KENYA BROWN - Friday, August 15, 2014
Another round of the Norwegian Tippeligaen in on deck this weekend with Andrew Jacobson, Michael Stephens and Mikkel Diskerud looking to build on their performances from last week.
Stabaek - Odd
Stabaek will be looking maintain their good run of form as they welcome second place Odd to the Nadderud Stadium.
After going on a poor run that started in late May, the Blue Ones seem to have regained their footing and have pulled of a couple of good results.
After a 4-1 thrashing of Norwegian powerhouse Rosenborg on August 4, Stabaek followed that up with an impressive 2-2 tie against league leaders Molde last week. Bob Bradley's troops showed they were not panicked as they fought their way back from a 2-0 deficit on the road.
Stephens and Jacobsen, who made huge contributions in Stabaek's comeback tie, will most certainly be in the lineup for their home game. The team will be looking to snatch three points from the game as they look to pull themselves further away from the relegation zone.
Odd will prove to be a tough customer as they have looked unstoppable as of late. Head coach Dag-Eilev Fagermo's men have been on a tear as of late as they have won 10 of their last 11 games - a 0-0 tie against Haugesund is the only blemish on their record.
Last week's 1-0 over third place Stromsgodset has made the race for the league title virtually a two-team race now, as the Oddrane are only six points behind Molde.
Expect Odd not to hold back as they look to keep the pressure on the top team in the league.
SK Brann - Rosenborg
Rosenborg will head to the Brann Stadium this weekend to take on a team that is struggling for points as they are buried deep in the relegation zone.
After suffering a humiliating defeat two weeks ago against Stabaek, the Troll Kids bounced right back last week as they fought back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Start 3-2 at home.
Diskerud led the comeback charge as he scored a sublime goal to get the team back in the win column. Despite being virtually eliminated from contention for the league crown, fourth place Rosenborg still has much to play for as they are still in the hunt for a Europa League place.
Diskerud's play in the past few games should see him maintain his place in the starting lineup.
Brann is a team that is struggling to collect points as they are desperately fighting to get out of the relegation zone. Losers of their previous two games, the Bergen-based side were relieved to collect three points last week as they knocked off fellow relegation candidates Aalesund 1-0.
It will be a tall order for Brann to beat Rosenborg, but they will certainly give it their all.
IK Start - Stromsgodset
Stromsgodset will be hoping the two teams above them will take a stumble this weekend as they look to get back in the title picture after their visit to the Sor Arena to take on Start.
Godset suffered a setback in their title push last week as they lost 1-0 to second place odd. The lose pushed them 10 points behind Molde.
While the lose has knocked them out of the championship picture temporarily, the team will be looking to solidify their hold on the last Europa League place as the fourth through seventh place teams are nipping at their heels.
Jeb Brovsky, who was an unused substitute in last week's loss, will hope to feature in the upcoming game.
Start will come into this weekend's game smarting over their loss to Rosenborg last week after they allowed three unanswered goals. Having gone winless in their last three games, the team will not only be looking to their home supporters for inspiration, they will also be looking at shoring up their defense as they have allowed a combined seven goals against their foes.
While Start is currently in tenth place, the team is not out of the woods as they are only four points clear of the relegation zone. A win this weekend will certainly boost their confidence and hopefully give them the encouragement to fight on for more points in the rest of the season.
Molde goalkeeper Ethan Horvath should once again be on the bench as the league leaders take on eighth place Sarpsborg 08. Josh Gatt is still recovering form a long-term injury.
Bodo/Glimt defender Zarek Valentin will most likely not find any playing time as his team host last place Sandnes Ulf.