Vi rangerer starten til alle lagene i Eliteserien

Ben Wells, Football Radar

It’s been an incredibly intense start to the 2020 Eliteserien season. Some clubs have prospered whilst others have faltered though there is clearly an element of randomness to performances at this stage given the close proximity of matches and constant fitness troubles some clubs are experiencing within their squads.

Whilst it is hard to effectively ‘rank’ each sides’ performance so far this year, due to this completely new challenge clubs are facing, I have attempted to sum up the season so far for each club and look into why they are impressing or failing at this early stage of the year.


 

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Aalesund (16th)

19 goals conceded in 6 games & bottom of the table is not a good look for Aalesund, who were hotly tipped by many to be dark horses in this Eliteserien season. A leaky defence & out-of-position wing backs have defined their season so far and coach Lars Bohinen will be keen to rectify these errors early on before they lead his club into a relegation battle.

0 wins – 3 draws – 3 losses

Performances have shown a slight level of improvement of late and the sooner Bohinen can get Niklas Castro playing the way he did in the 2019 OBOS Ligaen season, the better.

Stand Out Player: Parfait Bizoza
Biggest Disappointment: Daniel Gretarsson

Rank: F


 

Bodø/Glimt (1st)

In stark contrast to Aalesund, Bodo/Glimt have taken the 2020 season by storm scoring 24 goals in 6 games (an average of 4 per match) and conceding just 6. They have already beaten tough opposition too, with Brann and Rosenborg unable to match their freakish levels of fitness and skill.

6 wins – 0 draws – 0 losses

Glimt are currently the best drilled team in Norway and one of the most exciting clubs to currently follow in world football. If they carry on at this pace, then there’s no reason why they can’t take gold this season.

Stand Out Player: Patrick Berg
Biggest Disappointment: Cercle Brugge, when they realised J.P Hauge had turned them down

Rank: A+


 

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Brann (4th)

Lars Arne Nilsen’s side are always one to be hotly tipped pre-season, despite the fact that their 2019 season was underwhelming at best. Some may argue that the season start has been a mixed bag so far, but I would argue that there is more for the club to cheer than despair over right now.

3 wins – 1 draw – 2 losses

Aside from the heavy loss to Glimt (5-0), Brann have largely impressed this season and the form of Gilbert Koomson & Dao Bamba up front has been great to watch considering both players underperformed in 2019. A solid start to the season for Brann, who should now be aiming for a medal position.

Stand Out Player: Gilbert Koomson
Biggest Disappointment: Fredrik Haugen

Rank: B


 

 

Haugesund (10th)

Buoyed by their cup final appearance in 2019, many tipped Haugesund to finish well this season with a medal position come the end of the 2020 season not too laughable a suggestion. However, Haugesund have so far only managed to win vs. Start & Sandefjord so far this season whilst heavy losses to Glimt & Brann have confined them to mid-table mediocrity so far.

2 wins – 2 draws – 2 losses

It has certainly not been a disastrous start to the season, but it has so far been underwhelming. I would be hoping that once the schedule eases off a bit, Jostein Grindhaug’s side can really start to find their rhythm.

Stand Out Player: Joakim Vage Nilsen
Biggest Disappointment: Benjamin Kallman

Rank: C


 

Kristiansund (3rd)

The definition of underrated. So underrated that I, who usually tip them to finish high in the table, even believed they may struggle in 2020. However, as always with Kristiansund, Christian Michelsen’s side have greatly impressed at the start of the season.

2 wins – 4 draws – 0 losses

10 points from 6 games, having faced Molde and Rosenborg already, is a good start to what looks to be another impressive season. The 7-2 win vs. AaFK was a clear highlight though Amahl Pellegrino’s wonderful form has been something to behold so far also.

Stand Out Player: Amahl Pellegrino
Biggest Disappointment: Not announcing the signing of Moussa Njie on Deadline Day

Rank: A


 

Mjondalen (8th)

I’ve been covering Norwegian football for 5 years now and having covered Mjondalen at some point during all 5 of those years I am confident in saying that this is now clearly the strongest squad coach Vegard Hansen has had at his disposal.

2 wins – 2 draws – 2 losses

New signings Markus Nakkim & Lars Olsen Larsen have greatly impressed whilst up front Shuaibu Ibrahim has finally taken to Eliteserien level and is scoring goals regularly now. Unlucky not to take a point vs. Molde recently, Mjondalen look like a side capable of comfortably avoiding relegation this season.

Stand Out Player: Sousha Makani
Biggest Disappointment: Christian Gauseth’s penalty vs. Molde

Rank: B


 

Molde (2nd)

Considering they have only dropped points once this season (vs. KBK) a B grade may seem harsh here, but Molde will surely be hurting right now watching Bodo/Glimt claim all the plaudits this season so far.

5 wins – 1 draw – 0 losses

Molde looked imperious in their early matches though have seemed to drop down a level or two in recent games, partially caused by the intense playing schedule and the need to constantly rotate key players. Molde will remain title challengers throughout the season but given the injury issues to key players and a slight drop in recent form, there is still room to improve for the reigning champions.

Stand Out Player: Magnus Wolff Eikrem
Biggest Disappointment: Leke James

 Rank: B


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Odd (11th)

Take away Torgeir Borven’s goals this season (6) and Odd would currently be the lowest scorers in the league by some margin. It’s an easy and possibly lazy thing to say, but it is a fact that prior to his move to Rosenborg, the club were incredibly reliant on Borven’s goals and it remains to be seen how they will cope in the aftermath of his absence.

2 wins – 1 draw – 3 losses

It’s not been a disastrous start to the season by any means but 7 points in new manager Jan Frode Nornes’ first 6 games is not a healthy total and their dealings in the transfer market of late leave a lot to be desired (See: Bakenga & Kachi)

Stand Out Player: Vebjørn Hoff
Biggest Disappointment: Kachi

 Rank: D


 

Les også: Tabelltips for Eliteserien 2020

 

Rosenborg (7th)

But they always start slowly! The 2020 season start is almost mirroring the beginning of last season for Rosenborg who have tried to amend their current sticky situation by sacking the lacklustre Eirik Horneland and replacing him with…. Well, no one yet.

2 wins – 2 draws – 2 losses

Trond Henriksen has done an OK job since taking the interim reigns but Rosenborg currently look like a club who have lost their identity. Their formerly free flowing attacking football has been replaced by slow and lifeless attacks that never seem to end until Dino Islamovic has pumped one over the bar.

No one really expected RBK to come out swinging this season, but just 8 points from 6 games is an extremely poor total for a club that has the players available to comfortably mount a title challenge if properly trained and motivated.

Stand Out Player: Erm… Torgeir Borven? Does that count?
Biggest Disappointment: Pretty much everyone so far?

Rank: E


 

Sandefjord (13th)

It was always going to be tough for Sandefjord, who were roundly tipped to finish bottom by pretty much every single news outlet in Norway. By picking up 4 points in their first 6 games and sitting currently outside of the bottom 3, it is fair to say that they have thus far overachieved.

1 win – 1 draw – 4 losses

Sandefjord remain one of the most interesting sides to follow in the league. A young & vibrant squad with a manager who plays some lovely football whilst also offering opportunities to young local players is never something to be sneered at. They have certainly underperformed in recent weeks but this may potentially be due to fatigue, there was enough shown in the first 3 fixtures to suggest Sandefjord have a chance of survival this year.

Stand Out Player: William Kurtovic
Biggest Disappointment: (The fitness of…) Ze Eduardo

 Rank: D


 

Sarpsborg (14th)

After a poor 2019 season many fans and pundits were hoping that Sarpsborg could come back strong in 2020.

1 win – 0 draws – 5 losses

So far, that has not been the case. New manager Mikael Stahre is not known for the most exciting brand of football and Sarpsborg are yet to fully click as an attacking unit this season. Players such as Jørgen Strand Larsen and Sulayman Bojang were hotly tipped as players to watch at the start of the year but are also yet to deliver.

Lots to improve for Sarpsborg if they want to achieve anything other than a relegation battle this year

Biggest Disappointment: Jørgen Strand Larsen

Rank: E


 

Stabæk (9th)

I have to say, I expected more from Stabaek this season. In recent years they have struggled near the bottom of the table but manager Jan Jonsson seemed to revitalise the side in 2019 and I was hoping for more of the same vigor in 2020. However, they have struggled at times to maintain peak physical levels and due to this, producing impressive performances twice a week has been rare.

2 wins – 2 draws – 2 losses

There remains room to be optimistic for the season ahead, though. Hanche-Olsen looks immense in defence and partnered with a fully fit Yaw Amankwah, Mats Solheim & Peder Vogt will form a solid back 4. Kornelius Normann Hansen has shown signs of what he is capable of whilst Oliver Edvartsen and Hugo Vetlesen continue to impress. A tough start, but some more goals & they should pick up in the weeks ahead.

Stand Out Player: Andreas Hanche-Olsen
Biggest Disappointment: Romain Gall/Kosuke Kinoshita

Rank: D


 

Start (15th)

I’m hesitant to give Start an F grade here due to the injury issues they are currently dealing with. Key players such as Martin Ramsland & Eirik Schulze have not been fully fit for the first 6 games of the season and you can tell that the team in general are a work in progress at the minute.

0 wins – 3 draws – 3 losses

I don’t think Joey Hardarson has got much right this season, though. Whether it be tactical decisions or which players he uses in each game, a lot has gone against Start this year and this is a major reason as to why they are currently in the bottom 2 with just 3 points to their name.

Stand Out Player: Eirik Schulze
Biggest Disappointment: Playing Amund Wichne over Jonas Deumeland in goal

Rank: E


 

 

Strømsgodset (5th)

Even I wasn’t totally aware that Godset are currently sat in 5th place in the league with 9 points from their first 6 games, but they have unassumingly made their way towards the top of the table without particularly impressing so far.

2 wins – 3 draws – 1 loss

One thing that is clear, however, is that Henrik Pedersen’s formerly faulty pressing game has been worked on and improved ahead of the 2020 season. Godset now look more at home with the tactics their manager is asking them to perform to. Who would have thought giving a manager time to implement a whole new way of playing would yield positive results?

Much work to be done still, but the sides’ table position is impressive and if they can finally get their back 4 fit and healthy the club could impress further throughout the season.

Stand Out Player: Johan Hove
Biggest Disappointment: The fitness/availability of the sides’ preferred back 4

 Rank: C


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Vålerenga (6th)

A tough side to rank so far as I believe we are only beginning to see the ‘Fagermo Effekten’ coming into play with Valerenga. The side have been very much hit & miss so far this season with some excellent results vs. Viking & RBK but some less than impressive performances such as the one vs. Odd.

2 wins – 3 draws – 1 loss

I still believe that the side could challenge for a medal position this season. Players such as Shala & Donnum are already impressive but clearly yet to hit full speed whilst the competition and depth in defence has been useful for Fagermo to have at his disposal.

Stand Out Player: Herolind Shala
Biggest Disappointment: Fagermo losing 1-4 vs. his old team, Odd

Rank – C


 

Viking (12th)

Can you blame me for thinking Viking would do well this season? The losses of Zlatko Tripic & Kristian Thorstvedt were always going to hit the side hard but in Veton Berisha, Yann Erik de Lanlay & Joe Bell I believed the side had effectively replaced two of their most important players.

1 win – 2 draws – 3 losses

The 2020 season so far has been a season of struggle for the Stavanger side who are yet to hit any form of rhythm and Bjarne Berntsen’s brilliant man managerial attributes are unable to paper over the gaping tactical holes in his teams’ play at present.

Lots to work on for Viking, who will be hoping that the likes of de Lanlay, Runar Hove & Sondre Bjorshol can achieve some form of regular fitness this season to provide some consistency in their play. The lack of pace & trickery in attack, though, is a real worry that will not go away soon.

Stand Out Player: Joe Bell
Biggest Disappointment: de Lanlay’s fitness or Nilsen Pereira’s performances

Rank: E


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