Outright odds with a handicap at local bookie before the season, although HJK odds dropped to 6 after publishing these opening odds.
Club & round overview:
Expected performance and result vs Ilves. HJK take their time in controlling the game, and then step up on gas on 2nd half if needed, and contrary to other clubs all substitutions in general improve their game as the width in material is huge. Filip Valencic was the hero this time with 2 goals after coming in late, but it could had been also someone else. HJK can afford to bench Valencic who has been the one of the top players of the league for a few seasons now.
New recruit Klauss from Hoffenheim/2 seems like an excellent find in the attack, and the Egyptian international Gamal might very well to be a super class player for this league as well.
Next MIFK away, the natural grass is a slight worry, MIFK themselves in current form are not.
They are in desperate need of a striker, or two, or three and despite the early lead away at HJK they were never close of getting any points. Defensively a solid unit though, and for a neutral football the most boring club of the country who are heading to another low-scoring season. New recruits are already on their way, the class remains a mystery but origin is African.
Next hosting KuPS, but not at home but at HJK's stadion because of the bad pitch situation at Tampere.
A shocking home loss vs weak Kemi, but as the whole club is a disaster waiting to happen it was not that shocking after all. If we rely on xG only they can even call themselves unlucky as it was roughly a 1.5 - 0.5 match, but as usual there was no truth in what the soon to be fired manager Kautonen said "we had enough chances to win two matches".
SJK is badly built, they are short of wingers. They are also badly roled, for example their best defending midfielder Hetemaj has been a number 10 recently and even an idiot would see that it is a bad idea which is not working... oh well, actually the idiot did not see it..
Next SJK will face TPS away, another relegation candidate, and if they manage to lose this one as well then the hell is loose at Seinäjoki City.
After a horrible preseason and almost 100% change in player material since last season Kemi was again doomed for the drop, but luckily for them they got the pleasure of visiting SJK at Seinäjoki. Kemi performed a lot better than usual, but they also scored from their almost only chance, and gk Forsman was again needed to do a couple of game savers. Kemi will annoy the general public by winning matches every now and then, but personally I am far from impressed and let us see how it goes.
Next they will host Inter, but it will be played at Rovaniemi. Pitch problems at home, something to do with the snow. Maybe they still surprise, maybe not. Not so sure anyway about how weak they are than what was generally thought before the first round.
They were defensively almost ok until the first RoPS goal was scored, but after that their weakness in the Superettan reject player material showed and they could not challenge RoPS at all when needing a goal. Important mf Petrovic got injured early on.
Bad preseason behind them, and I do not see much promise in any of the new signings for this year, and they might well be closer to relegation battle than top-4.
Next HJK at home. The only advantage they have is their small natural grass pitch, but it is going to be a very long 90 minutes for MIFK.
VPS have been the talk of the league for a few seasons because of their very stubborn approach to ball possession even if the player material is not really up for it. They survived the early threat of Inter, and perhaps a bit undeservingly won 2-0 an even match where Inter very short of a few key players of their own. VPS had benched their gk Meerits in favour of young Volotinen who kept the clean sheet despite being at times all over the place in his box and saved purely by luck.
Next hosting RoPS, and it is more interesting than it would be at first glance as both won their opening game, and it is hard to say what to expect.
Honka were missing half a dozen regulars, most of them midfielders and it was no surprise that KuPS dominated the first half. On 2nd half though it turned upside down and KuPS were happy with the point, they both were. They will get their injured players back one by one, week after week. Probably Hervas, Kauffman and Obradovic first, but all should be back in months time or so.
Looking rather good at Honka camp, a solid preseason behind them and they can follow their own style of play vs anyone, and they even beat HJK away in the cup a few weeks back. Injury situation is the biggest worry.
Next hosting Lahti who played a total coast-to-coast encounter with TPS. Lahti who once were proud of being a good base for domestic players these days host 8 or so foreigners in the starting lineup, and everyone at the city is not happy.
They were rather big favourites vs Honka, but had to settle with a point in the end. The biggest news at KuPS is the loan deal with an Egyptian top international striker, who on paper is perhaps the best ever foreigner in Veikkausliiga.
Next Ilves, at HJK's home arena in Helsinki. A lot of interest in Abdalla's debut!
Without a pre-warning Inter were completely without wingers in this match, 3 of them injured/ill, the fourth one placed as a center-back. No surprise that not much happened at the wings vs VPS, yet they had enough chances to win the game. The chosen replacements for the winger position were poor, and a worrying sign of manager Piccareta's skills really. Why put the pitches slowest man as a winger? Would you do that?
Next Kemi away, and the wingers are needed to secure a win.
At preseason and at last season a very underish and well-defending team game a huge show vs Lahti, and they should had scored a few already by half-time. A lof of had to do with Lahti defense line being high at the pitch, but there was some promise that TPS might be able to be competitive in this season's Veikkausliiga as well despite everyone expecting them to relegate. Young Onni Valakari at midfield is the to follow.
Next hosting SJK, and this might be a perfect time to shake the giants one more time as the organization is a mess, but material-wise of course the class difference is huge. Not hosting at home, but at Valkeakoski so the home advantage is lost.
International early markets at Sportmarket:
Local odds at Veikkaus:
VPS - Inter
KuPS - Honka
HJK - Ilves
SJK - Kemi
Lahti - TPS
RoPS - MIFK