Posted by: Christian Wulff | March 27, 2014

#NorwegianFootballinEnglish Tippeligaen Predictions 2014

Predicting how Tippeligaen will turn out before any season is a recipe for embarrassment and bruised football knowledge egos. Just ask the fool who tipped Tromsø to come third last season, the most northern top-flight team no more as they finished second from bottom (that was me, obviously).

But our merry gang of #NorwegianFootballinEnglish tweeters have so little self-respect to lose that they once again go for the prestigious AHBMCA title, in a year which even by Norwegian standards seems frightfully difficult to predict. The combined wisdom of these hip, young, gunslingers have given us this Tippeligaen 2014 table:

Full Table

The headline prediction is that Rosenborg will take their first league championship since 2010, already their longest title draught since 1984. Reigning champions Strømsgodset are tipped to take second place this year and they were the only other team beside Rosenborg to have been predicted as champions, Paul and myself confident they will make it two in a row. Tor Ole Skullered is expected to follow Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s two league championship and one cup win in three seasons with third place for Molde.

Down at the bottom, Sogndal is tipped for relegation after 4 years in Tippeligaen, which equals their longest ever stay in the top flight. The Norwegian league’s most famous coaches internationally follow at the next two places from the bottom. Brian Deane led promoted Sarpsborg 08 to survival after a play-off against Ranheim last season, but is expected to be relegated this year. Bob Bradley has swapped the Egyptian national team for a very promising but inexperienced Stabæk team. Promoted last season, Bradley is tipped to lead Stabæk to a play-off place in his first season in Norway.

The bottom half of the table is expected to be a fight among the S’es, with no one having Sandnes Ulf higher than 11th and four of the group predicting them for relegation. Brendan and Rhodri also think Start will end up among the bottom two.

Last year’s dominant Addeccoligaen (this year only known as ‘1st division’ after the recruitment giant chose not to renew its sponsorship of the league) winner, Bodø/Glimt, is expected to avoid going back down again, but a 12th place finish might be less than many of their supporters are expecting, the team finishing 2nd and 4thon their return to the top-flight on the last two occasions (1993 and 2008). They really won’t like Rob, who is the only one predicting a return to the second flight for the northerners.

In our individual predictions below, there is the most uncertainly from our pundits in regards to Odd Grenland’s fate. Ten places is the gap between Rob (2nd) and Paul’s (12th) predictions, with 9th ending up being the compromise. Rob also causes the large gap between the best and worst predictions for Molde, having them in 11th place in their first season after Ole Gunnar Solskjær left, with seven of the other Tippeligaen enthusiasts believing Tor Ole Skullerud will lead them to a top 3 finish.

Other teams that the group found very hard to predict were Aalesund (4th to 13th) and Start (7th to 15th).

New Brann coach Rikard Norling has been talking up his side’s title credentials but together with the rest of the Norwegian football media our predictors do not think that the team is ready to challenge at the very top. In fact, not even our resident Brann fanatic, Brendan Husebø, has them in the top 3, yours truly being the only one who thinks the team will take that 3rd spot and qualify for an automatic European place.

This year is the first time we will be predicting cup winners and Tippeligaen top scorers and it is Rosenborg dominance in this area as well. They and Brann both have two of our tweeters backing them, Viking, Molde, Strømsgodset, Odd Grenland and Vålerenga also being tipped for cup success. In the goal scoring chart, five of the predictions give top spot to a Rosenborg player, divided between Riku Riski (3), Alexander Søderlund and Nicki Bille Nielsen. Erik Huseklepp, Jakob Orlov (both Brann), Leke James (Aalesund) and Vidar Ørn Kjartansson (Vålerenga) the other contenders for scoring the most goals in this year’s Tippeligaen season, an achievement that over the last few years can very easily be misconstrued as ‘faint praise’, no player yet to score 20 goals or more in a 30 game season in Norway. Thorstein Helstad was the last player to reach that milestone with 22 goals in 2007, the only time that has happened this century, with last year’s top scorer being 39-year-old Frode Johnsen.

Tippeligaen 2014 kicks off tomorrow with Molde hosting Vålerenga and the gentlemen below are set to cover all your #NorwegianFootballinEnglish needs throughout the season.

Paul Gundersen (@Gundo10), Ben Cullimore (@thenorsenetwork), Chris Eastwood (@norskfotball):

Predictions 1

Brendan Husebø (@brendanhusebo), Rob Brown (@robbro7), James Morgan (@FRfotballJamesM).

Predictions 2

Christian Wulff (@ahellofabeating), Rhodri Lewis (@rhodrijava), The Norwegians (@norwaystats).

Predictions 3

 

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