Eliteserien Clubs as Premier League Clubs
The Eliteserien season is almost upon us after a long wait, and the excitement is building as more and more players are joining into the ESNFantasy game. This includes experienced players that know a good bit about the league, players who know something about the league but haven’t played the fantasy game, and players that have no idea what the league is about. What all these players have in common though most times, however, is that they know a thing or two about the Premier League! Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to compare the teams of this league to the teams of Eliteserien, as that can give a bit of a clearer picture of what to expect and where value to be found. This article can hopefully help you somewhat of an understanding of the Norwegian league and prepare you for the season. Also, thanks to @Heskibo_ESN for inspiration when it comes to this particular way of comparing teams from different leagues.
Alright, enough talking, let’s get to it!
Molde: Manchester City
With arguably one of the best financial situations and the strongest overall squad in the league, Molde draws many comparisons to City. This especially rings true when it comes to the plethora of options that gaffer Erling Moe has when choosing his preferred XI every week. Not unlike Guardiola’s notorious “Pep-Roulette”, “Moe-Roulette” became a known thing last season, so do not be surprised if some of the high-profile picks get a rest or a sub appearance every now and then. Still, they are well worth investing in, as they are likely to bring good returns. You just have to get lucky.
One of the more exciting sides this season. Vålerenga have really strengthened their team, and they look likely to tear it up in the league with an exciting looking attack and a solid defense. I would not be surprised if we find the top goal scorer of this campaign in their team. They have exciting players in pretty much all parts of the squad, from attacking fullbacks, to creative midfielders and goalscorers. An all-around solid looking team, that much like Liverpool always will look to challenge the top teams for the title. If Molde somehow slip up during the season, this could be the time Vålerenga step up and “take the cake” as we say in good ol’ Norwegian.
If there is team in Eliteserien that is similar to Leicester, it surely is Bodø/Glimt. They have been the underdog the last two seasons, with most people underestimating their chances. Both times they have surprised us with their incredible football, finishing 2nd in the 2019 season, and then 1st last season. A big reason most people wrote B/G off was them losing their key players before the season, and this season is no different, with them having sold their top scorer and his assist providers. Are we underestimating them wrongly again? Their team is still decent, so we might be surprised for the 3rd time.
Rosenborg: Manchester United
Much like United, being described as a sleeping giant can also fit Rosenborg. They have been a powerhouse in Norwegian football for decades, but the last couple of seasons have been disappointing, also when it comes to fantasy. All things have pointed to them turning it around a couple of times, but it just hasn’t happened yet. Still, no reason to not be optimistic for them this season in the same way as before earlier seasons, as they have every opportunity to have a great season with a very solid squad, and a reputation to keep up. They should by all means be up there fighting with the big dogs.
Odd: West Ham
A good old Eliteserien club, Odd. And don’t get put off by their name if you’re and English speaker. They are a club that are regularly grinding out good finishes in the top division, without quite having enough to win it all. This season looks likely to be the same this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Odd have a few good clean sheet-getters and high scorers in their team during the campaign. The tricky thing will be to know who that will be and when to get them, but I expect that to become clear after a while. Maybe this is the season where Odd really turn up?
Viking: Tottenham Hotspur
Talking about team names, Viking must be one of the coolest ones. The Stavanger based club, like Tottenham, have a proficient strike-force to count on, and Vikings attack just recently got stronger with the addition of Zlatko Tripic, who has come back to the team after a brief spell abroad. Viking play attractive and direct football, which benefits their talisman, Veton Berisha. If he keeps his scoring form from last season up, I can see Viking getting a very solid top half finish this season. Don’t expect too many clean sheets from them though.
A club that has many past merits to its name, but the last couple of seasons can be seen as a disappointment compared to where the fans expect the club to be in the table. Like Arsenal, Brann traditionally should be a top 6 club, but seem to find themselves stuck midtable. Something just isn’t gelling for them, and they are underperforming compared to what is expected from big town club like them. Lacking recruitment is partly at fault for this, and unstable managerial situations. This, however, has opened up the space for young talent to step up, which can be an important factor for Brann to turn things around this season.
The first thought I had when finding a club that was similar to Kristiansund, was 2016-17 Everton when Lukaku was banging in goals for fun. An otherwise mid-table side bolstered by a high-quality striker which significantly improved their performance. Amahl Pellegrino was that striker for Kristiansund last season, netting 25 goals and providing 4 assists. He has now left the club, which significantly worsens the clubs’ prospects for the season. They still have some quality players left, but they will need to really step it up if Kristiansund should want to keep the momentum going. Will be interesting to see how they react for sure.
Stabæk looks likely to be finding themselves in the middle of the pack this season. Not great not awful. Like Wolves this season, Stabæk can come up with moments of brilliance at times, while at other times be around average. Which side of the spectrum they will be on this season, will likely depend on their attacking ability, as that has been their weak point earlier. One thing they do have going for them is their defensive skill, which is good for a mid-table side. They finished on a solid 9 clean sheets last season. Stabæk have also further strengthened their backline lately, with some quality signings during pre-season. Still, I feel like predicting how they will do this season is hard, and we will just have to see how they perform.
Haugesund: Aston Villa
Haugesund, like Aston Villa, have the potential to be an exciting team this season. On paper they have solid players in every position, and there could be some good value to be found. There is still some barriers that need to be broken for them to be able to finish higher than mid-table though. Both goals scored per match (1.30) and goals conceded per match (1.70) has to be severely improved if they want to get higher up the table. If their main players perform like they did at times last season for an extended period of time, things can start to look good for Haugesund.
Lillestrøm is a team that most are used to having in the top division. It therefore was a bit of a shock when they went down to the second tier last season for the first time in 45 years. Now they are back, and ready to make an impression on the league with an exciting looking team that has a point to prove. They have recruited well in pre-season, bringing in proven players well known to the league. The connection to Southampton for me is their predicted league position, and that they have a squad with players that have very high potential ceiling in most positions. It remains to be seen if they are ready to tackle the level of Eliteserien compared to OBOS-ligaen, which can be a bit of a step up. Given, however, the level of some of the players they have, I can see them tacking it very well, and them being a force to be reckoned with this season.
Sarpsborg 08: Brighton
The first thing I think of when I hear Sarpsborg is defense. They always have some solid defenders to choose from, and last season they provided 10 clean sheets, which was the joint most that year (4-way tie with VIF, RBK and Sandefjord). This season shouldn’t be any different, and this is why I’ll compare them to Brighton. Both are teams you wouldn’t think could keep many clean sheets, but they still seem to do somehow. You have your “Dunk’s” and your “Ryan’s” to choose from, aswell as some good attackers that might emerge across the season. All in all, this could be an interesting side to invest in once we have an overview over how they perform.
Sandefjord was a surprise team last season, and they performed way better than many expected of them. This was largely due to excellent management from their gaffer Marti Cifuentes, who turned an average side into a well-performing one that stayed up despite them being predicted to finish last. This season, however, they are without him, and I can see this having a big impact on their performances. The squad at hand has not changed much, and they have a lot to prove coming into a new season. A bit like Fulham, they don’t necessarily have a lot of high-profile players to rely on, but rather the sum of the squad depth. This might be enough, but there is a chance that it’s not. It will be interesting to see how they perform, and if they can recreate some of the magic from last season.
Another staple of Norwegian football, Tromsø is a team that it just feels “wrong” when they aren’t in the top division. Like Leeds, that finally got back to the first tier after a long hiatus down in the divisions this year, and it is a welcome sight to see. The question remains if they are ready for what they will be facing back in the good company. They have a young squad, and perhaps the lack of experience could be a thing making it difficult for them. Not to take anything away from them though, as the available players are of good quality and have potential to take the league by storm. It will be really interesting to see how they adapt to the league, and if they have what it takes to stay up for a while.
Perhaps one of the last “proper” Norwegian clubs around at the moment. Grassroot, low budget and simple but effective football. Much like Burnley really, who many will call a “proper English club” for the same reasons. This, however, while a noble strategy, could make it difficult for Mjøndalen to keep their place in the top division for much longer than this season. The focus on homegrown talent and lack of new recruitment has kept the squad from improving much from last season, and after scraping a place after playoffs, I can see them struggling this season. It will be a fight for survival, and the well-known “Ælv Classico” matches vs town rival Strømsgodset will be extra important this season. Will be interesting to see if they can manage to stay up again (Keep in mind that I’m a Strømsgodset supporter haha…)
Speaking of relegation. I’m not that optimistic before this season to be honest with you (again, supporter). Management in disarray, season-ending injury to the talismanic striker that pretty much kept us up last time around, and uncertainty over who will take on the mantel after him. Sounds pretty grim right? It’s not all doom and gloom though thankfully. We still have our two best creative players in Johan Hove and Mikkel Maigaard in the side, and a quality keeper in Myhra. How these and the other teammates react to the circumstances will set the course for the season and decide if we have a chance stay up or not. Strømsgodset some had decent spells last season, and like Newcastle, they can turn things around despite all the negative signs, if they get it right and have some luck along the way.
So there you have it, all 16 teams have now been compared and described, and I hope it was helpful to you! If you have any more uncertainties when it comes to the league, questions regarding players, or just general questions about ESNFantasy, feel free to drop me a DM over on Twitter @dstrm97. Hope you are as excited as me for the new season! Good luck and have fun!