Skrevet av Ben Wells
Her er årets tabelltips fra oss, og vi har fått vår Eliteserie-ekspert, Ben Wells, til å sette opp årets tips. Du kan lese hans tanker om de 5 beste kjøpene Eliteserien i vinter HER, og hvem han mener er de 5 største talentene i Eliteserien HER.
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What to say for poor Bodo/Glimt? The side could not have had a worse 2019 pre-season with key players leaving the side and injuries ruling out many squad players for the majority of the Winter friendly matches.
The side have struggled to find the finances needed to strengthen their side following the high profile departures of Martin Bjornbakk, Jose Angel Jurado and Kristian Opseth and as of writing, not one of these players has been replaced by a new signing.
Erlend Reitan has joined back on loan from RBK and is a good signing in defence, but aside from this, Glimt still look extremely short in almost every area on the pitch.
The impressive attacking duo of Philip Zinckernagel and Amor Layouni may offer some form of hope for Glimt fans, but the absence of a recognised Eliteserien standard striker lets the side down greatly in attack.
It is all set up to be a season of struggle for Glimt and I cannot see them avoiding relegation unless they add some late high quality signings to their squad.
Key Player – Philip Zinckernagel
One to Watch – Fredrik Andre Bjørkan
Mjondalen are back! One of the countries most popular sides return to the Eliteserien after a few years in the OBOS Ligaen.
Unfortunately, I remain unconvinced that their side has what it takes to avoid the drop this season. The side seem short in attack, with Sondre Liseth and Olivier Occean likely to be relied upon for the majority of the sides’ goals this season. The fact that the sides’ CB’s scored more than their strikers last season speaks volumes.
Fredrik Brustad and Akeem Latifu will add valuable Eliteserien experience to the squad, but aside from these two signings, Mjondalen have missed out on a number of targets during this recent transfer window that would have improved their squad further.
It looks set to be a season of struggle for the brown shirted side, but it is worth bearing in mind the strength of their defensive unit who garnered much praise last season and they will need to play a big part this year if Mjondalen want to stay in the Eliteserien.
Key Player – Tonny Brochmann
One to Watch – Dagur Dan Thorhallsson
Viking were unconvincing in the OBOS Ligaen in 2018, despite eventually earning promotion as champions. The quality of both their manager and defensive unit remains in question, with the goalkeeping position especially being a worry for Viking fans ahead of their return to the Eliteserien in 2019.
That being said, I believe they will avoid automatic relegation this season simply because their squad is slightly stronger than those I have predicted to finish below them.
Johnny Furdal and Tommy Hoiland will be extremely key to the sides’ survival chances this season whilst Kristian Thorstvedt in midfield could be one of the hidden young gems in the Eliteserien this year.
Key Player – Tommy Hoiland
One to Watch – Kristian Thorstvedt
What a season Ranheim had last season. Written off by almost every pundit and journalist in the country, Svein Maalen’s side performed a minor miracle by finishing in 7th. Only a poor run of form towards the end of the season saw them drop out of the top four.
It would be fair to suggest that 2019 will be a lot tougher for the side, who have currently made no additions to their squad that I would say strengthen them ahead of this season. Ranheim’s policy of signing local players from lower tier sides may have worked last season, but unfortunately I cannot see it working long term if the side wish to remain in the Eliteserien.
That being said, Ranheim still have a number of impressive players in their ranks and former Levanger midfielder Adria Mateo Lopez could be a dark horse for one of the signings of the season if both he and Ranheim perform above their means once more in 2019.
I expect Ranheim to battle hard against relegation this season and just scrape through come the end of the year.
Key Player – Mads Reginiussen
One to Watch – Adria Mateo Lopez
Preparations for the 2019 season have not been ideal for Stabaek thus far, with a number of key players leaving the side in pre-season rendering Stabaek much weaker this year than they were at this stage last season.
The recent departure of Ohi Omoijuanfo to Molde was a real hammer blow to the side, who were almost relying on his partnership with Franck Boli to boost their chances this year.
I expect Stabaek to struggle this year, but they still have enough talent in the squad and the academy to see them finish in a safe position come the end of the season.
Key Player – Franck Boli
One to Watch – Ola Brynhildsen
Odd are a very tough side to place this season. On the one hand, they have a handful of players in their team able to change games at the drop of the hat. On the other hand, the lack of depth in the squad is a real problem that needs to be addressed, as the side still look short in 2 or 3 positions.
Vebjorn Hoff, Joshua Kitolano and Elbasan Rashani will all be key to how Odd perform this season, but an injury to new signing Andreas Helmersen leaves them without an out & out striker currently for the season (Borven was being re-trained as an attacking midfielder this pre-season)
Should the signing of Sander Svendsen go through, I could see Odd potentially finishing a little higher in the table, but for the time being i believe they will end up in the lower middle half.
Key Player – Vebjorn Hoff
One to Watch – Odin Bjortuft
Having battled their way to safety in 2018, Lillestrom will be hoping for a better year in 2019 but I cannot see them finishing much higher than mid-table based off their pre-season form and signings.
LSK have managed to keep a hold of key players such as Daniel Pederse, Thomas Lehne Olsen and most importantly, Arnar Smarason. The front two of Lehne Olsen and Smarason have the potential to be destructive and supply much needed goals for LSK. Coach Jorgen Lennartsson will be keen to keep both men fit this season.
New signings Daniel Gustavsson and Alex Dyer add much needed quality to the midfield areas, but whether these players are good enough to push LSK into the top half of the table is yet to be seen.
10th seems like a good estimation of where LSK are at currently, they have a solid enough squad but are unlikely to win any medals for entertainment this season it seems.
Key Player – Arnar Smarason
One to Watch – Sheriff Sinyan
Being a fan of Simo Valakari, it would be great to see both him and Tromso perform well this season. However, a lack of depth may hinder their chances massively in the second half of the season.
Tromso’s starting XI looks very strong on paper, with many key players from last season kept at the club and new signings such as Pirinen and Rojas adding to the options Valakari has at his disposal.
However, beyond this, former youth team players such as Marcus Pedersen, August Mikkelsen and Sigurd Gronli may have to be relied on heavily in times of injury or suspension. With Runar Espejord and Jostein Gundersen still out long term, it is hard to see Tromso finishing much higher than 9th, though they should have enough to avoid a potential relegation battle.
Key Player – Runar Espejord
One to Watch – Marcus Pedersen
Perennial overachievers Kristiansund had an exceptional year in 2018, finishing 5th in the table when many had tipped them to go down at the start of the year.
There is little doubt that 2019 will likely be a tougher year for KBK, but they have managed to keep a hold of key players Dan Peter Ulvestad and Flamur Kastrati whilst also managing to re-sign Sean McDermott, who was rock solid in goal all season.
They have added little to their squad this season thus far, with Kristoffer Hoven, Haris Cirak and Meinhard Olsen being the only notable arrivals. Kristiansund are, however, an extremely effective side with a manager who has shown year after year how good he is. I would expect them to finish mid-table, in around 8th.
Key Player – Flamur Kastrati
One to Watch – ‘Mido’ Diop
2018 was a season to forget for Stromsgodset, with the side battling relegation for much of the second half of the season despite having what seemed to be a very strong squad on paper.
I believe the side will perform much better in 2019. Whilst I remain unconvinced by Bjorn Petter Ingebretsen’s capabilities as an Eliteserien manager, the Stromsgodset squad this season should be strong enough to finish inside the top 8.
Key players such as Jakob Glesnes, Marcus Pedersen and ‘Mos’ have stayed with the side coming into this season and the club have also addressed their weak midfield area by signing Yacouba Sylla and Martin Spelmann, both of whom should comfortably be first team regulars.
Stromsgodset also have an incredible selection of young Norwegian players to ease into their side. Players such as Johan Hove, Halldor Stenevik, Hasan Duman and Nicholas Mickelson all have the ability to one day become good Eliteserien footballers at least and will likely see a lot of action this season.
I believe 7th is as high as the side could finish this season, though it would not surprise me if they ultimately finished a lot lower in the table either.
Key Player – Jakob Glesnes
One to Watch – Johan Hove
Haugesund have lost a lot of key players in the build up to 2019, with Bratveit, Haraldseid, Skjerve and Akintola all disappearing from the squad, not to mention manager Eirik Horneland, who has joined Rosenborg.
Due to some financial issues, replacing these key men has not been easy, but Haugesund have still managed to put together what seems to be a strong squad going into this season.
A lot will depend on whether Martin Samuelsen can offer the creative outlet in midfield that Haugesund have been craving of late. The defence is arguably just as solid as it was last season and in striker Ibrahima Wadji, they have a player capable of scoring 15 league goals should he maintain his form from last season.
It will likely be a tougher year for Haugesund, but with so many Eliteserien sides coming into this season weaker than the last, I still believe the side will comfortably finish in the top 6.
Key Player – Martin Samuelsen
One to Watch – Niklas Sandberg
After their successful 2018 season that saw the side mount their first genuine title challenge in a long time, Brann will be looking to build on that success going into the 2019 season.
However, I remain a little underwhelmed by both their recruitment and form in pre-season thus far. Many issues needed to be addressed at the end of the 2018 season, the goalkeeping problem and the lack of goals up front especially and I personally do not think either issue has been solved going into 2019.
New signing Holmen Johansen has looked shaky in goal, which would not come as a shock to any regular watcher of Sandefjord last season, and up front the form and fitness of Dao Bamba has come into question of late. With only Henrik Kjelsrud Johansen and Azar Karadas able to fill in up front in Bamba’s absence, I do wonder where the goals will come from this year.
Whilst Brann still look strong and boast a wonderfully talented midfield and defence, I worry about their performances long term this season with too many gaping holes in the side currently. They should still finish high in the table, but a medal position currently looks a long way off.
Key Player – Vito Wormgoor
One to Watch – Petter Strand
So far, Ronny Deila’s tenure as Valerenga boss has not been quite what fans of the side expected it to be, when he joined the side having left Celtic the year previously. However, some good looking new signings and decent pre-season form in 2019 suggests they could finally be close to challenging for a top 3 spot.
The likes of Herolind Shala and Matthias Vilhjalmsson add much needed strength and experience to the sides’ forward line. The form of Bard Finne and Chidera Ejuke in pre-season has been a sight to behold also, with both players seemingly raising their level from the 2018 season.
I believe Valerenga will just miss out on the top 3, but they certainly look good to improve massively on last year’s underwhelming season.
Key Player – Mohammed Abu
One to Watch – Chidera Ejuke
It would be very easy to look at Sarpsborg’s league finish last season and write them off for a potential medal position this season, but they are so well stocked in every position that I can see them mounting a serious title push.
In 2018, their European form was simply fantastic with the side making the group stages against all odds and then very nearly qualifying, beating top Belgian side KRC Genk in the process. The money earned in this endeavour has wisely been invested into the squad, with multiple new signings meaning Sarpsborg go into the 2019 season as strong as they have ever been.
A lot rides on whether Kristoffer Zachariassen can recreate his 2018 form and whether the forward options of Skalevik, Strand Larsen, Salvesen and Coulibaly can deliver the goals needed to match Rosenborg & Molde’s fire power.
I would be very comfortable tipping Sarpsborg for a medal position this season and whilst they remain a little way off the strength of Molde & Rosenborg who will likely occupy the top 2, Sarpsborg’s strength in depth means any injury crisis could easily be avoided due to the cover they have in every position.
Key Player – Kristoffer Zachariassen
One to Watch – Boubacar Konte
Having dominated Norwegian football for the past few years, it is always tough to predict them to finish anywhere other than first in the league.
However, their pre-season form has been largely below par with many players seemingly unsure of their roles in new manager Eirik Horneland’s system. The signings have been strong, with the likes of David Akintola and Gjermund Asen likely to be first team players from the word go. However, there are still areas of the side that could do with bolstering.
A lot rides on how well Nicklas Bendtner and Alexander Soderlund perform this season. Both looked well past their best in 2018 and given Bendtner’s lack of pre-season in 2019, it could be tough finding a goalscorer to match Molde’s firepower up front.
Rosenborg still clearly have one of, if not the strongest squad in the league and i would be surprised to see them finish anywhere outside the top two, but a lot depends on how quickly Horneland can stamp his authority on this team.
Key Player – Samuel Adegbenro
One to Watch – David Akintola
Forever underachievers, Molde have disappointed time and time again when being tipped as potential league winners. I do however believe 2019 will be a different story. With Rosenborg looking weaker than ever in pre-season and with a manager whom may not yet have stamped his ethos on the side, the door is open for Molde to mount a serious title challenge.
I believe this is the strongest Molde side in years. With new signings Eirik Ulland Andersen, Ohi Omoijuanfo, Martin Bjornbakk and Kristoffer Haraldseid bolstering an already top class Molde squad, I can see them pipping Rosenborg to the title come the end of the season. It is very tough to find a weak link in the squad, with every area of the team boasting some of the strongest players in the country.
It is always tough to suggest Molde winning the league as by now we are used to the inconsistencies in their play, but if the new signings play up to their undoubted ability, it is hard to look past them as league champions.
Key Player – Magnus Wolff Eikrem
One to Watch – Martin Ellingsena