In part one of the OBOS Ligaen rankings so far I took a look at the top 8 teams in the league and tried to sum up their seasons’ so far. In part two, I cast my eye over the bottom half of the table. Who has overachieved, who has underachieved and who has really surprised me this year based on their pre-season expectations?

9th. Tromsdalen – 7/10

Tromsdalen manager Gaute Helstrup.

Considering many had written Tromsdalen off prior to the start of the season, the fact that Gaute Helstrup’s men are sitting in 9th position is testament to the good work going on within the club currently.

Despite having one of the smallest budgets in the league and an injury prone squad, Tromsdalen have shown character to beat sides such as Ranheim and Mjondalen this season so far.

Their brand of attacking football is exciting to watch and with 12 points on the board already after 10 games Tromsdalen look like a side who may well avoid the threat of relegation come the end of the season.

– The 2-1 win over Mjondalen demonstrated how well the side have adapted to this level of football so far.

– Apart from their win against Asane on the opening day, I am sure TUIL will know they could have picked up more points in April than they eventually did.

10th. Strommen – 4/10

Strommen coach Espen Olsen and his assistant Espen Haug.

Strommen have been one of a few disappointments so far this season, especially after their great 2016 season which saw the side operate well above their means and came close to securing a place in the top 6 and the promotion play offs.

This year, Strommen have tried and so far failed to implement a more possession based style of play. In pre-season, the squad looked uneasy with this approach and conceded a lot of goals via individual defensive errors. Strangely enough, since the season has started the side has struggled to score yet also been defensively sound, going against the trends seen in pre-season.

So why have the side been so disappointing? After a great 2016 season, Strommen have seemingly regressed slightly. Most of the impressive players from their 2016 season are still playing for the side but have underwhelmed on the whole with strikers Solum, Braendsrod and Troen in particular performing well below par. 10th position with 12 points in 12 games is not a bad start but i simply expected more from the side.

– Tough to pick a particular highlight after such an underwhelming season start but the sides’ back to back wins over Jerv and Arendal in April showed what the side could be capable of.

– The 4-0 loss to Kongsvinger really exposed some of the weaknesses Strommen have shown so far this season and was almost embarrassing for the side after they entered the game as pre match favourites.

11th. Elverum – 6.5/10

Elverum boss Tore Fossum.

In my pre-season predictions, I thought Elverum may surprise a few this season and end up in a mid table position come the end of the year and so far the side has performed largely as expected.

Having failed to win in their first 4 OBOS Ligaen games of the season the side has since gone on to go undefeated in their next 5 matches, with their only loss coming recently against Levanger. Taking into account the sides’ good progression in the NM Cupen, it is safe to say Elverum are looking good so far this season.

Despite taking just 10 points from their first 10 league games the foundations are there for what could be a very productive season for the side. Standout performances have come from Peder Nersveen, Marius Hagen and Amor Layouni so far.

– I think it would be fair to say the entirety of the month of May has been a highlight for the side with just one loss in 7 games and two important wins in the Cup.

– The 5-0 loss to Bodo/Glimt was certainly a wake up call to the side, who were exposed by a somewhat weakened Glimt team.

12th. Kongsvinger – 3/10

Hans Erik Eriksen of Kongsvinger watches on.

To say Kongsvinger have been disappointing this season so far would be an understatement, with the side failing to win a single league game until last weekend they find themselves in the bottom half of the table much further from the top six than they would have anticipated in pre-season.

It’s been easy to criticise Kongsvinger this season with their many lost points from winning situations but in reality there has been a level of unluckiness to the sides’ results, with possible wins against Arendal and Sandnes tossed away due to awful lapses in defensive concentration.

The reality is that Kongsvinger have taken just 9 points from their first 10 games and need a sharp upturn in form to even consider reaching the top six come the end of the season. Promising performances recently from Martin Ellingsen and Maikel may signal a change for the side, but they need Adam Guven fully fit and firing on all cylinders if they are serious about another promotion push.

– The 4-0 win over Strommen was badly needed after 8 games without a win.

– Hard to pick between the Sandnes & Arendal losses as both were games the side could well have won on another day. The Arendal match in particular was there for the taking for Kongsvinger but an awful second half meant they left the game with nothing.

13th. Arendal – 2.5/10

Arendal in La Manga

Fair play to Arendal, who have managed to go from one of the most exciting teams to watch in pre-season to one of the dullest in the regular season. I was championing the side before they had even played an OBOS Ligaen match due to their scintillating pre-season form, with players such as Ibrahimaj, Lovgren and Henanger all standing out in impressive wins over Odd and Ranheim.

Since the season has begun, however, the side have seemingly switched up their pre-season tactics to incorporate 38 year old man mountain Petar Rnkovic into their lineup. I have nothing against Petar, who has been a hugely successful player in the past, but the rest of the Arendal side have suffered as a result of him displacing Willy Pepa up front. The lack of movement up top means players such as Ibrahimaj and Henanger who looked so good in pre season now have no one to play in behind after one of their many counter attacks.

A lot of the blame has to lie with coach Knut Torum, some of his decision making this season has been fairly strange to outsiders like myself. I hope that Arendal can improve as the season goes on as they do have so much talent in their squad but I worry that Torum’s tactics are now here to stay.

– Adnan Mohammad’s performance against Kongsvinger in their 3-2 win was breathtaking and really showed how much potential the youngster has.

– Not seeing the much hyped Willy Pepa in the starting lineup this season as well as the recent 3-0 loss to Elverum.

14th. Floro – 5/10

Manager Terje Rognso in La Manga with his side.

It’s been a tough start to life in the OBOS Ligaen for Floro so far, with just the one win in their first ten league matches coming against fellow strugglers Fredrikstad. The Floro project Terje Rognso is running is extremely interesting, but is it sustainable in Norway’s second tier?

There have undoubtedly been some great performances so far this season from the side with the win over FFK and the draw with Strommen in particular showcasing the sides’ brilliant ability to consistently break against opponents with pace.

However, this tactic has often left them vulnerable at the back and Floro have struggled against sides capable of breaking their defence down. No one really expected Floro to surprise this season but i still think they have the ability to turn a few heads with their performances in the rest of this current season, one would feel that a big win could set this side off on a good run of form in the future.

– Monir Benmoussa’s last gasp winner against FFK is one of the highlights of the OBOS Ligaen season as a whole so far.

– The loss to IK Start on home turf would have hurt the side who had started so well in that particular game.

15th. FK Jerv – 2/10

FK Jerv boss Arne Sandsto

There are not many people who could have predicted FK Jerv to do so badly so far this season, I for one had them as a certainty in the top 6 once more after some impressive pre-season signings but the loss of Tonny Brochmann has clearly been felt and the side are winless in their first 10 games and in danger of finding themselves in a relegation battle this season.

After two seasons of overachieving, has the OBOS Ligaen finally caught up with the side? There is no doubt that Jerv have really struggled both home and away this season with a lack of goals in particular being the main reason for their current plight. With Alex Lind misfiring and new signing David Akintola also struggling to find the net, it is hard to see where the goals will come from for Jerv this season.

Having come so close to promotion these last two seasons it would be a huge shame to see Jerv suffer relegation, but if they carry on the way they are that is exactly what could happen. The awful condition of the Levermyr pitch has not helped matters as it stifles the more technical of the Jerv players but a certain amount of blame has to lie at the hands of Arne Sandsto who’s side have under performed badly this season so far.

– With no wins to speak of, the only real highlight of the season so far for Jerv has been the form of David Akintola, who looks to be the only player capable of coming anywhere near the level of the recently departed Tonny Brochmann.

– There have been many lowlights for the side so far this season but the recent loss to IK Start would have hurt in particular. Despite playing well in large parts of the game, losing to their rivals would have really destroyed any remaining confidence in the Jerv camp.

16th. Fredrikstad – 1/10

FFK Stadion

I find it tough to even give Fredrikstad a 1/10 for their start to the 2017 season but a 0/10 may just be a little too harsh. The side started their campaign well with defensively assured performances against the likes of IK Start and Mjondalen but since the loss to Glimt in mid-May the club has crumbled and now find themselves rock bottom of the table without a win in 10 games.

So, what has gone wrong? In short, I do not have time to list all of the reasons as there have been simply way too many issues with the club not just in this current season but also throughout seasons gone by. Poor recruitment strategy left the side without a defensive midfielder nor a right back going into the season and Andrea Loberto’s insistence on playing out of form players is a mystery to us all.

Losses to Krakeroy, Floro and Levanger have really summed up this current season so far for FFK, who now have a lot of work to do to turn things around and avoid relegation. After two consecutive seasons of flirting with the drop zone, could 2017 finally be the year FFK fall out of Norway’s top two tiers?

– The early season defensive performances may have been short lived but at least for one moment in time we lived in a world where Fredrikstad may actually become good again.

– The loss to Floro was the beginning of a chaotic month for Fredrikstad, who had to contend with fan and boardroom unrest throughout May.

Ben Wells

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