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Swedish 1st Division League analysis for the season 2002/2003 by Sami
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A new football-season has kicked off in sweden. 4 rounds has been played and it is now possible to do a kind of "prediction" how the race for the swedish "allsvenskan" championship will evolve. Please bear in mind that the following "analysis" is based on what i've read and seen in media, plus a little bit of guessing and personal feelings and that does not make me a professional columnist. I'm nor any journalist.

But hey, how many "professional" columnists had right about the title last year? (Hammarby won last season and I had infact 10 of 14 first placed teams in right order). So maybe I am a "professional columnist"?

You're free to give me comments about this column, although I will not answer to any rudiness from fanatic-fans. It is just a game, not war, but if you think football = war, don't read this column and move on and watch a cricket-game then.

sincerely Your "columnist" Sami.

1. Örgryte:
This Gothenburg-team has always been number 2 in Gothenburg after the self-claimed rivals IFK Gothenburg. But this season will be a exception. With no losses of key-players, Örgryte will challenge for the title. The former Udinese player Patrik Fredholm has grown to a senior squad-player and will line up at the top with the super talented striker Christian Hemberg. Two players who can score and a very secure defence and midfield means hard times for the opponents and rivals IFK Gothenburg. That makes them champions of Allsvenskan 2002! Keyplayers: Magnus Källander (Mid), Jeffrey Aubynn (Mid, formerly Bayern München) and Christian Hemberg (F).
Prediction: 1st-3rd

2. Djurgården:
"The battle of Stockholm" between Djurgården, AIK & Hammarby is a well-known term in swedish media. The games between these clubs attracts 30000-40000 spectators and are framed with high security arrangements. The matches are always high-risk games. This year Djurgården accomplished to sign the most spectacular and talented player in sweden for the moment: Kim Källström. At 19, Källström is chased by all the big clubs in europe. AC Milan, Juventus etc. The 19 yrs old youth decided to stay for one more season in sweden and will surely leave sweden after this season. Djurgården playes an very offensive football and they expect to reach the european cups. An outsider for the allsvenskan title. The teams only downside is their defence which lacks both players and experience. A failure if they miss the top 5. Keyplayers: Andreas Isaksson (GK), Kim Källström (mid), Abgar Barsom (mid).
Prediction: 1st-5th

3. Helsingborg:
Helsingborg is always among the top 5 and are every year predicted and expected to win a swedish title. With a good mixture of youth & experience the team will certainly fight for the swedish championships. 9 players has represented the swedish national side. Christoffer Andersson (defender and playing in the swedish world cup-team in japan), Jesper Jansson & Alvaro Santos will be in the key roles for the team. Some good results in pre-season has impressed and the first rounds in allsvenskan will prove if the team really is up to the title. Keyplayers. Christoffer Andersson (D), Jesper Jansson (Mid), Hans Eklund (F), Alvaro Santos (F).
Prediction: 1st-3rd

4. Hammarby:
My own favourite team in sweden. "The people's team". A very popular underdog club in sweden. Always hugely popular, but hasn't delivered anything special to the fans, until last season. Hammarby won the allsvenskan trophy for the first time in the clubs history. The win last year was totally unexpected, but with a great first line-up and small number of injuries they made it and took the title. This year will be harder. Although Hammarby has signed good players and strengthened the squad, this season gets tougher. The signing of norwegian national side and midfielder Fredrik Winsnes from Rosenborg and the talented Kennedy Bakircioglu (wanted by Man U & Fenerbahce) could empower Hammarby to another year of victory, but it depends on, if and when their most creative member Bakircioglu will move to a bigger club in europe. Keyplaers: Johan Andersson (Def), Kennedy Bakircioglu (Mid), Andreas Hermansson (F).
Prediction: 4th-6th

5. Elfsborg:
Elfsborg has signed 10-12 of swedens most talented 16-21 yrs old players. In the opening games the youngsters has showed a very mature attitude and it will be interesting to see how this team manages to play this season. The only insecure bit is the young players. Elfsborg lacks experience and it will show after 20 games. If they can keep their talented youngsters and don't sell-out, the yellow and black-dressed team will see bright in the future. Keyplayers: The whole team. A few exceptional talents as Fredrik Stenman 18 yrs (D), Andreas Drugge 19 yrs (F) and Lars Nilsson 20 yrs (F) could make the difference between success and failure.
Prediction 5th-10th

6. IFK Göteborg
The club is building a new team which should win titles in a few years. In the meanwhile they should be happy if they could reach top 5. This year IFK will see their hometown rivals Örgryte be higher placed in the results list. Lots of interesting players to watch for. Fredrik Risp (Def), Martin Ericsson (Mid) are future national team players. Hopefully Daniel Westlin blooms to a allsvenskan player. He's a attacker who has "smashed" in lots of goals in the lower leagues but didn't manage in his first season to play in the first line-up. Keyplayers: Fredrik Risp (Def)& Gustaf Andersson (F).
Prediction: 4th-7th

7. AIK:
Poor results & turbulence at pre-season could influence AIK's whole season. AIK has a impressive player material. The team will get better as they get to play a few games. Many experts had AIK as favouritesboth last year and this year, but that was until problems with injuries and other internal quarrels came in the picture. The coach Olle Nordin has handed over the responsibility due to personal problems to his assistant Peter Larsson for the rest of the season. Peter Larsson, a former Ajax-player (1987-1991) can be the man who will lead AIK for further glory, maybe not this season, more probably the following season. Watch out for AIK the coming seasons. Keyplayer: Andreas Alm, Andreas Andersson
Prediction: 5th-8th

8. Landskrona:
The newly promoted team that has some chance to get a respectable place in the league. Almost every expert has appointed Landskrona to be relegated after only one season in allsvenskan. But his team will prove them wrong. Although it is a club with small economical resources there is a genuine club feeling in Landskrona, almost like Chievo in Italy. Lots of technical, probably even the best players in allsvenskan will provide lots of upsets to the bigger clubs. Talent and experience goes hand in hand in Landskrona. Keyplayers: The whole team, the teamplay is their key for survival in allsvenskan.
Prediction: 6th-10th

9. Örebro SK:
The club went almost bankrupt and with no fundings to this year, they had to sell their best players Johan Paulsson (13 goals last season) and Niklas Skoog. But the sellings doesn't seem to bother them. Instead a promising youngster Jon Lundblad has showed exceptional good form in pre-season. Örebro is a team with experience and youth mended together in a beautiful symbiosis. It's a team which is hard to predict, as they can play terrificly good football 1 or 3 games in a row, and play horribly the next 2 games. This year they seem much more stable. Keyplayers: Jon Lundblad (F), the kenyans Maruti and Oyuga (F), Per Gawelin (Mid & playmaker) and Thomas Andersson (Def).
Prediction: 7th-10th

10. IFK Norrköping:
Norrköping, nicknamed "Peking", were very close to be relegated last season. This classic allsvenskan-team saved themselves by beating the smalltown club Mjällby in the relegation/promotion playoffs. This year they've learned the lesson and have signed 4 very interesting players. Issa Mohammed, a irrational striker from Ghana will bring some scoring power and the defender Filip Apelstav will make the defence more secure. Unfortunately the defence is a bit slow. Norrköping is a team which could be challenging the top 3 or could failure horribly. I believe in Norrköping this year. A 7th place isn't impossible for them to reach, but a 10th place is more likely. Keyplayers: Balazs Raboczki (GK), Thomas Olsson (Mid), Jonas Wallerstedt (F)
Prediction: 6th-8th

11. Malmö FF:
There are high-hopes for Malmö already this year. I feel that all Malmö-fans will have to wait for the glory for further 2-3 years. After Malmö sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Ajax for approx £ 7,000 000 they signed the well-merited Niklas Skoog to "deliver the goods". Skoog has played well, but he's not any Zlatan. Malmö's players needs a few more years to develop before they can talk about winning any titles. Malmö is the richest club in sweden.
Prediction: 8th-12th

12. Kalmar FF:
Kalmar will just stay clear of relegation. A good team, but their lacking quality in the defence. At home Kalmar will snatch points from the other teams, but will have hard to keep up with the high pace at away games. Keyplayers: Petter Wastå (GK), Lasse Johansson (Mid) and Daniel Mobaeck (F).
Prediction: 10th-14th

13. Halmstad:
New coach (Jonas Thern, swedish ´94 world cup-member) has a tough challenge. After Halmstad lost striker Stefan Selakovic to Heerenveen (Holland) there is no natural striker in the troop. Instead Jonas brought with him two players from swedish division 2 (3rd league in sweden after Allsvenskan and Superallsvenskan). That don't impress on anyone! Keyplayers: Petter Hansson (allrounder, d, m and f)
Prediction: 10th-13th

14. GIF Sundsvall:
2nd straight year in allsvenskan. No spectacular or big signings means that this northly situated team has to struggle for not being relegated. It's positive that not all swedish clubs come from Stockholm or the Gothenburg -area. Sundsvall will get a lot of sympathy for making an effort for the football in the northern regions of sweden. Unfortunately, I don't believe that's enough for them to stay in allsvenskan. But I still hope that i'm wrong with this prediction. The bad results at away last year shouldn't be repeated this season (only 1 win away) if they want to play further in allsvenskan. Keyplayers: Fredik Sundfors (GK), Cain Dotson (F).
Prediction: 13th-14th