Two sides with contrasting positions in the Norwegian Eliteserien face off at the Intility Arena on Saturday evening, as Valerenga Fotball go head-to-head with Viking FK in an eagerly anticipated clash.
The home side currently sit just outside the relegation zone and will head into this weekend’s encounter looking to pick up their first league win since May.
Valerenga will resume Eliteserien action after seeing off Stjordals/Blink 5-0 in the NM Cupen, but it has been a challenging season in the top flight for the Oslo-based side, with just a single point separating them from the bottom three sides.
Dag-Eilev Fagermo’s men currently find themselves in 13th position in the league after a run of three successive defeats, with their home form being a particular cause for concern.
The Bohemians’ struggles on their own turf have been a major factor in their current plight, as they hold the unfortunate distinction of being the worst side in the league this season when playing as hosts.
Out of the five top-flight games they have played at the Intility Arena, they have suffered four defeats and managed to secure just one victory; a routine 3-0 win against relegation-threatened HamKam.
However, they still have two games in hand on many of the teams above them, and a favourable outcome in those matches could potentially propel them as high as eighth place in the standings.
In stark contrast, Viking FK have enjoyed a highly successful campaign so far, reaffirming their status as one of the top teams in the division.
Despite a disappointing 11th-place finish last season, the Dark Blues’ head coaches, Bjarte Lunde Aarsheim and Morten Jensen, have demonstrated impressive progress this year as they seek to replicate the remarkable achievements of the 2021 campaign.
They qualified for the Europa Conference League that year by securing a third-place finish, and are poised to repeat the trick this time around, currently sitting just one point behind the qualification spots in fourth place.
The Stavanger-based team managed to bounce back from successive defeats by securing two wins on the bounce in the league, yet in order to sustain a challenge for a top-three finish they will need to improve on their inconsistent away form, which currently stands at two wins from five matches this term.
In addition, Viking will have to recover from the disappointment of their elimination from the NM Cupen after suffering defeat in a penalty shootout against Raufoss.
Valerenga Fotball Norwegian Eliteserien form:
Viking FK Norwegian Eliteserien form:
We say: Valerenga Fotball 1-1 Viking FK
Considering Viking’s recent cup result and their less-than-ideal away record, they could face difficulties in securing a victory in this match. On the other hand, Valerenga, despite their promising performance in the NM Cupen, have struggled at home this season. Therefore, a draw might be the most probable outcome for this encounter.