Lillestrom vs Stabaek by 20Legend
Lillestrom started in the worst possible way in their first game after the summer break. Tromso paid them the visit as one of the worst away teams in the league, but ended up dominating at times against Lillestrom. It looked like several of the players was still in vacation mode rather than helping the team getting a good start to the second half of the season. Their top scorer Fred Friday gave the weakest performance of all players as he almost did not touch the ball at all. His usual aggressiveness that has made him so valuable this season was suddenly gone. That actually made him a burden for the team instead of a resource that provides the usual x-factor for them. Tromso did dominate both the possession and creating of chances for big parts of the game. That was very strange to watch as Tromso had lost all their previous games on natural grass before heading to Arasen Stadion.
It is currently big injury problems in the keeper position with both their 1st keeper Arnold Origi (10 games) and 2nd keeper Jacob Faye Lund (4 games) injured. Lillestrom got a solution in the last minute as the Norwegian football federation let them loan Viking’s 2nd keeper Pal Vestly Heigre (0 games) for the next two games until the transfer window opens. Heigre is young, but he has already got several matches to his belt with 20 games for Tromso in Tippeligaen last season. He will therefore not be a setback for them in the next two games.
Stabaek has had huge problems this season with 3-1-10 in 14 games that has given them just 10 points. The club is currently in 15th place with just rock bottom Start under them at the table. They got a new coach before the season as Bob Bradley went to Le Havre after taking the club up to a sensational 3rd place in the league. Since then, all of their key players have been sold in addition to Bob Bradley. Billy McKinlay was brought in as the replacement for Bradley, but he got a tough task headed his way. The current squad is a lot weaker compared to the squad last season, but they have not been able to produce as a group either. The club started the second half of the season by losing against Sogndal (0-1) at home.
It was another bad performance by them, but it was far worse results to come. Stabaek got knocked out of the Europa League qualification on Thursday, as the Welsh team Connah’s Quay Nomads beat them 0-1 over two legs. That was enough for the board as McKinlay got fired after another horrible performance by the team. It had to come sooner or later and Toni Ordnias is stepping in as the new head coach until a new coach can be found. Ordinas knows the club well as he has been in charge for Stabaek U19 team until now.
Two teams with a terrible first match behind them will try to make things better tonight. Lillestrom must be a lot better offensively and defensively in this match, while Stabaek must find a way out of their current crisis. Lillestrom had a serious meeting with players and staff involved after the terrible performance against Tromso, and the reports from the training ground have been good as a result of that. Lillestrom has 3-2-2 at home with 12:8 on goal difference while Stabaek has 1-1-5 and 9:12 on goal difference. Lillestrom is going to be clear favorites tonight once again. However, I chose the same pick as last weekend with Lillestrom involved as I fancy them to score inside the first half.