Elfsborg vs Gefle by Sweem
The last round before the month long break will also take place in Boras, the home of the current third placed team, Elfsborg who are seeking their form again. The guests will travel a long way to reach Boras Arena, but the group appears to be confident and will try to make things difficult for the favorites.
One of the two undefeated teams at home this season is Elfsborg who are yet to find out what it feels like to walk off with zero points from their home turf. It is known to fear the away games in Boras because the pitch is very fast and benefits Elfsborgs style of play to an almost unfair advantage. Orebro was the most recent team to steal a point here with their 2-2 triumph despite being outplayed for most of the match, and it has become clear that the biggest opponant for Elfsborg at home are themselves for being unable to score on their chances. Gefle can be a good match up for a struggling home team considering Gefle is a direct opposite of Elfsborg, meaning - a slow defensive team with very few offensive players who can do the little extra. While Elfsborg are also coming from a disappointing result against Goteborg, they returned home quickly after the away loss (60 kilometers) and definitely need their minds set on finishing off on a high note at home before the break. A drop of points would make things a couple of times harder to gain back in the chase of the league title. Elfsborg have created many chances throughout their games but lack the finishing touch. It does appear to be a matter of time before the explosion happens and this is a good chance to show what they are made of.
The hosts will be without suspended central back Jon Jonsson (1/0) and probably also strikers Per Frick (11/3) and Lasse Nilsson (9/2). This does mean that Elfsborg can be questioned up front with two strikers out, but it also means an opportunity for substitute Viktor Prodell (8/1) to show his value and add some scoring while he is expected to start.
Looking into the visitors, Gefle have earned a reputation of being disciplined and that is their trademark. Unlike recent seasons, Gefle have actually improved their scoring ability which is why they are on a high noted 7th position while reading this. The long trip to Boras is a distance of around 500 kilometers and comes closely after a heart breaking loss against Malmo (1-2) at home, and the timing is not optimal for a team with limited offensive resources.
They are prepared to be dominated against Elfsborg who will look to get their outburst from recent frustrating results. Very little speaks for Gefle in a match like this other than trying to put in a complete defensive and counter performance over the full 90 minutes. Striker Johan Oremo is a bright spot in this team who have been a reliable scorer once again and continues to show his importance. The key for Gefle during games is to capitalize on scoring chances, something they have been tremendously good at so far against mainly average sides. Truth remains this is a hard road games and those are never fun for Gefle if we look at the history of their meetings with top 5 teams so far: 3-1, 5-1 and 4-1 against AIK, Djurgarden and Norrkoping.
Regarless of the visitors optimistic start, offense remains the biggest question mark for Gefle who will also be without their most individually gifted threat in Dioh Williams (12/2). Also regular midfielder Robin Nilsson (12/1) will miss out due to suspension and regular defender Jesper Florén (11/0) will sit out as well.
While Elfsborg had troubles on offense with the absences, Gefle will be affected more by this since it is one key piece from every position (attacker, midfielder and defender) and the sprain of the team should prove to be discomforted by this in the long run. For smaller teams it is always more essential to have a complete team when facing a top side and that can not be said with confidence about Gefle in this encounter. Tradition always plays its part and Gefle will want to close their eyes when they see that they have not scored a single goal against Elfsborg away since 2009.
Sites have put Elfsborg as big favorites which can be agreed, the season is only completed to 1/3 but dropping points in Allsvenskan is a big deal for top teams and rarely affordable. This can nearly be described as an early do-or-die for Elfsborgs chase if they indend to have legit chances on the title race. After a recent loss, top teams tend to bounce back after realizing the seriousness of the situation and the offensive potential of Elfsborg have not yet been fully displayed. Perhaps can they be more efficient against a disarmed Gefle side? The chances looks reasonable and so does the odds.