Start vs Valarenga by 20Legend
It is almost not more negative words that can describe Start’s season so far. They are rock bottom with only seven points in 16 games (0-7-9). No wins at all this season makes it clear that it will be a long fight in order to avoid relegation with 14 games to go. However, their performance in the three games after the summer break against Haugesund (2-1 loss), Bodo/Glimt (1-4 loss) and Molde (2-2). The game against Bodo/Glimt turned out to be an ugly loss, but the score is lying a bit as it was just 1-2 until the 91st minute.
Start was starting to produce chances with an offensive approach which is rather different from their usual defensive approach to hteir opponents this season. It was therefore nice to see that the players used the same approach against Molde last weekend. Start shocked them totally from kick off as they took the lead twice during the game. Start showed no respect and despite having very little of the possession, they were the best team on producing chances. Both of their goals came from in-play and it was obvious that Start wanted to win.
Molde was giving another performance below par and it was only a freekick after 72 minutes that saved them from another humiliating loss this season. However, Start was going from the match as winners and got more faith than ever before this season on that getting points is still possible. A new striker has been signed from 2nd Division’s Lorenskog. Jibril Bojang is his name, but he is an unfamiliar name in Norwegian football at this point. Several other candidates are on trial in the club this week with a hope of getting a contract.
The bad news is that midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali (14/2) is suspended for this match. He has been very creative recently with three assists and one goal in three games after the summer break. Winger Austine Ikenna (2/0) is sick while striker Uduak Idemokon (3/0) is still injured. The defender Rolf Daniel Vikstol (13/0) is available again after recovering from injury.
Valerenga has not been in any better position than Start this season with just 3-3-10 in total. That has only given them 12 points in 16 games which keeps them five points ahead of Start and a 15th place at the table. It is only one win away from a safe position though, but it will not be easy to get the points with their recent points. Big changes have been revealed for the club with their current coach Kjetil Rekdal stepping into a different role as the sporting director after this season. The experienced coach Ronny Deila is set to take his place once January comes.
Those were very important for Valerenga as their situation called for a big change. It leaves their primary target for this season much clearer as both staff and players can concentrate fully on just staying in Tippeligaen after the season. Their first test after the changes was known in the media came last weekend against Sogndal (1-1) at home. Valerenga took the lead quite early in the first half, but they were not good enough to keep it all the way in the end. Sogndal did not get many chances, but was able to get the equalizer after 69 minutes. The game did not have many chances to begin with and it faded out once the equalizer came. Defender Einar Jaager (11/1) is still injured.
There are no words that can describe the importance of this match for Start. With five points up to tonight’s opponent, it could be a farewell to Tippeligaen they lose here. Start has been given good performances lately, but it will be noticeable with Nwakali out. The team has not won a game in over a year, but they cannot give up in this particular match.
Valerenga has not won since May 8th, but the team must continue building their momentum and collect enough points to stay away from their current position. Start needs the three points more than Valerenga, but their table position will encourage both teams to go forward tonight. At least three goals could very well be included in the result here.