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Allsvenskan 2013: IF Elfsborg

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15:56 CET+01:00
With play in Sweden's top football league set to kick off at the weekend, contributor Nic Townsend offers the lowdown on each team and their chances of taking home the 2013 Allsvenskan title.

In brief: In just a few years, Elfsborg have quickly established themselves as a force in Swedish football, with notable success both on and off the field. It all started in 2005, when the club chose to build a new modern stadium and attract some of their former stars from abroad, including Swedish international Anders Svensson.

This immediately resulted in a league title in 2006, and they’re the only club to finish in the top four every year over the past seven seasons. Having said that, inconsistency has also been a problem for them, having only won two titles in this period, despite easily having one of the league’s strongest squads.

Expectations in 2013: Despite an aging squad that still relies on veterans Anders Svensson and Stefan Ishizaki, Elfsborg maintain a strong list. Midfield Oscar Hiljemark (PSV Eindhoven) is the biggest lose, however in his place they’ve recruited proven goal scorer Mohamed Bangura and towering defender Tom Söderberg.

Players to watch: Mohamed Bangura, who has been signed on loan from Celtic, has already proven he can excel in the Allsvenskan after his time at AIK. He could well have the same impact at Elfsborg as Robin van Persie has had at Manchester United, and make the difference between winning the league and falling short again.

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Nic Townsend

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