It’s been a long time between blog posts so I hope there are still some people out there still reading. I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Since the last blog entry (last February), the Allsvenskan season has well and truly kicked off and we’re now ten games into the season. Just prior to the first round, I wrote this preview for The Local, and I’m pleased to report that I’m not radically wrong.
As it stands Helsingborg tops the table by one point, which will more than likely extend to four points once they are awarded an automatic win after their match against Malmö was suspended. Once again they have been the most consistent team in the competition, with the best defense having only conceded one goal at home all year.
Elfsborg remain the favourites with bookmakers, and currently sit in second spot. In typical Elfsborg fashion they have been wildly unpredictable. Lasse Nilsson and Niklas Hult have spearheaded an attack that has scored more goals than any other team, but they also concede goals at an alarming rate, including three against struggling Trelleborg.
Malmö also remain one of the league’s stronger teams but haven’t been as dominate as 2010. They can also expect to loose a few players in the summer transfer window as well as their manager Roland Nilsson, who will be moving to FC Copenhagen.
Kalmar are currently third and would have to be considered a title contender if it weren’t for their terrible away form. They have won all five home games, but only won one away.
IFK Göteborg should also be a title contender on paper, boasting the league’s highest goal scorer Tobias Hysen. But in terms of goals conceded they also have the league’s fifth worst backline. They also lost their first four games and have a lot of catching up to do.
The two biggest overachievers have been Gais and Gelfe, who were both joint favourites for relegation at the start of the season. However after bolstering their attack with Razak Omotoyossi, Alvaro Santos, Amadaiya Rennie and Wanderson, Gais look a lot more potent upfront and find themselves in sixth. By contrast, Gelfe have defied preseason predictions through a solid dependable backline.
At the bottom of the table, Halmstad and Djurgården are both struggling. Halmstad has only recorded one win, scored only seven goals (the league’s lowest) and conceded 17 (the leagues highest) making them the competition’s worst team in every facet. Djurgården at least have the consolation of having beaten Halmstad, but at this stage it looks like they might both get relegated together.
Unfortunately the biggest talking points this season have been off the field. Already two matches have been suspended mid-match due to hooliganism.
Last month the Skåne derby between Helsingborg and Malmö
had to be suspended after Helsingborg keeper Pär Hansson first had a firework thrown from the crowd go off right next to his ear, and was then attacked by a pitch invader. Two months ago, Syrianska v AIK was suspended after an object thrown from the crowd struck the linesman. There have been a
lot comparisons made in the media with England in the 1970s and 80s, which seems a little unfair considering these incidents can hardly be compared with the tragedies of Heysel and Hillsborough. But for football fans it means we can probably expect to see a lot security at matches from now on. It’s unfortunate because basically the only time the Allsvenskan gets any attention outside of Sweden is when incidents like this take place. I feel obliged to mention it because you can’t really have a blog about Swedish football and ignore the one issue that is grabbing all the headlines. But on the other hand,
I really do want to ignore it because I genuinely feel the problem is nowhere near as big as so many tabloids make it out to be. England, Scotland, Italy, Serbia – these are countries with a hooligan problem, and it infuriates me when columnists try to equate the Allsvenskan with the same standards. I’d also rather focus on what is happening on the pitch rather than what a very small minority get up to in the stands.
In other news, the national team recently tore Finland apart and suddenly look a half decent chance of qualifying for the European Championships. The excellent Zonal Marking website has provided an analysis of the match, which you can read here, and you can see all five goals here.