CAN THESE FORWARDS CHALLENGE FOR THE TITLE OF TOP GOALSCORER?

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The 2016 OBOS Ligaen season was full to the brim of both goals and goalscorers. More players than ever scored 10 or more goals in the league last season, with Pontus Engblom finishing the year as top scorer with 26 goals. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>It seemed as though almost every side had a player who they could rely on for goals no matter what kind of situation their team was in. ><

style=»font-weight: 400;»>Hødd could count on Robin Shroot to score when no one else got near the target whilst Sandnes Ulf had Kent Havard Eriksen to rely on when Engblom was not scoring. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>With the 2017 season shaping up to be tighter than ever, having a player who can score 15 or more league goals could be the difference between success and failure for some sides. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>In this piece, I take a look at 5 OBOS Ligaen forwards who could challenge for the title of ‘Top Scorer’ come the end of the season. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.>

1. Kjell Rune Sellin (Sandnes Ulf)

16th October 2016, 1st Division, OBOS Ligaen. Kjell Rule Sellin of Sandefjord. (Digital Sports)

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Sellin is a striker who has never quite cut it on Norway’s premier stage. His Eliteserien record reads; 81 games played, 10 goals scored. When it comes to the 1.Divisjon however, Sellin’s record of 41 goals in 100 games is much more positive.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Having lost Pontus Engblom in the Winter to Stromsgodset, Sandnes signed Sellin to offset the goals lost by letting Engblom leave. Sellin’s 2016 season with Sandefjord was an interesting one. Having been in and out of the team during the first half of the year, a brilliant goalscoring run in the Summer meant he was one of the first names written on the team sheet come Winter.>

Sellin’s movement and finishing will be welcomed in Sandnes. The management will expect the former Rosenborg man to hit the ground running and provide the goals needed for the side to challenge for promotion.

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>At 27 years old, Sellin should now be entering his prime as a striker. His style of play will suit Sandnes well and with Kent Eriksen as his partner up front, I would expect to see Sellin challenging for the title of top goalscorer come the conclusion of the 2017 season.>

 

2. Wilhelm Pepa (Arendal Fotball)

6. juni 2016 , 2. divisjon. Wilhelp Pepa, Arendal (Digital Sports)

The dark horse, the enigma. Wilhelm Pepa has scored heaps of goals wherever he has played, but has never yet made the step up to the OBOS Ligaen. That is about to change. Pepa will likely be a regular and key member of Arendal’s squad in the 2017 season.

A look into Pepa’s goalscoring past could garner disbelief. Did he really score 25 goals in 8 games for Jerv in 2013? Why did he then turn down the chance to play OBOS Ligaen football with the side in 2015 after such a prolific year in the 2.Divisjon?

It’s tough to tell whether Pepa can translate his form from the lower Norwegian divisions into the second tier, but surely a man who has managed to score 122 goals in the past 5 seasons is more than ready for the step up. However, a comparison could be made to former Raufoss forward Rocky Lekaj, a player who scored freely in the 2.Divisjon but failed to reproduce that same form in the OBOS Ligaen.

Arendal are assembling a strong side in preparation for the 2017 season, with Fabian Ness signed from Moss to support Pepa up front. It would be foolish to write Pepa off due to the fact he plays for a newly promoted side, if he can replicate his past form even sporadically then surely he will be a contender for top scorer this season.

 

3. Adem Guven (Kongsvinger IL)

27 October 2016. Adem Guven, Kongsvinger (Digital Sports0

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Kongsvinger’s Adem Guven has to be considered as a lethal striker after his brilliant 2016 season. The Turkish forward netted 14 times in just 25 games. Previously, the player’s goalscoring form had been patchy at best with Guven never managing 10 or more league goals prior to last year.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Guven is an experienced forward who has played in the Eliteserien, Turkish Super Lig and the OBOS Ligaen. An imposing striker whose strength is his main asset, Guven is clearly the kind of player you would want on your side in the OBOS Ligaen due to his ability to bully defenders into making mistakes. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Despite his great goalscoring output in 2016, if it were not for a handful of troublesome injuries, Guven could well have broken the 20 goal mark. He was the focal point in Luis Pimenta’s 4-4-2 diamond last season and is likely to reprise this role under new boss Hans-Erik Eriksen. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>If Guven can stay fully fit in 2017 and work well with new strike partner Par Ericsson (Signed from Jonkopings Sodra in the Allsvenskan) then I would fully expect to see him better his 2016 goalscoring tally and challenge for the prize of top goalscorer.>

 

4. Kristian Fardal Opseth (Bodø/Glimt)

21. June 2015 OBOS Ligaen. Kristian Fardal Opseth, Sogndal (Digital Sports)

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>In a similar vein to Sandnes’ forward Kjell Rune Sellin, new Bodø/Glimt signing Kristian Opseth seems to be someone who is much more at home in the OBOS ligaen than the Eliteserien. Opseth had a teriffic 2015 season, scoring 16 times in 26 games as Sogndal achieved promotion to the Eliteserien comfortably. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>2016, however, proved to be troublesome for the striker as he failed to hit his stride in Norway’s top tier. Opseth managed just 2 league goals in 18 games in a below par year for Sogndal. Rumours had circulated of a loan move to Fredrikstad at one point but this transfer never came to fruition. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The move to Bodø/Glimt is a smart one from Opseth’s perspective. With former striker Fitim Azemi leaving for Maccabi Haifa this Winter, Opseth will be the main man up front for the side and will be expected to replicate his 2015 goalscoring form. Despite the pressure, Opseth will know that he is capable of producing such performances for Bodø/Glimt. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Opseth is a striker who relies on his movement and devastating left foot to score goals. His powerful free kicks are an asset any side would love to have. He even managed to upstage the prolific Mahatma Otoo in Sogndal’s 2015 promotion season. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>With Bodo/Glimt expected to challenge for the title in 2017, I would expect to see Kristian Opseth’s name near the top, if not at the top, of the goalscoring charts come the end of the year. >

 

5. Lars-Jørgen Salvesen (IK Start)

Football, Eliteserien. Lars Jorgen Salvesen, IK Start (Digital Sports)

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Salvesen’s Start career is yet to really cat><

style=»font-weight: 400;»>ch fire. At 20 years old, he has managed 6 league goals in 51 Eliteserien games. It is looking as though the young forward will be a fixture in the starting XI under boss Steinar Pedersen, but can he make 2017 his breakout year and challenge for the honour of top goalscorer?>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Salvesen is someone who tends to split opinion. Whilst some rate the forward as one of the most promising strikers in Norway, others simply do not buy into the hype. >

«2016 was a real breakout year for Salvesen as he was thrown into the side by Steinar Pedersen in a desperate attempt to find some goals. He ended the season as their top scorer, netting 4 times…

He is the kind of player that central defenders hate to play against, always making runs in behind and holding the ball up for others. What he lacks in technical ability he makes up for in enthusiasm and pace.

A confidence player, he missed his fair amount of chances last season but never stopped getting into dangerous positions and one feels that he will thrive in the second tier where he should get more chances against poorer defences.

He has a lot of work to do on the technical side of his game but with the right service he will surely reach double figures in 2017. One thing is for sure, no OBOS defence will relish playing against a strike partnership of Antwi and Salvesen.»