AIK vs Falkenberg by Sweem
After a fresh trip from Greece, AIK are returning home to host Falkenberg FF when their focus is back on Allsvenskan after a Europa League adventure. The narrow loss against Panathinaikos left the Swedes in disappointment but there was still a positive feeling when speaking about the return game at home and overcoming the deficit. Falkenberg obviously have other worries, mainly to save their season in Allsvenskan and avoid relegation.
AIK will try and chase the other teams in the top of Allsvenskan as their focus now need to switch to the domestic competition instead of the Europa adventure - this usually turns out to be troublesome for Swedish teams in general as they cannot keep up consistency in two or more competitions at once. Therefore, the results on one end tends to suffer unless you have a very deep squad. This season's AIK squad does not possess the depth to be able to compete all the way even though there are quality players who have been around for a long time. At home soil, they have only won two matches and played five draws - still being undefeated which is the positive aspect from that context.
The change of coach to Rikard Norling has been beneficial for AIK, since he knows the club inside and out. He has only been in charge for a few weeks and it takes a while for the new philosophy to settle. However AIK remains a solid team as their basic - safe possession football and wants to dictace the game with safe sideway passing and not wasting the "chance" to put the balls trough behind defenders unless there is an obvious chance. It will be interesting to see how they cope with a defensively organized Falkenberg side whos strength is in their ability to counter quickly.
The hosts are missing their key defender Nils-Eric Johansson (14/0) and their starlet 16-year old striker Alexander Isak (12/3) - two important absentees in both ends of the pitch.
Falkenberg have improved since the second phase of the season began again - the victory against Gefle led to a draw against Hammarby. Even though they lost the last time, they are scoring goals and creating chances and being an overall threat. This is especially because of the brilliant play from 18-year old Jesper Karlsson who is one of the few who possess technique and likes to do his man with his speed and goal scoring threat. It feels like a matter of time before the bigger clubs start to open their eyes for a potential signing. Falkenberg can also be satisfied with their loan of central back Felipe Carvalho from Malmo - possibly the strongest defender in the league in terms of physicality and his threat on set pieces - a great piece to the puzzle should be said.
Defender and captain David Svensson (7/0) is the only absentee for the visitors.
Falkenberg may be heavy underdogs and you can nearly ten double your money if they win - however, while they might not be able to take down AIK, they will have their scoring chances and scoring is not off the table at all. AIK have had minimal rest after traveling across Europe and have to face a desperate side like Falkenberg at home, while still carrying the favorite stamp. The odds of 9.00 are not justified in my book and therefore I fancy the price we get on both teams to find the net.