It is an action packed Tuesday in the Veikkausliiga with three big games; VPS vs HJK, Ilves vs FC Honka and FC Inter vs RoPS
VPS vs HJK 18:30 Elisa Arena, Vaasa
Bethard odds: 1.45 – 4.30 – 6.75
Here are two teams that play very similar football especially now as former VPS assistant coach Jani Sarajärvi is now the assistant coach of HJK. Both want to play with ball control so it will be interesting to see who gets it in this game as neither team is playing at their level yet. VPS is still looking for their first win and they are with their 4 points from 5 games on 10th position. HJK has failed to win in their last five games but still they are 4th with their 10 points from 7 games.
HJK has won the last five meetings between the teams including all the games last season with a goal difference of 8-1.
VPS team news
VPS is still without a win in their opening five games so far but at the same time they have only lost once (Opening match to FC Inter 1-2). VPS has not been able to play a good 90 minutes yet. In each game they give themselves chances to win but just cannot hold on. This happened also in their last game against FC Lahti where they played a poor first half but still led 0-1. In the end Lahti came back with one long shot.
VPS in their own preview seems to be very confident about this match and they hope to take the lead again but this time also keep it. VPS will still miss Kujanpää, Engström and Lähde but new signing, Cameroonian Ebwelle might make his debut.
HJK team news
HJK has been playing below expectations (way below). They changed their playing style to look like how VPS actually plays, but so far the changes have not been working. Defensively they let in too many goals and offensively it is not working at all. HJK just is not creating almost any chances against good defensive teams. The game looked a bit better against Ilves in their last game as they kept Ilves out of offensive chances, but still their own offense did not appear.
HJK will miss from this game still defender Obilor, forward Riski and winger Mensah. All are important players and HJK will miss them but still they have enough depth in the team to cover for them.
This should be another low scoring game as both have struggled offensively. Under 1.5 goals is available at Bethard with 2.70 odds . Another pick is HJK to win with 1.86. They looked better in the Ilves game, maybe they are coming back.
Ilves vs FC Honka 18:30 Tammelan stadion, Tampere
Bethard odds: 2.60 – 3.00 – 2.90
This will be the first match this season at the Tammela stadium which is Ilves´s main home stadium.
This is the big match in the round between two of the teams who have been considered as HJK´s main challengers at the beginning of the season. Now with HJK struggling, even the title is not out of the question for these two. Ilves though has the advantage as they have started the season better. They knocked out Honka from the Finnish Cup and are yet to lose a game all year 2019. Ilves is currently 3rd with 11 points and Honka is 6th two points behind.
Honka though was better last season beating Ilves twice with one match in Tampere ending 3-3.
Ilves team news
Ilves is not only undefeated in the league this season, they are also yet to concede a goal. They have kept their goal without conceding for 450 minutes. This is not just because their good goalkeeper Hilander but also due to their organised team defense. Ilves has by far their “team play” at the highest level so far of all the teams in the Veikkausliiga. They have their own offensive issues as for instance against HJK, they were unable to create chances. In their five matches they have only managed to score 4 goals. They are lacking a proper offensive threat. So far their midfielders Ala-Myllymäki and Tendeng are carrying them offensively.
Ilves will miss from this match Naatan Skyttä, Mikael Almén, Matias Ojala, Ilari Mettälä and Samuel Afum. They are lacking a bit of depth and they could use Ojala, Mettälä and Afum but still they have played well even without them.
Honka team news
FC Honka has had some good games and they have had some bad games. They beat with good perfomance KuPS and RoPS. They also beat FC Inter but that was mainly Inter´s poor defense. The losses to IFK Mariehamn and HIFK though showed their weaknessess. Without Gideon Baah in defense, they back four is vulnerable. Especially against a high pressing game that HIFK showed. Ilves could do the same here. Offensively Honka is dangerous with especially Borjas Martin on fire scoring 5 goals in their 5 matches.
Honka has some notable missing players with Gideon Baah, Luis Silva and Jonas Levänen for sure. Demba Savage, Robert Ivanov and Lucas Kauffmann are also doubts.
This is a tight game between two good teams but Ilves has the better defensive record so they have the edge. Ilves draw no bet is the main pick.
FC Inter vs RoPS 18:30 Veritas Stadion, Turku
Bethard odds: 1.83 – 3.40 – 4.50
Inter and RoPS both need a win here. They have similar records 2-1-3 from their opening six games and it has not been the start that neither team wanted. RoPS rarely gets anything from this away match but last season they did earn two draws with Inter winning in Rovaniemi. RoPS has only won once in Turku in the last 21 meetings.
Inter team news
FC Inter has not played badly this season but still they lost to HJK, SJK and Honka. All top teams but their defense was lacking in those games. Offensively they have scored 11 goals which is the 3rd best recored in the league. Their last game was very encouraging though where they beat HJK easily 4-1. They really fought hard for those points and they were definitely the better team. RoPS though might not give that many chances though as HJK did.
The HJK win though gave the team some injuries as Luciano Balbi will be out. They will also miss Aleksi Paananen, Albion Ademi, Elias Mastokangas, Hanson Boakai and Eero Tamminen.
RoPS team news
RoPS did not start their season well but now they have gotten back their goalkeeper Reguero who immediately brought calmness and leadership to the defense and they beat HIFK 1-0. They also got back Aleksandr Kokko and if he can get into form, they will have an offensive threat who can dominate in this league. The injuries have been problematic for RoPS this season. The team has changed from last season and even though they play with the same way, it is not as good as last season.
RoPS will miss Sergio Llamas and Tarik Kada from this match.
This is another tight game. With RoPS improving defensively, they are difficult to beat. A draw is the most likely result.