Djurgarden vs Elfsborg by Sweem
It has been mentioned that Allsvenskan have become a league of increased interest, and this is due to signing bigger and more profilic names - Djurgarden have been on the front line in this category, although the season has not started as they have hoped for.
Djurgarden used to play their matches historically on natural grass, but moved into Tele2 Arena which is artificial, and as such - are now hosting Elfsborg on their favorite turf. If we remain with the hosts for a while, Djurgarden have made changes in all areas. Coach Ozcan Melkemichel was hired, after his success by earning a promotion with AFC Eskilstuna to Allsvenskan. After this point, Djurgarden made several heavy signings such as midfielder Kim Kallstrom, who have a successful career behind him from the days in Lyon, Spartak Moscow and recently Arsenal and Grasshopper as well. He is now the captain of this team, and he was joined by goal keeper Andreas Isaksson, recent the number one goal keeper for the Swedish national team.
Also central back Jonas Olsson joined from West Bromwich - a move that opened many eyes, since he was playing in the Premier League and traded it for Allsvenskan. These were three heavy signings, and it was spiced up with other new comers such as a loan from Bristol City of striker Gustav Engvall and signing talented wing back Felix Beijmo. All in all, Djurgarden signed a lot of profilic players who are expected to go straight into the line-up.
While Djurgarden have signed quality names beyond their prime, and clearly focused on experience - their debut ended in a 0-2 loss at home against newly promoted Sirius. This was later followed up with a 0-0 draw away versus BK Hacken. That means that Djurgarden are still waiting to score their first goal of the season. One of the main reasons for the unimpressive start is that the players were signed last minute and have had no time to play together as a unit. They are currently looking like a project that are expected to win the league in the coming two seasons.
The hosts will miss striker Gustav Engvall (2/0) and possibly also attacking midfielder Haris Radetinac (0/0) who is a key piece when he is fit. Forward Tino Kadewere (2/0) is also a doubt due to muscle injury.
Elfsborg will have the delight to play at their favorite stadium in recent years - where they are still undefeated. Elfsborg have a massive historical advantage from a trend perspective when playing away against Djurgarden, as they have not lost since 2007 in this exact fixture away. That is 9 matches, and Elfsborg have won 5 of them. The season started well for Elfsborg as they defeated Kalmar away with a huge score of 1-5, only to lose at home with 2-1 against AIK in a tight match. Elfsborg might however be the team in the league, together with Ostersunds, who handles artificial turf the best.
They did sign the captain of Ostersunds, midfielder Alex Dyer as a key addition to the team. Issam Jebali is a dangerous striker with two goals already, who now plays behind the attacker Per Frick who already has two goals to his name as well. The impressive factor with Elfsborg is that they are not reliant on one man, but spread out their goal scoring, as attacking midfielder Daniel Gustavsson also have scored twice - as such, will be able to threat Djurgarden in many various ways on the quick turf.
The visitors have no injury worries to consider, coming into Stockholm city with a pleasant squad situation.
Djurgarden is a team under construction and many players have not played together for a long time to become a unit yet. It is a new coach, a new system and half of the line up were signed recently. Sirius, a new comer team, took full advantage of this and Elfsborg are an established contender in Allsvenskan who usually have good performances against this opposition. Considering the current factors, all value is on the visitors, as Djurdarden have done nothing to deserve a favorite stamp apart from signing well known Swedish names. I would consider a straight play on Elfsborg, but decided to go with AH +0.5 to more than enticing price.