At the top of the table, we’re starting to see a three-way race for the title between Helsingborg, Elfsborg and AIK.
For the second year in a row, Helsingborg reaches the halfway point of the season on top of the league and seemingly unassailable having lost only one game. However we all thought the same thing this time last year. Despite dropping plenty of points early in the season, Elfsborg find themselves in second and only three points behind, and they’ve finally found some consistency. AIK has also been resurgent in recent weeks. In their last five matches, they’ve recorded 15 goals and five wins. As for Helsingborg, they’ll have to defend their lead without Alexander Gerndt, Marcus Nilsson and anyone else they might loose before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
Gais and Gelfe continue to defy all preseason expectations. Gais are fourth and are bringing much joy to long-suffering fans with their Barcelona-esque football (at least as close as an Allsvenskan club can get to playing Barcelona-esque football). Gelfe’s high position continues to rely on a solid impenetrable backline, so they’re probably concerned that they’ve conceded six goals in their past two games.
Häcken are also enjoying a healthy run of form. Thanks to Mathias Ranegie, they’ve scored more goals than any other team, however until now their backline was letting them down. With the return of key defender Tom Söderberg, they’ve finally stemmed the flow and rising up the table as a result.
Malmö FF continues to underachieve and look like a shadow of the young dynamic side they were last season. Injuries have taken their toll, and since Rikard Norling replaced Roland Nilsson as manager, they’ve only won two matches out of five. Their Champions League campaign has gotten off to a fair start after a 3-1 aggregate win over HB Tórshavn of the Faeroe Islands, but their next match against Glasgow Rangers won’t be as easy.
At the bottom of the table, the season looks as good as over for Halmstad. Since my last post they haven’t been able to add to their solitary win. Mjällby, Syrianska and IFK Norrköping are stuck down there with them, however Djurgården has managed to turn their form around and pull themselves clear.
In the Europe League Häcken, Elfsborg and Helsingborg have all managed to progress to the third qualifying round, with Örebro being the only Swedish team to be knocked out.