Allsvenskan Round 18 Review
A lot of crazy things can happen in football. For example: teams favored in a game can end up losing by disproportionate numbers. Of course in the end the better teams tend to win out. Time is a factor in every season and as things wear on, the smaller clubs with their tiny budgets just cannot keep up. Players get worn out from playing week in week out, and if you are one of those who hold the team together: well don’t count on a break. In Allsvenskan 2011, things are falling into their natural place at a rapid pace.
To start the 18th round I thought I would begin with the big game, which of course was the Scanian Derby between Helsingborg and Malmö FF. Helsingborg is leading the league at the moment, but that is something they did last season as well until they ran out of gas in the late stages and Malmö pushed their gas pedal to the floor. Malmö this season is quite different than the team that was dominating everyone a year ago. The hunger isn’t quite there anymore and they have had more injury problems with important players. Some of the players also haven’t reached their top levels this season. Against Helsingborg in the return leg of the derby, Malmö managed to battle the league leaders to a 2-2 draw. They went from being down a goal to leading 2-1 and then finally letting Helsingborg tie up at two a piece in the 55th minute. Helsingborg was going for the win in the last 20 minutes or so until Alexander Gerndt hit a Malmö defender in the back of the head so perfectly that the referee didn’t have a doubt about showing him a shiny red card. That was the end of Gerndt’s Allsvenskan career for now as he moves to FC Utrecht and a career abroad. Malmö on the other hand went on to beat Rangers in the Champions League qualifier away leg and now have a decent chance of getting to the next round where anything can happen!
Mjällby have been facing a relegation struggle since day one of the season, but it seems at the moment like they may yet have some fight in them. In a home game against Gefle, they dismantled the visitors with the final score of 5-1. In regards to this game I can only say that Gefle has been playing far beyond their means the last couple of rounds and that reality was just around the corner. In Gefle’s case, reality is a cold fist of steel bringing them back to Earth.
Remember how Syrianska had a shit season up to this moment? Well they have won a few here and there and now when they hosted Trelleborg they realized they had all the elements for another win up their sleeves. This was also a high scorer in which Syrianska went on to win 4-1. Trelleborg has turned into a real sea-saw club that can play brilliantly for a game or two and then come crashing back down to earth when things don’t go their way. They’ll find a way to stick around for another season though for sure.
AIK is super strong at home and they proved this by beating Kalmar FF at Solna 2-1. The reality is though that at any moment now some club with a significant amount of money in their pocket is going to swoop down and buy one or both of the Banguras. Where will that leave AIK? My guess is on a soul search. AIK will remain in the top three until they finalize these sales and then they will come back down to the middle of the table where they really belong. Kalmar on the other hand needs to get their groove back after first being beaten at home by Helsingborg (the only team undefeated at Guldfågeln Arena as of this writing) and then letting AIK waltz them off the pitch. I trust Rydström and Bergstrand have a plan for getting things back on track. Perhaps they can convince Viktor Elm to make a comeback?
In the battle of Gothenburg, Häcken beat GAIS 2-0. My response is so what? Neither team had the squad this year to make it in the top four and both have been yo-yo teams as far as quality goes. Still both have provided some entertaining games and both have a lot of talent floating around and waiting to be sold off, which also alludes to the fact that neither of them may be as dominant next year.
Örebro finally got their groove back though and it was about time. They did it by beating Norrköping 2-0 at home. Okay so that isn’t all that special but given how bad Örebro have played this year to boot, this should have provoked celebrations in the street. Norrköping have gone from being contender to relegation fighters and they need to get their shit together if they want to play in the Allsvenskan next year. It hasn’t helped them either that they’ve had so many injuries as well. The old cliché that luck has a lot to do with it in football is true for their season this far.
Elfsborg hosted Djurgården and beat them 2-1, proving that they are finally for real and that they are the biggest threat to Helsingborg taking it all. If they can keep Svensson and Ishizaki healthy and if they can keep their squad together, then they have a really good chance of going all the way. Djurgården on the other hand have stabilized after their debacle of a season opening and without any major drama they should have a lost year at worst. I can´t see them falling back into the relegation struggle.
Finally Göteborg hosted Halmstad and Tobias Hysen did a hat trick number on them for a final score of 3-1. After this game I have to be honest about something: Halmstad is going to be playing in Superettan next year without a doubt. Göteborg without Hysen are pretty weak and they can be happy that he is going to be sticking around. My question is how many more chances he is going to get in the national team now. He can produce the goods in Allsvenskan, but whether or not he can be this good internationally still remains to be seen.
As far as Swedish teams in Europe go, its looking like Malmö might have the best shot after all. Beating Rangers away is no laughing matter and if they can show up again next week, then they really do have a decent chance of at least making the Europa league. I don’t think they can beat anyone bigger than Rangers though. Optimism is something that I am known for (you have to be to be a Sweden fan) though so I will keep my hope in a miracle. Otherwise its beginning to look a lot like another season without a Swedish team in both the Champions League and the Europa League.
Great website. I really appreciate being able to follow the Swedish Nats even though my Swedish is pretty crap nowadays. Keep it up!
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