TOP PICKS FROM THE FIRST ROUNDS OF FIXTURES

Five rounds of 2017 OBOS Ligaen fixtures were released last night, I take a look at some of the highlights across the first half of the season in this piece and pick out some potentially big battles.

(Photo: Digitalsport)

1.Runde

Bodø/Glimt vs. Kongsvinger
is one of the standout games in the first round, with both sides expected to challenge for promotion, this game could well show us whether promotion is indeed an acceptable goal. We are still waiting on confirmation of the new Kongsvinger coach, but it will be exciting to see how the side do without their passionate former manager Luis Pimenta.

Another interesting game in the first round is Start vs. Fredrikstad
. Every year, FFK are predicted to challenge for promotion and every year they always come up very short. With Start, it will be interesting to see how Steinar Pedersen fares in the OBOS Ligaen having failed in the top flight last year. Pedersen led Jerv to their first ever play off final in 2015 so should feel right at home back in the OBOS Liga.

2.Runde

For me, the main game to look out for here is Elverum vs. Tromsdalen. With the newly promoted sides, picking up points from the teams you came up with is absolutely crucial. Elverum and Tromsdalen have already been sounded out by many as potential ‘whipping boys’ so a win here for either side would be massive, even at this early stage of the season.

Battle of Promotion:
Tromsdalen-midfielder Tomas Kristoffersen has to become a stand-out player in this years OBOS-liga to keep TUIL in the league. Already in the second round they are facing another promoted team, Elverum. (Foto: Digitalsport)

3.Runde

Ull/Kisa vs. Strommen
is the pick of the games in the third round. Despite it not being a ‘rivalry’ as such, the close proximity of both teams means that this game will always mean slightly more than your average league match. Ull/Kisa are an ambitious side and I am sure they will look to usurp Strommen this season after Espen Olsen’s side surprised everyone last year in challenging for the top six. Strommen have been very active in the market already, strengthening their attacking options, but Ull/Kisa have still been relatively quiet so it will be interesting to see the calibre of player they are looking to attract.

4.Runde

Last year, Levanger vs. Mjondalen
served up a couple of really good games, with the 2-2 draw at the Isachsen stadion being a personal highlight for me due to the brilliant goals that were scored by both sides. I will be expecting a similar kind of game here, with both sides coming into the season looking to challenge for the top 6. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact Robert Stene will have at Levanger, whilst Mjondalen will be hoping new signing Pontus Silfwer has settled well by this point. The midfielder has impressed for IK Frej in the Superettan this season and looks to be a great signing.

5.Runde

Bodo/Glimt vs. Start is clearly the stand out game here with two of the relegated Tippeligaen sides coming to blows. Both will want to achieve promotion back to Norway’s top tier immediately so this early season game could be crucial for both sides.

fotball, tippeliga, eliteserien, start, brann, ikstart, sor arena, 30.oktober, 2016 Robert Sandnes, Start Foto: Ole Fjalsett Clash of the titans:
Start did not have much to cheer for last season. This year, scenes like this should occur more often. In the fifth round we are served the clash of the titans when Start faces Bodø/Glimt. BLACK AND YELLOW, BLACK AND YELLOW, BLACK AND YELLOW, BLACK AND YELLOW. (Foto: Digitalsport)

8.Runde (16.mai)

On the biggest weekend in the Norwegian calendar the football has served up some real OBOS Ligaen treats. First off, Levanger face Ranheim
in the battle of Nord-Trøndelag/Trondheim. This rivalry has been simmering for a while now and the bad blood between the two sides increased massively this Winter when Ranheim’s key forward Robert Stene left to join Levanger. It left a bad taste in many Ranheim fans’ mouths and they will be keen to get revenge on their rivals Levanger here.

Fredrikstad vs. Jerv
is another standout game, with both sides harbouring hopes of promotion it should be a key battle. A lot depends on how new FFK coach Andrea Loberto settles in the team as FFK do have a reputation for tarnishing managers’ careers of late. Jerv will be hoping to replicate the successes of the last two years and achieve a playoff spot.

Finally, Start vs. Sandnes
should be yet another exciting game of football. The sides met in 2016 in the NM Cupen, with Sandnes coming out on top. Like FFK vs. Jerv, this game will see two sides wanting to achieve promotion coming to blows. It will definitely be tight at the top this year, with arguably more than half of the league setting a promotion challenge as an acceptable goal.

The first few round of action should be very exciting, with many new managers and signings making their way in the league. By the end of the 16.mai rounds we could well see the league starting to take shape with the promotion and relegation candidates being highlighted. The remaining 24 rounds of fixtures will be released on Tuesday.

Both Jervs Dejan Corovic(left) and FFKs Ludvig Begby will be wearing new shirts in a differen stadium next season when FFK faces Jerv on the 16th of may. (Foto: Digitalsport)

Bli kjent med vår OBOS-liga ekspert Ben Wells her: Dette er Fotballkanalens nye OBOS-liga ekspert