Another week, another Eliteserien Optician article! As COVID and airline strikes wreak havoc and put us all back to square one as far as planning is concerned, there’s no better place to start than with a summary of the week’s action as we all look to profit from the panic and disarray. Although we will know more regarding Runde 12 and Runde 13’s postponements at this article’s time of posting, in the meantime my greatest source of wisdom comes in the form of the Eliteserien Optician. Before we get started, don’t forget to drop a follow at @Eytexi and @CaribouKraftPOD on Twitter for updates and insight as the week progresses! Now, let’s get this started with what we assumed to be a peaceful start to the weekend as Badou tore apart Jerv.
FK Jerv 1-0 FK Haugesund
Well, this didn’t go to plan! Just as we were beginning to believe that Alioune Badou Ndour (8.8m) couldn’t be stopped, Jerv decided to set the pace for Runde 12 by putting our hopes aside and keeping a third clean sheet of the season, all of which have come in 1-0 wins. To get the painful part out of the way, Badou took just one shot and failed to play a single KP (Key Pass), leaving with only a yellow card to his name. Furthermore, recently emerging value pick Mads Sande (5.6m) accumulated just 0.02 xG from two ambitious efforts, his lacklustre contribution leading to an early 75th-minute substitution. In Alexander Søderlund’s (7.4m) continued absence, however, he did remain in a relatively central role.
It was supersub Felix Schröter (4.7m) who proved to be the difference-maker, scoring his second of the season having spent the majority of the game sat on the bench alongside loanee Aral Şimşir (6.4m). Mathias Haarup (4.6m) continued to show his potential value should you manage to pick your moment to strike, taking 2 shots from range and grabbing an assist. Haarup enjoyed a tremendous amount of space left by the lack of width in the Haugesund defence, something that’s certainly worth taking into consideration when they take on the likes of the Molde wing-backs (Runde 19). A lack of defensive presence out wide could in part be due to the advanced positioning of Nikolas Walstad (5.5m), who popped up in the Jerv box throughout and almost scored in spectacular fashion on the three-minute mark. He was, however, the man exposed at the death, missing the all-important clearance, and allowing Schröter to steal all three points for the home side. John Norheim (4.5m) started out-of-position in central midfield following a strong statistical performance and 3/3SITB (Shots in the Box) in the 2-1 loss to HamKam, and arguably should’ve put Jerv ahead after 72 minutes. Having emerged from the bench, Şimşir made an inch-perfect run before sending Walstad to the floor with a sharp turn, but Norheim lifted his shot onto the roof of the net having received it seven yards from goal.
Haugesund face an in-form HamKam side in the final fixture of Runde 13, then facing Molde and Sarpsborg 08 before a Runde 15 blank. If you own the likes of Badou already, now certainly isn’t the time to jump ship, but it may be too little too late to profit from his spectacular run. Having now found their feet after the 5-0 loss at the hands of Sarpsborg, Jerv will look to carry some optimism into an away fixture versus Rosenborg in Runde 13. Can they keep out talisman Vecchia and an in-form Holse? I have my doubts.
Odds BK 3-2 Bodø/Glimt
As predicted in last week’s article, Glimt failed to take the three points to make it just two wins in five for the boys in yellow. However, this wasn’t without yet another goal for Amahl Pellegrino (11.8m) who scored from his 5/5SITB, 1.08 xG (Expected Goals), and 1.37 PsxG (Post-Shot Expected Goals) – he certainly could’ve had more if it wasn’t for him missing two big chances. Runar Espejord (10.8m) and Ola Solbakken (10.9m) returned to the starting XI alongside the man-in-form, Espejord leaving with an assist and Solbakken accumulating 5KP despite his blank. Victor Boniface (10.0m), however, continued to shoot undeterred by his benching, entering the field for a 27-minute cameo in which he took more shots in the box (3) than Espejord did in his 71 minutes. It was fellow substitute Isak Helstad Amundsen (4.3m) who proved the crucial substitution as he came off the bench in the 90th minute to net a 97th minute equaliser… or so it seemed.
The 10 men of Odd fought on, Odin Bjørtuft (4.6m) having been shown a straight red card for taking out last-man Pellegrino with a boot to the jaw. A 99th-minute penalty proved to be the deciding factor, however, this wasn’t without controversy. Although the penalty claim was disputed, Japhet Sery Larsen (5.4m) wouldn’t have needed to dangle a leg infront of Abel Stensrud (5.4m) if he hadn’t clumsily allowed the striker through on goal seconds earlier. The subsequent penalty was netted by 38-year-old Espen Ruud (6.3m), his finishing, fortunately, being more up to standards than in the third minute when he ballooned a shot over from 6 yards. Milan Jevtovic (6.4m) continued to prove his value, scoring from 3/3SITB whilst also accumulating 0.54 xA (Expected Assists) from 2KP. That said, he was certainly fortunate to have the first of his 18th-minute shots parried and returned straight to sender having been spilt by Nikita Khaykin (5.9m). Conrad Wallem (6.2m) and Filip Jørgensen (5.1m) combined for Odd’s second goal, further demonstrating their appeal discussed after last week’s win over Vålerenga, with Jørgensen also taking maximum bonus points. A special mention is needed for Wallem’s touch: sensational.
Tobias Lauritsen (8.1m) was subbed with a knock just before the hour mark, having not taken a single shot, but will hope to be fit for Odd’s trip to Strømsgodset, a game in which they’ll look to pile on the misery following SIF’s loss to Aalesund. Glimt next face a tough test against Sarpsborg, a fixture in which I again doubt they’ll ease to three points despite being back-to-back Eliteserien champions.
Aalesunds FK 1-0 Strømsgodset
Sigurd Haugen’s (8.0m) fine goalscoring record continues to grow as he netted the vital goal to end AAFK’s run of three games without victory. Many jumped off of the value forward going into this Runde, 454 net transfers out being his largest deficit of the season so far, however, he continued to show his threat and took 2/4SITB in a man of the match performance. Nenass’ (4.5m) long-ball provided the assist, however, he underwhelmed relative to the likes of Simen Nordli (7.4m) and Dybvik Määttä (6.6m); Nordli tallied team-high statistics of 3KP and 0.4 PsxG, whereas Määttä tallied a team-high 0.28 xA. Despite this, it was Besim Serbecic (4.5m) and Kristoffer Barmen (6.5m) who collected the rest of the bonus points, Serbecic especially impressing with a dominant aerial display in the heart of the Aalesund defence to take his side to a first home clean sheet since the opening Runde fixture versus Kristiansund. On the right-hand side of the AAFK defence, Simen Rafn (4.5m) had some joy overlapping Torbjørn Kallevåg (5.5m) and should’ve hit the target from eight yards as Myhra was left stranded at the far post following a ball across goal.
Strømsgodset will feel hard done by despite this let off, Gustav Valsvik (4.9m) having his 78th minute effort inexplicably chalked-off for offside; an incomprehensible decision from the linesman. Otherwise, it was yet again Johan Hove (9.0m) and Lars-Jørgen Salvesen (9.1m) who provided the greatest goal threat for the visitors, accumulating 2/5SITB and 2/2SITB, respectively. Tobias Gulliksen (7.7m) absolutely deserves a mention for his third-minute pass alone, the 19-year-old looking like the second coming of Kevin De Bruyne with an exquisite outside-of-the-boot pass that even the Belgian himself would be proud of. Should Hove get a move abroad in the near future, potentially allowing Gulliksen more consistent game time in a more talismanic role, he’ll be one of the first names on my watchlist for the 2023 season. For now, however, it’s perhaps too early given his positional width and price tag.
Aalesund travel to Sandefjord for their next test and will look to maintain their record of going 12 games without conceding more than twice in a game so far. If you still own Sigurd Haugen, he’s certainly one worth keeping around for this fixture having seen Sarpsborg put four past Sandefjord this week. Strømsgodset host an in-form Odd side and must step-up their game if they wish to take a single point.
HamKam 0-0 Molde FK
The HamKam wing-backs again flexed their value, this time returning an unlikely clean sheet from a fixture against my current title favourites. Nicolas Hagen’s (4.5m) three saves were sufficient to earn him maximum bonus points, the most crucial of which came on 61 minutes as Magnus Grødem (8.1m) was played through by a stylish David Fofana (10.7m) touch but couldn’t execute the chance worth 0.37 xG. It was, however, Vegard Kongsro (5.0m) and Aleksander Melgalvis (5.1m) who stood out yet again for the Caribou and Kräfta backed HamKam side, each taking a shot in the box whilst tallying 4KP and 2KP, respectively. Kristian Eriksen (7.0m) put in a shift all over the field to earn himself the last of the bonus points but was unable to make a single key or put a shot on target from two attempts inside the penalty area. Pål Alexander Kirkevold (6.4m) provided the home side’s greatest threat and was unfortunate not to take advantage of a moment of uncertainty for goalkeeper Jacob Karlstrøm (6.0m) as he indecisively came for a long-ball early on. Had the HamKam frontman taken some finishing lessons from Pellegrino, after his expertly chipped finish versus Aalesund last week, it could’ve been a third loss of the season for Molde.
For the opposition, Benjamin Tiedemann Hansen (5.5m) and Martin Bjørnbak (5.5m) put in shifts to deny the home side a win, Tiedemann Hansen contributing 2/2SITB and 2KP in addition to his defensive exploits. It was a relatively quiet afternoon for Martin Linnes (7.2m) who failed to complete any of four attempted crosses, whilst Kristoffer Haugen (7.4m) made 3KP worth 0.32 xA on the opposite flank. Grødem and Fofana were the men to watch, with 2/3SITB and 3/4SITB respectively, Fofana’s confident footwork being a joy to behold on the Molde breakaway. Owners of the duo will hope to see more successful final product come their second DGW fixture on Wednesday, Grødem in particular having seen him miss the only big chance of the game.
Next for the mighty HamKam comes FK Haugesund, a game in which I doubt they’ll add to their two losses this season – it’s certainly a fixture in which they could add to their league-high seven draws so far. All eyes are on Molde’s DGW fixture versus Jerv, their Runde 13 fixture vs. TIL in doubt to the dismay of those who took hits to bring in their assets for the DGW. Hopefully, we know more come the time of article publishing.
Kristiansund BK 1-3 Lillestrøm
The misery at KBK continues, my team sitting with just one point from ten games so far this season. The mention of “one point” may seem all too familiar to owners of Kristiansund players this Runde: Aliou Coly (4.3m) was subbed after 28 minutes and Serigne Mbaye (4.4m) conceded three times and made just one save for his hopeful owners. With their second DGW fixture in doubt at the time of writing, this may be it for their exploits. Elsewhere at Kristiansund, Bendik Bye (6.8m) netted from the penalty spot, continuing to play out-of-position, but failed to do little else. Christopher Aasbak (5.9m) and Strand Snorre Nilsen (5.6m) showed glimpses of what they can bring to the side, taking three shots and making three key passes between them, however neither managed to convert this involvement to fantasy returns on this occasion.
Until the 71st minute, KBK led the league leaders and my outlandish 1-1 prediction seemed to be not so outlandish after all, however, Akor Adams (8.3m) decided to do something about this and proceeded to bag a brace and an assist in the 16 minutes which followed. 4/4SITB, 2KP and 1.2PsxG for the poacher proved he’s far from finished as a fantasy asset, the upcoming fixture swing certainly on the mind of those without the LSK star-man as he looks to help his side cling to top spot in the Eliteserien. Adams was even unlucky not to leave with his hattrick complete, seeing a stunning strike from the corner of the box cannoning back off of Mbaye’s post! Without key creator Gjermund Åsen (9.0m) in the side, it was down to Tom Pettersson (4.9m) and Kaan Kairinen (5.9m) to provide the assists for Adams’ goals, Pettersson in particular standing out with a deserved 2BPS after 3/4SITB and being denied by a Diop goal-line clearance. Meanwhile, Vetle Winger Dragsnes (5.5m) returned to wing-back but failed to complete any of his 5 attempted crosses and left with just 0.05xA from a single key pass.
If Kristiansund’s midweek fixture versus Tromsø is in fact cancelled, then it’ll be a trip to Vålerenga next up for the Eliteserien outfit. Following recent performances, I again see no reason to invest in anyone besides Mbaye and always-shooting Amidou Diop (4.5m). For Lillestrøm, next comes the visit of an out-of-sorts Viking FK. A win here will be huge if they are to make a serious bid for the title this season.
Sarpsborg 08 4-3 Sandefjord
A somewhat inevitable goal-fest was the highlight of Sunday’s fixtures, those who selected Anton Salétros (6.5m) and/or Mikkel Maigaard (8.0m) as their S08 attacking coverage profiting yet again from the chaos. Salétros added two assists to his tally for the season from 4KP, then won a penalty which he himself converted. The assists alone were worthy of maximum bonus points, the second served on a silver platter for Maigaard to head home from close range with an incredibly powerful header; I’m surprised he’s not flagged at 75% with suspected whiplash! Owners of Joachim Soltvedt (5.1m) can once again feel the unluckiest to miss out on attacking returns, the left-back taking 2/4SITB. Jonathan Lindseth (8.6m) and Tobias Heintz (8.1m), by comparison, took just 2/2SITB and 0/1SITB, respectively. The attacking returns may well have come in an even more spectacular fashion if it wasn’t for the 39th-minute dismissal of backup goalkeeper Simen Nilsen (4.6m) as he handled the ball under pressure from Alexander Ruud Tveter (6.5m). This led to the 40th-minute substitution of Guillermo Molins (8.2m), replaced by 18-year-old Leander Øy (3.9m) with number one shot-stopper Anders Kristiansen (4.9m) out with an injury. Both Heintz and Maigaard joined Molins on the sidelines to spectate the second half at Sarpsborg looked to tighten the defence.
The efforts of former player Mohamed Ofkir (6.8m) weren’t quite enough to deny Sarpsborg all three points, however he did score from an effort which replacement goalkeeper Øy really should have denied. Ofkir also completed 2/5SITB and 3KP in yet another stellar showing. Ruud Tveter scored again following a horrendous error from Jørgen Horn (4.5m) who passed the ball straight into the path of Deyver Vega (6.4m). The ball bounced right to the feet of Ruud Tveter who didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and converted convincingly with a single touch. Vega was himself perhaps the greatest surprise from Sandefjord, closing out the first half with an incredible strike to add to the aforementioned assist. This will likely mean that Franklin “Daddys Boy” Nyenetue (5.5m) remains on the bench for the upcoming run of preferable fixtures. Substitute Sivert Gussiås (5.3m) had a great chance to level things up in the 88th minute, but his unmarked header fell right into Øy’s grateful arms.
Sarpsborg will look to carry their fine goalscoring form into the weekend’s fixture versus reigning champions Glimt, however, it will likely be the reliability of their defence that proves decisive to the result. This could go either way. Sandefjord, meanwhile, host Aalesund and will look to take full advantage of Ofkir’s goalscoring form to leave with a win.
Viking FK 1-1 Rosenborg BK
What could’ve been a second goal-fest of the Runde was perhaps blunted by the absence of Veton Berisha (12.0m) who failed to train throughout the week, however Viking were not to be buried easily by the returning Stefano Vecchia (10.6m) and Ole Sæter (5.9m) of RBK. Daniel Karlsbakk (5.0m) unfortunately couldn’t replicate his Runde 11 exploits, blanking to the dismay of his new owners following double-digits at Haugesund. Instead, it was Harald Nilsen Tangen (6.2m) who stepped up for the home side, his deflected strike levelling the score line: an own-goal for now suspended Adrian Pereira (6.9m) was the last thing I needed coming off of my bench for Berisha this Runde! Pereira did come close to compensating for this nightmare, smashing a shot off the post from a tight angle to close out the first half. If you were asked which Viking player accumulated the greatest xG from this fixture, you probably wouldn’t hurry to singling out Viljar Vevatne (4.7m), who tallied 0.37 xG from 2/3SITB. A more popular fantasy asset, Sebastian Sebulonsen (6.3m), underwhelmed, his one shot came from outside the box and he completed an uncharacteristically disappointing 1KP.
Carlo Holse (9.2m), off the back of his greatest performance in recent memory, again came in clutch for Rosenborg, his assist and 5KP enough to take three deserved bonus points. Considering recent fitness issues, Vecchia had to use his limited minutes effectively and bare his teeth as he accumulated 0.51 PsxG without taking a single shot in the box. The manner of his early substitution should not be a concern for owners, the RBK talisman jogging off the pitch and showing that his time out with illness has done no further detriment to his fitness – expect him to be fit and firing versus Jerv next Runde.
Statistical monster, Zlatko Tripic (9.5m), made his return to action and exploded back onto the scene with a dangerous and entirely unnecessary two-footed tackle, for which he was dismissed without question. The Rosenborg man who took the most issue with the situation was evidently Markus Henriksen (6.0m), who responded by shoving Tripic to the ground as the referee raised the red card; an action for which he himself was sent off a matter of seconds later. An amusing reaction from the RBK number 7: initial dramatic outrage lasted all of 2 seconds before he turned and removed himself from the situation without another word. Perhaps avoid beginning your physical involvement with a run-up from 20-yards away next time, Markus.
Next for Viking is a visit to high-flying LSK, a fixture that will prove crucial to the championship picture come the end of the season. I back Viking to take the points here and will likely captain Berisha should he be fit. Rosenborg face a much lesser test in the form of Jerv: it could be a fun day out for the RBK attack.
Conclusion and MORE ELITESERIEN CONTENT
That’s that; The Eliteserien Optician for Runde 12! As always, find me and my podcast co-host over on Twitter at @Eytexi and @ReindeerHotdog, and drop a follow to the podcast account at @CaribouKraftPOD.
Not only do we provide fantasy roundups and previews, but we have interviews with the likes of HamKam assistant manager Tom Dent, Sarpsborg 08 goalkeeper Anders Kristiansen, and HamKam centre-back Julian Dunn. Thank you all for reading, and good luck for Runde 13.