th May so will play next friendly vs IK Start on 9th May
Alioune Ndour (7.0mNOK) represents real value for money – he got 9G 4A for Sogndal in OBOS Ligaen last season with an additional 2A in promotion play-offs and should find his way into the starting XI for Haugesund. He’s a player I’ll be monitoring closely as he could be absolute Fantasy gold.
Head coach Jostein Grindhaug has a decision to make: does he play a midfield pivot of Peter Therkildsen (6.0mNOK) and either Bruno Leite (5.0mNOK) or Kelvin Martin Krygard (5.0mNOK) as to afford himself the option of an attractive attacking trio or Ndour, Niklas Sandberg (7.5mNOK) and Kristoffer Velde (8.5mNOK)? I hope we see these tactics from this point on as the talent is clearly in this squad and to have a realistic chance of finishing much higher than last season they really do need to go for it a bit more.
Hopefully 2021 will see Haugesund rely on players such as Mikkel Desler (6.0mNOK) and Alexander Stolas (6.5mNOK) far less, placing more trust and responsibility in their young attacking midfielders.
My Picks: Mikkel Desler, Alioune Ndour
Probable XI and Bench:
Selvik?; Desler, Tiedemann, Pedersen, Stolas; Therkildsen, Leite; Ndour, Sandberg, Velde; Wadji
Sandvik, Fredriksen, Pallesen Knudsen, Krygard, Gunnarshaug/Berg Sande, Liseth/Endresen
• Ranheim (H) 0-3
• Molde FK (H) 0-0
• Rosenborg BK (A) 3-0
• Aalesunds (H) 0-4
No Top Players!
• 4 Friendlies… 4 losses and ZERO goals
• 10 goals conceded
• Sean McDermott (5.0mNOK) can only do SO much
If you think McDermott is a good shout because he’s a good keeper and he’ll save plenty of shots, then you might as well spend 0.5m less and go for Viljar Myhra (4.5mNOK) as Kristiansund look in a pretty bad way right now.
Friendly matches should not be seen as the be-all and end-all when it comes to making judgements about players/teams, but they are a gauge by which we can make some conclusions. Poor form in games in which they should be at least competitive coupled with an over-reliance on a player who is no longer at the club does not bode well for 2021.
Highly rated Agon Mucolli (6.5mNOK) is probably seen as the replacement to the legendary Amahl Pellegrino as in 40 games (on the left) in Denmark’s second tier – NordicBet LIGA – since the 19/20 season, he’s returned an impressive 25 direct goal involvements (14G, 11A).
Torgil Owre Gjertsen (7.5mNOK) joins from Poland’s first division – Ekstraklasa – but in 28 games he’s been much less productive (3G, 2A) and for me hasn’t done enough in recent seasons to warrant such a high price.
Central midfielder Sander Kartum (6.0mNOK) is another new signing who joins from OBOS outfit Stjordals where he scored 6 goals and produced 9 assists last season – he could be an absolute bargain.
My Picks: Andreas Hopmark (4.5mNOK), Agon Mucolli, Sander Kartum
Probable XI and Bench:
McDermott; Sormo, D. Ulvestad, Coly, Aasbak; Hopmark, Skarsem, Kalludra, Mucolli, Kartum; Kastrati
Hadaya, Furu, Askar, Diop, Bye, Pemi, Sivertsen/Gjertsen
• Stromsgodset (A) 2-3 [Isaksen, Krogstad A; Krogstad, Lehne Olsen A; Mathisen, Baccay A]
• Sarpsborg 08 (A) 0-2 [Lehne Olsen, Ranger A; Edh, Krogstad]
• Mjondalen (A) 2-1 [Kairinen]
• Not known for scoring loads of goals (scored more than just 8 teams in the 2020 OBOS Ligaen) but have looked lively in pre-season
• Recently acquired the brilliant Vetle Winger Dragsnes (5.0mNOK) to add to their already impressive-looking defence
Dragsnes is the most expensive Lillestrom defender – no-one else costs more than 4.5m. This is a tidy team with a tight defence that shouldn’t be expected to get beat easily. Lillestrom have the potential for a top-half finish in 2021 and I think they’ll surprise a lot of people come the end of the season.
Igoh Ogbu (4.5mNOK) has been in and around the Rosenborg setup since 2017 and joined Lillestrom at the start of 2021 after a decent spell at Sogndal IL. Lars Ranger (4.5mNOK) also represents good value as he’s been involved in set-pieces in pre-season and could potentially find himself in a full-back role despite being a centre-back by trade.
Espen Garnas (4.5mNOK) scored 5 times in 27 games last season (ironically he scored an own goal in pre-season) but Philip Slordahl (4.5mNOK) looks to have been given the nod ahead of him in recent friendlies. Whether or not that will be telling for this campaign remains to be seen, so I’d exercise caution around these two for now.
Pal Andre Helland (8.5mNOK) and Gjermund Asen (8.0mNOK) are huge signings and show how much ambition Lillestrom have – the Eliteserien is where they believe they belong and they’ll do whatever it takes to stay there. Helland could be a great squad player (I don’t believe he’ll ever be fit enough to play on a regular basis) and Asen has the chance to be involved in pretty much every game as opposed to warming the bench at the Lerkendal.
Daniel Gustafsson (6.5mNOK), Fredrik Krogstad (5.5mNOK) and Kaan Kairinen (6.0mNOK) are all good midfield options but with the addition of Helland and Asen I’m not too sure who plays ahead of who here. The three midfielders provided over 30 direct goal involvements last season and considering Lillestrom didn’t even score 50 goals, that shows how influential that trio are to this team.
Alex Craninx (4.5mNOK) joins from Molde and is a proven goalkeeper at this level in my eyes. I can’t see any reason not to have him as my backup goalkeeper – he could be this year’s Jacob Storevik (5.0mNOK).
Kent Havard Eriksen (6.0mNOK) should be a bargain for that price but the reality is that even scoring 14 goals and getting 7 assists last time out doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a starting place at your new club. Thomas Lehne Olsen (8.5mNOK) will be the main man up top (9G and 9A in 2020) but if Geir Bakke decides to go with two up top, Eriksen suddenly becomes the better option.
My Lillestrom player to watch has to be Tobias Svendsen (6.0mNOK). He might not have set the OBOS on fire last season (7G, 1A) but for 6.0m you’re getting a player pretty much guaranteed to start every week with very little direct competition for his place on the left flank.
My Picks: Alex Craninx, Vetle Winger Dragsnes, Lars Ranger, Tobias Svendsen
Probable XI and Bench:
Craninx; Ranger, Ogbu, Slordahl, Drasnes; Kairinen, Krogstad/Mathew, Asen, Gustafsson/Helland, Svendsen; Lehne Olsen
Christiansen, Garnas/Baccay, Edh/Sandberg, Krogstad/Mathew, Gustafsson/Helland, Eriksen, Bergum/Seferi/Mathisen
Basically – I’m not too sure!
• Grorud (H) 5-2 [Ovenstad x3; Walstad; Brochmann]
• Sandefjord (H) 4-0 [Solholm Johansen, Aasmundsen A; Brochmann, Sveen A; Skistad, Brustad A, Baekken, Olden Larsen A]
• Fredrikstad (A) 1-4 [Brochmann]
• Lillestrom (H) 2-1 [Solholm Johansen]
• Good pre-season so far: 12 goals in 4 games
• Sondre Solholm Johansen (5.0mNOK) scored 2 goals
• Martin Ovenstad (5.0mNOK) got an unlikely hat-trick
• Scored almost half the amount of goals in just 4 that they managed in 30 last season
Vegard Hansen will be pinching himself after his team’s relatively successful pre-season outings. Mjondalen are not a free-flowing goalscoring machine but have shown they can score more than one goal a game every now and then.
We looked at Solholm Johansen in one of my previous end of season articles and so it feels pretty good seeing him grab a couple of goals in these friendlies – he remains high on my wishlist.
Ibrahim Shuaibu (6.0mNOK) scored 6 times last season – no other player scored more than twice. Ovenstad and Tonny Brochmann (6.0mNOK) have both managed 3 in pre-season so far along with Johansen netting twice. Encouraging is the word I’d throw at this but I’m still wary and not getting too excited just yet.
Will Bejamin Stokke (6.5mNOK) get the nod ahead of Ibrahim or will they play together? Will Stokke be the back-up forward? My instinct is that Stokke has enough pedigree and gravitas that he will play ahead of Ibrahim but it doesn’t seem to be a foregone conclusion either way. Stokke is a veteran but has played twice as much at OBOS level than Eliteserien so I’m not too convinced he’ll add enough going forward that Hansen will be looking for.
Mjondalen’s midfield is littered with ageing players who should be making way for the youngsters such as Magnus Baekken (5.0mNOK), Frank Bamenye (5.0mNOK) and Erik Stavas Skistad (5.0mNOK). They’re all 19 years old and all cost 5.0m and if given a run in the team at any point in the season, we should take notice.
Alfred Schriven (5.5mNOK) is the more likely of the fringe players to break into the starting XI and to be honest I’m more excited about having someone like him in my team than Brochmann or Fredrik Brustad (6.0mNOK).
My Picks: Sondre Solholm Johansen (you knew this already), Lars Olden Larsen (6.0mNOK)
Probable XI and Bench:
Makani; Sell, Nakkim, Solholm Johansen, Walstad; Aasmundsen, Ovenstad/Twum, Brustad, Brochmann/Schriven, Larsen; Stokke/Ibrahim
Lysgard, Olsen Solberg, Skaar Eriksen, Gauseth, Sveen, Ibrahim/Stokke, Bamenye/Baekken/Schriven
• Stjordals (H) 2-1 [Hussain; Hestad]
• Kristiansund BK (A) 0-0
• Sogndal (H) 2-0 [Brynhildsen, Risa A; Fofana]
• FK Bodo/Glimt 1-1 [Gregersen]
• Etzaz Hussain (6.5mNOK) scores again
• Ola Brynhildsen (7.5mNOK) looks promising
• Stian Gregersen (6.0mNOK) scores and goes into the start of the season uninjured
• David Datro Fofana (9.5mNOK) probably hasn’t done enough to dislodge Ohikhuaeme Omoijuanfo (11.5mNOK) up front
• And where does Bjorn Sigurdarson (10.0mNOK) fit in exactly?
Surprisingly there’s not really much to write about regarding these friendlies. The goals have been spread around all areas of the team and no one is really standing out in terms of delivery. I only managed to root out one assister for these 5 goals (Birk Risa (6.0mNOK)) so if anyone knows of any other providers please do mention it in the comments below as this could genuinely help us identify where the threat is coming from.
Brynhildsen has looked good in the games in which he’s featured but I’m unsure as to his position in the pecking order as Molde’s midfield is perhaps the most abundant for talent in the entire league. Eirik Ulland Andersen (8.5mNOK) poses a threat to his minutes and after not featuring too much last season, he’ll be looking for more game time and if given the chance, he could be a huge player for the 2020 runners-up.
Eirik Hestad (8.5mNOK) has failed to live up to the hype surrounding him on the back of his performance in the 2018 season but we ignore this man at our peril. He’s one of the best players in his position in the league – if he finds his feet and can maintain his fitness then at 8.5m he could be an absolute steal.
Erling Knudtzon (7.0mNOK) seems to have been used more defensively than in attacking positions and Eliteserien legend Magnus Wolff Eikrem (12.5mNOK) has missed the last two games through injury.
Question marks remain about who will lead the line out of Ohi and Fofana while the returning Sigurdarson gives us even more of a headache when it comes to choosing a forward.
Molde’s best and most reliable assets are probably their defenders. Gregersen is one of if not the best defender in the league, offering both attacking threat and defensive aptitude. Hopefully he can stay fit and healthy and experience an injury-free season for all our sakes (and his!).
Birk Risa needs little explanation and the exciting 20-year-old Marcus Holmgren Pedersen (6.5mNOK) should be Molde’s primary right back for the foreseeable future.
My Picks: Stian Gregersen, Marcus Holmgren Pedersen, Eirik Hestad
Probable XI and Bench:
Linde; Holmgren Pedersen, Bjornbak, Gregersen, Risa; Aursnes, Hussain; Ulland Andersen/Brynhildsen, Eikrem, Hestad; Ohi
Ranmark, Haugen, Sinyan, Ellingsen, Knudtzon/Bolly/Sigurdarson, Breivik, Fofana
This is such a huge squad it’s very difficult to know exactly who will make the XI every week – think of this as the Eliteserien’s answer to Manchester City.
• Sandefjord (H) 0-0
• FK Jerv (H) 1-1 [Bakenga, Lauritsen A]
• Stabaek (H) 1-0 [Lauritsen]
• Sarpsborg 08 (A) 1-0
• Tobias Lauritsen (8.0mNOK) back on the scoresheet
• Markus Kaasa (6.5mNOK) playing in more advanced role than his position and value suggest
• Can Joshua Kitolano (5.5mNOK) live up to our hopes and expectations for him this season or was 2020 a fluke?
• New signing Kristoffer Larsen (6.5mNOK) offers potential on the left
I backed Lauritsen last season and I’m convinced had he not been hospitalised by Gudmund Kongshavn, he’d have been one of the top scorers in the league. Mushaga Bakenga (9.5mNOK) might be seen as the go-to Odds forward by many but for me I’d have the former in my team and pocket the 1.5m. As it happens, neither interest me as I’m not convinced Odd are a team that should be tickling our fancy all that much. At the moment, at least.
Larsen had a decent 2020 with Asane (4G, 8A) and adds much needed creativity in wide areas that Odd would not possess without him. Gilli Rolantsson (6.0mNOK) is also a new addition to the club but I’m sorry, I do not get it. He was an uninspired presence at Brann and is a player very much past his best. It seems as though his experience has been deemed valuable enough to warrant his acquisition, but I do not see him getting the amount of game time needed to consider him as a viable Fantasy option.
The promising Onyekachi Hope Ugwuadu (5.5mNOK) hasn’t featured much in pre-season which does not bode well for him going into a new season. New signing Conrad Wallem (5.5mNOK) seems to be preferred but Joshua Kitolano (5.5mNOK) still appears the best option due to being nailed and his price.
Solomon Owusu (5.0mNOK) looks likely to take up residence on the right side of defence with the centre partnership of Steffen Hagen (5.0mNOK) and Odin Luras Bjortuft (5.0mNOK) likely to remain undisturbed as Ruud faces a lengthy lay-off.
My Picks: Solomon Owusu, Joshua Kitolano, Kristoffer Larsen
Probable XI and Bench:
Rossbach; Solomon, Bjortuft, Hagen, Kitolano; Lekven, Kitolano, Jorgensen; Kaasa, Bakenga, Lauritsen/Larsen
Wahlstedt, Maeland, Hallstensen, Lauritsen/Larsen, Wallem/Kachi, Rolantsson, Skogvoll
#Eliteserien #Friendlies #Team #Summaries #Part
Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F05%2F04%2Feliteserien-2021-friendlies-team-summaries-part-1%2F