Lillestrom vs Tromso by 20Legend
After a month of summer break, Tippeligaen is finally coming back in July and Lillestrom takes on Tromso to kick it all off at Arasen Stadium tonight.
Lillestrom has not been more than decent at best so far this season with an unstable form to show for. 4-5-4 has given them a current 9th place at the table with 17 points after 13 games. Their striker Fred Friday (12/8) has been the only reason why Lillestrom has scored 22 goals in those matches, as his share represents eight of those goals. Friday is probably the most certain candidate to leave Norwegian football during this transfer window. That will leave a huge gap to fill for Lillestrom, but it seems like he will play this match at least. Even though it is hard to put too much thought into friendlies, Lillestrom’s friendly against Stabaek (0-5) last week was not what the fans had hoped to see.
The coach Runar Kristinsson was very disappointed over the low concentration that his players showed. The will to win was not there and it seems like Lillestrom thought of Stabaek like a “walk in the park”, given that Stabaek is currently in a struggling 15th place in Tippeligaen. It is a little concern regarding their lineup tonight as their 1st keeper Arnold Origi (10/0) is still missing. He is among the top three keepers in the league and will be truly missed because of his abilities as both a keeper and as an organizer.
Tromso did not impress a lot either during the last matches before the summer break. After a surprisingly good start to the season, it became clear that the team will fight in the lower half of the table this season. Tromso occupies the 11th place with 13 points after 13 games and 3-4-6 as their record so far. They have struggled on scoring all season and they have struggled to be strict enough defensively away from home. Their last performance gave them a bad feeling as they headed into the summer break against Sarpsborg 08 (1-2). Two mistakes from their own players inside their own box gave the opponent two penalties inside the first 30 minutes.
Tromso managed to score a goal before halftime and produced several chances to equalize during the second half. However, their problem with scoring enough goals hunted them down once against this season, which leaves Tromso with just six scored goals in six home games. However, the club got a huge boost in the game before when Odd was beaten 3-2 in the cup after extra time. It shows that Tromso has the ability to score when everyone has their day. Having said that, those days come way too rarely which becomes clear away from home with 1-3-3 and 4:13 on goal difference. Midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen (3/0) is still missing out, while striker Thomas Lehne Olsen (13/3) is doubtful.
It is the first official game for both teams in a month which off course makes it difficult to say for sure where both teams are standing at the moment. Lillestrom has the better team on paper and always produces chances with Fred Friday upfront. Friday probably wants to make the night memorable for the fans as well, as it could be his last performance at Arasen ever. They have also been very strong in both ends at home so far with 10:4 on goal difference in six home games.
Tromso has struggled in both ends all season and they does not like to travel, and especially not to stadiums with natural grass like tonight. I consider Lillestrom to be the favorites, but neither of the teams was convincing before the break though. Everything can happen in the first game after a long break and Lillestrom will miss Origi as mentioned. All in all I still expect Lillestrom to take charge in front of own fans and make up for the horrible performance in the friendly against Stabaek. With Fred Friday soon to leave to a bigger club, he should definitely be looking for contributing for a win as well. Tromso’s poor defensive performances away from home should give Lillestrom opportunities early on. I therefore expect a goal from the home team already in the first half.