Norrkoping vs AIK by Sweem
Allsvenskan have started to take shape and segmented the expected top teams from the rest of the league. Norrkoping and Malmo will, by the looks of it, compete for the title until the end, while there are some competition from remaining dark horses. AIK is a side with a lot of quality, but have had immense difficulties to get any capacity out of the team. The battle between Norrkoping and AIK is however, on paper and for the sake of the standing, a game loaded with excitement.
AIK had gone five straight matches without conceding a goal, and earned a feared reputation - but that streak got a bitter end, when Malmo scored the winner in the last kick of the game, as so many times this season. It was a match which apart from the disappointment, also will be tough to reset physically and mentally with such a short notice, before another big clash against title competitors, Norrkoping. While AIK have had their strenghts defensively, the offense has been toothless! The midfield possess a lot of creativity, but the strikers Eero Markkanen and Sulejman Krpic have been unable to be effective up front and have rightfully been heavily questioned.
The visitors AIK will be without their normally main striker Henok Goitom (6/1) due to injury, but also Eero Markkanen (9/1) is suspended. Moreover, the midfield engine on the offensive front, Stefan Ishizaki (9/1). Captain defender Nils Eric Johansson (8/1) is also a doubt.
The hosts, Norrkoping have rested well and had two days more of rest than their opponents, AIK, who played a highly intense match versus Malmo with a bitter loss. Norrkoping on the other hand have really found their flow and are coming into this home fixture with four consecutive victories, and a solid scoring streak, with nine goals in their last four matches. The club won the championship in 2015 and remained competitive in 2016, and look to be challenging again in this years competition.
Norrkoping style of play is very individually skilled wing players in Niclas Eliasson (8 assists in 11 matches), and Niklas Barkroth (2 assists and 2 goals in 11 matches), along with strikers who make the most with the opportunities in Kalle Holmberg and Sebastian Andersson. Their inner midfielders cover a lot of space with their running capacity which often leads to good control of the games - especially on home turf. These are cruical points for both sides, but the directions are pointing opposite ways for these sides.
Norrkoping have a fully eligible squad to operate with in this important clash, with no significant absentees.
Adding the factor that Norrkoping are playing their home games on a quick artificial turf, which invites for fast paced football with scoring chances, and for a side like the hosts in their current shape, it looks like a promising opportunity, to face AIK on a short notice with travel included, after a demotivating in the last minute. The hosts are mentally more prepared for this clash, and more rested with motivation for the title hunt to keep even steps with Malmo. For the stated reasons, the value is clearly on the home side.