Posted by mightye (2017-03-18 00:27 CET)
Norway OBOS-Ligaen 2017 - Winner:
The teams who are recently relegated from Tippeligaen will normally be the main favorites to promote back up from OBOS-Ligaen, and this season will be no exception.
Both Bodø/Glimt and Start have kept much of their first team regulars in their squads, and should absolutely be among the top sides in OBOS-Ligaen 2017.
Bodø/Glimt have lost many goals scorers though, Ole Jørgen Halvorsen (Att 10/4), Fitim Azemi (Att 29/11) and Milan Jevtovic (Att 20/6) scored 21 of the 36 goals Bodø/Glimt scored in Tippeligaen 2016.
Bodø/Glimt have brought Sogndal attacker Kristian Fardal Opseth, that scored 2 goals in 18 games last season, but hes a very different striker than Azemi imo, and Bodø/Glimt may need some time to get him going.
Bodø/Glimt have many interesting talents in the squad, but a squad this young may also fall in the performances more often than their main opponents Start, Jerv, Sandnes Ulf.
I rate Bodø/Glimt as a clear promotion candidate, but I rate Start above.
Jerv have reached the playoff final twice in a row now, but Start and Stabæk have proved to be too strong at the final test to reach the top division. Dont be surprised to see the enthusiastic Grimstad side in a 3rd straight playoff final - this time victorious in the end?
Sandnes Ulf were a clear promotion favorite last season, but even though they had the clear top scorer in the league, Pontus Engblom (Att 31/26), they were far from consistant as a team, and Engblom has signed for Eliteserie side Strømsgodset this season.
My main focus will be on Start. I predicted them to relegate already in 2015, but even though they were 0-3-12 in the final part of the 2015 season, they managed to stay clear of relegation, due to two teams that actually played even worse.
Starts bad economy resulted in key players leaving, and cheap bosman players were brought to Sør-Arena to replace them. That strategy often equals relegation (except for Stabæk) in Norways top division, and Starts relegation from Tippeligaen 2016 was hardly any surprise.
Starts focus as their economy has been "saved", is much more interesting though. While board members and the seniors argue on who to blame for Starts fall, Starts squad have changed to the better. Local players have been brought to the club the latest year, like half the 2.Div side Vindbjarts team and new captain Simon Larsen (Def - Vålerenga), that may be a key ingredience to get their supporters entusiasm back for "the pride of the south".
The Dutch midfielder Niels Vorthoren with experience from Eresdivisie, and the quick winger "Abu" Aliyu seem like clear improvements to the squad, and the optimism sem to have been spread to the entire squad.
Note that with the signing of the experienced Tippeliga center-back Simon Larsen, Start will now be able to use "Gummi" Kristjansson in his prefered position at center midfield.
Børufsen/Kristjansson/Vortoren/Abu are holding at least mid-table Tippeliga class imo, and clear of injuries on key players this should Starts best area to secure success.
Start are undefeated during pre-season: 3-1 Vindbjart, 1-1 Viking, 4-0 Mjøndalen, 1-0 Levanger, 5-1 Sandnes Ulf and 3-1 against Jerv.
Even though Start relegation were in the cards for a long time, they clearly underperformed last season.
I believe Steinar Pedersen and the administration have made the right calls on their transfer policy over time now, and we might see the result of this already this season.
If Start are able to deal with the relegation, and are using their focus in trusting their plans, and their abilities - they will return to the top division in 2018.
1st Division 2017 - Winner:
Start, 9/10 stakes, odds 4@Unibet. Good luck!
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