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Allsvenskan 2013: AIK

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16:04 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: Along with IFK Göteborg and Malmö FF, AIK form Sweden's "big three". At this point of time they are also arguably the league's most popular club, with more season ticket holders and a higher average attendance than anyone else.

Like many popular clubs, their success attracts a lot of resentment and hostility from other fans – a factor not helped by a growing reputation for hooliganism. However supporters revel in the animosity and have adopted a Millwalleseque "everybody hates us and we don't care" mentality, reflected in the fact that they've proudly adopted what was once an opposition slur, "gnagare" (rodents), as a badge of honour.

Expectations in 2013: AIK have one of the league's best defences, which alone should make them formidable opponents. If their forwards can fire up, they'll challenge for the league again.

Players to watch: Niklas Backman, Martin Lorentszson, Ivan Turina and Daniel Majstorovic all form a strong backline, but they'll need new signing Kennedy Igboananike or promising youngster Viktor Lundberg to fill the gap left by Mohamed Bangura.

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Nic Townsend

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