A very intense, yet at the same time drawn-out, season of Allsvenskan is put to the books. Malmö were the deserved winners of the league while equally deservedly Fredrik Sävås and his team IK Leiva claimed the title in the Fantasy game. Join me as we take a look at some of the big takeaways of the season!
Problematic pandemic proves public play proper part
With just one game played with (limited) fans in the stands, rock bottom side Falkenberg won the league as far as most spectators all season goes, with a woeful tally of 237 spectators. The exact impact of the stands echoing hollow and empty is hard to estimate, but it is clear that teams like AIK, Djurgården and Hammarby were severely impacted by not having fans at the games.
Sure, there were some other factors to take into account as well like AIK trying a completely new system early doors whilst blooding plenty of youth players, Djurgården losing key players Marcus Danielson and Mohamed Buya Turay ahead of the season and Hammarby losing pressing monster Nikola Djurdjic while Muamer Tankovic played just half of the season (and with more than one foot out the door)… But still, the drop off in effort, quality and energy has been apparent. In 30 games last year Hammarby scored an incredible 75 goals and let in 38, this season it was 47-47. Djurgården let in almost twice the number of goals and went from 53-19 to 48-33, while AIK looked shaky before a summer rebuild, going from 47-24 to 30-33. Even Malmö who were amongst the top teams dealing with the lack of fans best went from 16 conceded goals to 30 (though interestingly enough upped their attacking output from 56 to 64).
Hopefully next season we’ll see at least a few more games with people in the stands as it remains hard to not classify some of the matches this season as glorified friendlies… That said, I’m still very happy they didn’t cancel the season altogether as it’s been a nice diversion at a trying time. Also, as much as I’d like it not to be a factor, not a lot of clubs would have been able to survive to play next season without the money generated from letting the season go ahead in the end.
Top performers of the season
A few Gameweeks in it was all about Norrköping and how no one was going to be able to catch up to them, as other clubs struggled to find proper footing. Sead Haksabanovic, Christoffer Nyman and Rasmus Lauritsen found their way into most teams and produced big returns, before then more or less disappearing off the map as the schedule grew incredibly hectic during the first half of the season. In the end, Haksabanovic prevailed and after a return to form in the final few weeks, became the top-scoring player with 166 points.
Malmö started off slowly but after drawing with Norrköping in Gameweek 7, picked up the pace considerably and Anders Christiansen did eventually merit his premium price tag with 152 points, despite missing the better part of 4 games through injury and 3 additional games through different suspensions. Eric Larsson was slow to get going but ended the season with a proper bang, getting 41 points from his 5 last games and ending up as the second-highest scoring defender with 144. Anel Ahmedhodzic proved to be ever-present in the Malmö backline and his defensive bonus points gathered (32) was the second-highest amongst defenders in the league, the first being Falkenberg’s Carl Johansson with 36.
Sirius had spells during the season where they looked like absolute world-beaters going forward, but their defence was always struggling. Axel Björnström providing fantasy points going forward, with his 5 goals and 7 assists and Stefano Vecchia had an amazing run of form mid-season, ending up on 12 goals and 7 assists on the season and becoming the fifth-highest scoring midfielder. With a contract that’s run out, it will be very interesting to see where he goes if he remains in the league next season! Yukiya Sugita was good for most of the season (7 goals and 7 assists) but provided nothing at all from Gamweek 24 until the end.
Hammarby meanwhile flattered to deceive, never coming close to the heights of last season. As mentioned previously, the immense pressing job performed by Nikola Djurdjic last season cannot be underestimated, yet many of the players looked “off” and lacked the proper attitude when fans weren’t there to cheer them on. Alexander Kacaniklic and Muamer Tankovic both looked like shadows of their former selves, the latter most likely due to targeting a move abroad at all times. The one shining exception to this low energy state of play was Gustav Ludwigson, who never ever stopped running. Regarded as an impact sub at best ahead of the season, when Paulinho suffered an extended period on the sidelines due to injury (and Aron Jóhannsson struggling with both fitness and form), Ludwigson took his chance and never looked back. With 9 goals and 12 assists in 29 appearances, he became the second-highest scoring forward after Nyman.
Örebro who usually are a bit of a drag to watch really let themselves go half-way into the season, spurred on by new boys Deniz Hümmet and Rasmus Karjalainen, as well as a resurgent Nahir Besara. Besara, in particular, ended up having a really solid season, scoring 147 points courtesy of 12 goals and 4 assists, of which 8 goals and 3 assists came from Gameweek 18 and onward. At the back, ever-present Oscar Jansson had a sneakily fantastic season despite never hitting any kind of ownership height (12.8%), his 145 points landing him the top spot amongst goalkeepers. Top for saves (122), ball recoveries (311), the category “clearances/blocks/interceptions” (40), he was subsequently also top for defensive bonus points (41). Unlikely to stay at Örebro next season, it will be interesting to see if any of the top Allsvenskan clubs can snatch him up or if he is heading abroad.
Elfsborg had a great season and ended up second in the league, and Jesper Karlsson who left during the summer had a big part in that with his 11 goals and 5 assists. Per Frick was very inconsistent but he had a few spells of greatness, which meant he ended up the fourth-highest scoring forward with 123 points after scoring 10 goals and 7 assists. Johan Larsson was the top-scoring defender in the game with 162 points, thanks to an amazing tally of 3 goals, 11 (!) assists, 6 clean sheets, 31 offensive and 15 defensive bonus points. He won’t be cheap next season…
Varberg striker Astrit Selmani was close to challenging for the golden boot but a suspension in the final game put an end to any hope of that. Despite missing out in Gameweek 30 and five more games early doors through injury, Astrit Selmani had a great season, ending up on 15 goals and 6 assists. Born and raised in Malmö, there will be plenty of suitors to rival the title winners for his signature next season, amongst others all of the Stockholm clubs – where Hammarby had a bid rejected during the summer.
Some personal thoughts
It’s pretty easy to see where things went wrong for me personally this season. First off, I had way too much confidence in Hammarby remaining potent in attack, whereas most of the evidence pointed to them being a different team this year. This manifested itself in trying different options from them but in particular, Muamer Tankovic entered and left my team on 4 occasions, due to injuries and complete lack of form in between the goals. Likewise, I also backed AIK’s Nabil Bahoui to stay fit and firing when he got back from injury, something that failed to materialize as he just popped up with the odd goal in the second half of the season. And keeping with the nostalgic theme, I went early for Magnus Eriksson who really struggled to make an impact when coming back to Djurgården.
Overall I think I found it hard to adapt to a season where no particular asset was that explosive and the best strategy appeared to be just moving very slowly and accepting low scores most weeks, rather than taking hits and chasing “upside players” and captains. Both double Gameweeks (as well as the blank) was handled by me with about as much carefulness and tactfulness as a bull in a china shop – and it rarely worked out. I’ll willingly admit my reluctancy to bring in some of the Malmö players and in particular Anders Christiansen more than for a short spell also tanked my season, though my brief flirtation with Jo Inge Berget at least proved fruitful and I got out at the right time.
Next season I’m looking at trying to accept not having the best possible starting eleven for every Gameweek and letting go of some of the preconceived notions of what players and teams are going to be good and consistent. Assuming at least the first third or half of the season will be played without fans in the stands as well, I’ll also be a bit more sceptical of what to expect from (in particular) the Stockholm based clubs. That is unless Hammarby makes some great looking signings – then I will probably fall into that trap again! Equally, the teams without traditional big home support (like Varberg, Mjällby etc.) could potentially over-perform early on as they tend to be less impacted by the lack of fans in the stadiums.
Writing Scout picks for the official site has been a great source of joy for me personally this season and I hope they have been helpful for the Fantasy Football Scout community as well, especially as it has impacted my ability to write community articles here on a regular basis. I’m hoping we can try to build upon this partnership next season and preferably incorporate some more writers for Fantasy Allsvenskan here on FFS so if you have any ideas how, or would like to contribute in any kind of way next season please do not hesitate to contact either me or Geoff and we’ll set something up! 🙂 Even if it’s not on a regular basis, any and all help to keep this beast alive and thriving would be hugely appreciated.
Until next season I now bid thee farewell, and hope to see you again in February/March as pre-season starts up again. Thanks for this season and all your compliments and comments, as always, if you want to chat about fantasy football (or life in general), I’ll be around on the Twitter-sphere @FF_Meltens.
All the best,
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