Soccer

Sarpsborg 08 v Start – Tippeligaen

Sarpsborg 08 v Start

Sarpsborg 08

They are in great form and have surprisingly climbed to a sixth place in the league table following their win away to Molde. At home to bottom-of-the-table Start they could be reinforced by key players Ole Hansen and Matti Lund Nielsen. The former is more likely to start after being rested against Molde while the latter could still be unavailable as his wife is expecting a child. Even if Lund Nielsen is available he could be benched here as Bakke will likely want to field a more attacking side against Start, with Anders Trondsen centrally while Jon-Helge Tveita takes the left side. There could be another change in defence though as Alexander Groven was brought off injured and replaced by Henri Toivomäki who could start here.

They are doing well thanks to their solid defending, but lately they’ve gotten more out of their attack as well. Lindberg especially is in good form, and against Molde the whole midfield did well to join in on attack. Against Start they’ll continue that way, going hard for the win. Even though they face struggling Start they still have to be careful not to give the opponent chances to hurt them on counter-attacks, so keeping balance in midfield will be important. With Lund Nielsen possibly missing again, this will be up to Ernemann.

Start

Struggling Start will be strengthened by Nwakali’s return from suspension here, but will likely be missing experienced Hoff. This could open up for new signing Johnson’s first start for the club but he’ll most likely start on the bench. New signing Antwi is included in the squad and could make his debut.

With Nwakali back they get more attacking power as he’s good at pushing up, but given Sarpsborg’s possession style they could be forced to sit back and defend for long spells here. They need to be able to force turnovers and win the ball to launch counter-attacks.

They have little hope of salvaging this season left, but will still likely line-up in 4-3-3 hoping to get their attack going. Nwakali’s return will be a boost but they’ll still have to focus on defence here as Sarpsborg are in good form.

Verdict

Sarpsborg are in great form and the win against Molde will surely have boosted morale in the squad further. Against Start they’ll be looking to continue winning, against a side that hasn’t won for over a year they’ll settle for nothing less than three points.

Prediction: Sarpsborg 08 – 1.25 AH
Odds: 1.91 Pinnacle

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