HIF eller MFF? The neck-and-neck title race between Helsingborg and Malmö continues with neither side managing to pull away, and the obvious question everyone is asking is who is most likely to prevail? Both teams have near perfect home records: no loses and one draw. Of their five remaining games, each have two matches against clubs in the top half of the table. Pushing things slightly in Helsingborg’s favour is the fact that they have three homes games remaining, while Malmö have two. However Malmö also have a 6-goal advantage over Helsingborg, and despite one less home game, they also have a marginally better draw. In a couple of weeks Helsingborg play away to Elfsborg, another club who haven’t lost at home all season, and the result of that game could decide the title.
Do Örebro still have a chance? Fourth placed Elfsborg are now 15 points behind the Skåne duo, meaning their season is well and truly over, but Örebro still have a mathematical chance of winning their first ever title…for now. Apart from a home match against the frightfully inconsistent IFK Göteborg, all their remaining fixtures are against teams in the bottom half of the table. You wouldn’t put money on it…but its not impossible.
Can AIK avoid absolute humiliation? There will be plenty of people who will be happy to see AIK get relegated, but they’re probably going to be disappointed. Three of their next five opponents are currently in the bottom five, while the other two, Djurgården and Elfsborg, have nothing left to play for. The relegation battle remains ridiculously tight, with as many as seven teams still at risk. But how often does a defending champion go down the very next season? They’ll scrape enough points together to make it.
Will IFK Norrköping clinch promotion? If Sundsvall doesn’t win this weekend, IFK Norrköping are guaranteed top division football next season. Sitting on top with a six-point lead over the third-placed Sundsvall, they’ll guarantee promotion if they win and Sundsvall don’t, or if the draw and Sundsvall loose. But with a goal difference better by seven, a win will make it very hard for them not to play in the top division next season. Historically IFK Norrköping are one of the most successful clubs in Sweden. After WWII they won eleven titles in the space of twenty years, and have been home to some of Sweden’s finest players including Gunnar Nordahl and Nils Liedholm. They’ve hit hard times since the 1960s, but this could be the first step back to their glory days.
Does anyone still play with two strikers? The other night I nearly froze while watching Gais v Häcken at Gamla Ullevi, and I couldn’t help notice that both sides went with 4-2-3-1 (or 4-2-1-3) formations, which seems to be the in thing since the World Cup. This would come as no surprise for those that watch elite leagues such as the Premier League or La Liga, but when two struggling relegation-threatened clubs from Gothenburg, are doing it you know 4-4-2 is well and truly dead. In fact just about every club in Sweden is going wide with one upfront, using either 4-3-3- or some variation of 4-2-3-1.