TL Round 1: Aalesunds FK vs IK Start (8/4-07)
This is the day for fancy words and long speeches, this is the day for beating hearts and sweaty palms, this is the day for goals galore and legendary saves, this is the day when it all starts again. It's the first day of the season, and beatiful Ålesund and Color Line Stadium is the venue of the match between AaFK and Start.
AaFK (4-3-3): Brown - Kibebe, Skiri, Gudmundsson, Bahoken - Ørsal, Kihlberg, Fjørtoft - Aarøy, Olsen, Austnes.
IK Start (4-3-3): Nilssen – Pedersen, Håland, Santiago, Paulsen – Strømstad, Annan, K. Hæstad – Valencia, Bärlin, Børufsen.
Anthony Annan, Ygor Maciel Santiago and Bruno Rato Silva are the three big new signings for Start, and especially the first two that will both start the match. I've never seen them play, but word has it that Santiago was quite the star back in Brazil.
Kristofer Hæstad is a regular starter for the Norwegian national team, and just returned from an unsuccessful stay at Wigan in the Premier League. Fredrik Strømstad is another regular starter for the national team, and just seems to get better every single season. Both are hard workers, though I see Hæstad more are as fighter and a ball winner on the centre of the pitch, while I see Strømstad as someone who will make brilliant runs, especially close to the wings. Start are huge favourites to win the midfield, and if they do, they might just win the match. Annan might be the key to that, if he is truly a great player, that can be the extra grain of sand on the weight.
Atle Roar Håland has been a rock in the central defence for a long time now, and knocked on the door of the national team a few seasons ago. The backs are solid, and new man Santiago is supposed to be a star player. I'm getting scared while writing this. I've never fully trusted Nilsen in goal though, and I'm sure AaFK will get some chances.
Alex Valencia and Stefan Bärlin are the main offensive players, and need to work for the team to get really good results. I'm not sure about Børufsen, and overall Starts attack seem more shaky than usual.
Recent results against Start:
15.10.2005: Start – Aalesund 4-5
19.06.2005: Aalesund – Start 1-2
20.10.2004: Aalesund – Start 1-2 (1.division)
16.06.2004: Start – Aalesund 4-1 (1.division)
That 4-5 match is edged into my memory as one of the finest moments in AaFK and Tippeliga history. Too bad it was one of the last matces Bechara Oliveira played for the club.
I'm afraid AaFK's offence isn't good enough, and that we will struggle to score goals on a very experienced Start defence. I think Olsen and Austnes might have a good day, but I'm worried about Aarøy. Will he finally be able to achieve round in and round out on the highest level. Having Dede Anderson in top form would have made a huge difference.
While we have a great midfield this season, Start's midfield can be insane, and at their best is close to Brann's and Rosenborg's midfields in quality. I can't wait to see Fjørtoft use his magic, and to see what Kihlberg can bring to the team.
Our defence is hurt by not having Nylund, Werni and Jääger fit. Even if the four that are starting are potentially great, having everyone to choose from would certainly have calmed me down. I'm afraid Bahoken will have one of his off days against Valencia, or that Skiri/Halli will be too slow. Brown is awesome, but he can't stop everything.
However, it's the first day of the season. AaFK is home at a packed stadium, and the match against Molde was very convincing. I believe AaFK can do it today, but it's going to be extremely tough.
Last edited by Orange; April 9th, 2007 at 19:52.