Rosenborg in the Premier League? The Viking invasion got underway last week and the Norwegian’s are acquitting themselves well in unfamiliar surrounds. How will the winter months work out? Catch up with part 1 here.
Hello and welcome back to Viking Invaders! Last time out we’d bolstered the squad with Norwegian talent and after a strong end of August-September we were hit with an injury to Svindal-Larsen and fell apart, crashing out the League Cup to Stockport. Our away form has been woeful, the travelling from Norway every other weekend taking its toll on the lads. Let’s take a look at the stats so far;
As can be established, sitting behind the front two, Knutsen is a major loss, side-lined for 3 months with a serious injury. I am hoping Rodahl can step up to the plate, or Dahlum can sit in behind and drive some assists. Either way, I’ll probably revert to a bulked-up midfield away from home here on in.
Thankfully, we open the winter part of our campaign at home. This time of year should suit us. A much more composed performance across the team with Ulla standing strong to Derby’s attacks. Rushfeldt has probably had his last shot at being penalty taker. Relief.
With two away games on the bounce we make a formational tweak. Fermann and Ree are now out for a few weeks too. We go down to Blackburn and then Villa without much of a fight, but at least we didn’t concede 5 in either game.
Answers on a post card. At least we aren’t the only ones. Arsenal fall 3-0 to Bolton. But we sit in 4th and another loss could potentially see us drop to 10th it’s that tight. We manage a draw at home to the crazy gang, but it’s now mid-season and we are in free fall. We get humped 3-1 at 20th placed Everton despite having 17 shots and dominating. Down to 7th place.
A distraction from disaster sees us scrape by division two Plymouth in the FA Cup third round, our reward, Stoke City…AWAY.
We are miss-firing up top at present which is obvious based on the number of opposition ‘keepers getting MoM. I’m relived though, as this had banana skin written all over it.
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle the Vikings sleep tonight”…YYYEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. A win…away.
Finally, an invasion that has gone well. Perhaps we will make our home in Yorkshire. That said, it’s not quite the 7-2 slaughtering of earlier in the season, but that means we’ve put 10 past Leeds this season. Speaking of 7-2…
That is more like it! That said, it took Bye Andersen 9 shots to get those 2 goals. I’ll let him off with 4 assists to his name though. We battle our way through the Potteries with a late 1-0 win (away!) and we’re rewarded with a 5th round tie away at St. James Park. From clinical killers to cynical winners in the space of 7 days.
Back to the league, and we sign off with another jungle dance. I shouldn’t get too excited given we’ve just had a run of games against teams in the bottom half.
Dropping Rushfeldt for Dahlum appears to have been a masterstroke. Bye Andersen’s weakness appears to be the number of chances needed to score so we need to keep creating them for him. Given he is also our most creative player he will survive any chopping!
We end January in 5th place, but we’ve fallen far enough away from Man Utd to have no chance whatsoever. They are an unrivalled machine.
Our bookings are mounting and having missed many games with injuries, Fermann still has another game to miss through suspension. 3-4 more key players are also dicing with suspensions that could kill our season. Those pesky violent Vikings!
In the broader picture of Norwegian football, only Brann are left flying the flag in European competition, and I think they have an almost impossible task.
In terms of Norwegian transfer targets, Stian Neset is now out of reach having moved to AC Milan, though his lack of consistency is pretty clear.
Lasse Olsen’s contract runs out in the summer, but Man Utd are sniffing around so I’m doubtful we’ll be able to achieve that one either. Christer George still resists our advances, it appears we are not a big enough club…hopefully we can change that by the summer. Here’s the run in:
8 games vs. top 10 sides spells trouble if we don’t get our act together, but the majority of our games left are at home which should help with our travel sickness.
Ser deg neste gang. Kan vi holde vare fem beste hap i live? We’ll have to wait and see.
You can follow Andrew on Twitter @KingOfTheRooks