Thursday, May 27, 2010

Work in progress at Strandvallen - will there be a Cup game?

Ze French Minks newest photos of the work at Strandvallen:

Next game which is supposed to be played at Strandvallen is the Cup-game towards Malmö FF. The game will probably be played the 4th of July, which is the last date to play on. An alternative would have been the saturday before, the 3rd of July. But since Juan Robledo will wed his Sofia that day we suppose that is not the choice of Mjällby.
Will there be time to play at Strandvallen?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mjällby – Åtvidaberg 1-2 – Another 3 points

Last game of the short ”season” before the strange summer break between the two newcomers of Allsvenskan. Mjällby, who won Superettan 2009 convincingly, has made a splendid season so far, while last year’s Superettan-second, Åtvidaberg has done less good. Both considered freshmen by the so called experts, with nothing to do in the first league, the two teams has done very different in the 2010 Allsvenskan.

Mjällby took another full pot of points at Kopparvallen and goes into the “halftime” at forth place. A really good result for any team and something very special for a team forecasted to go straight down again, which comes from a little fisher village on the peninsula of Listerlandet.

Considered the difficult economical situation of a small club without big sponsors, the board has done if not miracles, very clever casting. The idea has been to find the best guys of the area and bring home local players as well. This year’s Maif consist of a lot of them. Some has their roots in Mjällby AIF and others are next-door boys, like Tobias Grahn (Rödeby) and Jesper Westerberg (Arkelstorp). MAIFs eleven of 2010 consists of 3 players from the club, 2 players from Sölvesborg and another 3 within an area of 90 kilometers. To that is added a Kenyan, a Dutch and a guy from Chile. Seen to the bench we can add another bunch of home boys.

Well, anyway. The last game of the “season” was not the best ever seen. Partly expected since Åtvidaberg – despite a recovery at the end - before the game was second last of the league (where they remained), and this fact could bring down the tempo for Mjällby as well. And initially it did. But still Mjällby dominated the game and didn´t let the home team score one goal. No, actually it was Mjällby themselves who scored all the 3 goals of the 1 - 2 game!

The first goal was made by the head of Marcus Ekenberg. The captain who has not been at his best since he last scored (Örebro the 29nd March) and to that also injured for the first time of his career, seemed to be back in form. And as we know Mr. Ekenberg, that bedded for some more goals from him. But even if he was back in form he scored no more that night.

The second goal was also scored by Mjällby, but a little surprisingly in the wrong cage behind an astonished Mattias Asper. As very often auto goals are very beautiful and so was this one scored by Baker Patrik Rosengren. 1 – 1 was in no way fair and brought Mjällby up hills once more to chase another goal if they wanted to bring home all the 3 points. Which they clearly wanted.

They managed finally when the 1 – 2 stated the games result. An action from the couple Grahn - El Kabir, where El Kabir ice cold put his fifth goal of the season.

As said, not the best game ever. But Mjällby still impressed by keeping their focus after the fantastic win at home with Malmö FF and didn´t got fooled to play the game of a poorer team.

If we talk a little of the opponents, they might be desperate in their chase for points, but that doesn´t allow them to act as brutally as they did. There was a lot of pushing down their players, and even if Ekenberg normally still can play with 3 men hanging on him, if you sidle tackle him in the air, even he can get injured. And yes, Sweden was playing the semifinals in the World Cup of Hockey at the same time, but that should not allow hockey tackling’s on a football field (Moberg). Impress did Åtvidabergs veteran Christian Bergström, but not even his dangerous free kicks did any harm.

Now Mjällby has 24 points at 14 games and goes to the World Cup break on 4th place, after incredible Helsingborg, niceplaying Malmö and Örebro, passing Elfsborg again.

The “autumn season” starts the 17th of July at home with Brommapojkarna (probably without their success loan John Guidetti). Before that Mjällby has another game to play – the Swedish Cup. It will probably take place the 4th of July and Mjällby has got the game home against – Malmö FF, again! Though there is not much hope the game will be played at Strandvallen (where Malmö has never won) since the pitch right now is a big building place.

Åtvidabergs FF–Mjällby AIF 1–2 (0–1)
Goals: 0–1 (44) Marcus Ekenberg, 1–1 (60) auto goal, 1–2 (71) Moestafa El Kabir,
Yellow cards: Åtvidaberg: Jesper Arvidsson, Erik Moberg, Johan Niklasson, Etuwe Prince Eboagwu. Mjällby: Jesper Westerberg (does not play the Newt game).
Referee: Daniel Stålhammar,.
Spectators: 2 416.
Mjällby: Mattias Asper – Jesper Westerberg, Juan Robledo, Patrik Rosengren, Robin Cederberg – Daniel Nilsson (78), Patrick Osiako, Tobias Grahn (88), David Löfquist – Marcus Ekenberg, Moestafa El Kabir (90). Bench: Daniel Nicklasson (78), Emanuel Svensson (88), Johan Svensson (90), Daniel Ivanovski , Adam Berner, William Leandersson, Simon Svensson (gk).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mjällby AIF 4 - 2 Malmö FF

Malmö FF had not won in Strandvallen against MAIF since a century or so ago, and they could not change that fact today either.
Difficult conditions today, with eastern wind and small rain, soaking grass, players and public (all 7125 of us).

Mjällby started the game with a lot of pressure, keeping Malmö pretty much in their half-pitch for a good half of the period.
The first goal came quickly, a free kick on the left some meters after the central line, towards Robledo at the away pole (his defender couldn't keep up on several occasions, it may have to do with being 20cm shorter), who heads it back to the 1st pole, where Musse Pigg is all alone, and just has to push it in. 1-0 (11').
Malmö pushes, but mostly long balls for Bagarn and Robledo, back to the sender. They loose a ball in the middle to Eken, who instantaneously launches Musse again in depth, no off-side, and wins his one-on-one with the Malmö keeper. 2-0 (22').
Just before the break, Grahn brings the ball to the right side all the way to the back line, turns back and centers, Eken is not in position to shoot but deviates towards the 2nd pole to Löken who is all alone there, almost exactly the same position as El Kabir for the 1st goal. 3-0 (44')

3-0 at the break, Malmö FF is stunned. For a team claiming to be in the fight for gold this season, against a team who's only supposed to stay in Allsvenska, it's borderline humiliating. The shots on goal count is 6-1, a good summary of the 1st half.
I wouldn't have wanted to be in Malmö's changing room at half-time, they came back with a completely different spirit. The higher tempo paid off quickly, while Mjällby's defense was playing a little easy maybe. 1st goal a copy of Musse's second (51'). 2nd goal on a corner kick, some confusion in front of the goal, but the ball ands up in the net.
From that point on Mjällby went back to playing a very safe defense, kept a lot of pressure in the middle, and that was more or less the end of it for Malmö, who went back to shotting long ball to Bagarn and Robledo.

At the end of the game both Löken and Manne had shots in almost the same position, a little left at the entrance of the 11m zone. Manne's shot passed right by the pole, and Löken's was deviated by Malmö keeper. It could have been 5-2, but more importantly it could have killed the game.
At the 92nd minute, Nicklasson got a ball behind the middle line (not offside), brought it all the way up and shot, again from the left side, and he didn't miss. 4-2. Game over.

Malmö's trainer was quite disappointed, quoting his team's performance in the 1st period as their worst period of the year. I would add that the 2nd period was better for about 15 minutes. Good play in the middle, but not much in the front, very stereotyped longballs in the center.
Like Helsingborg, Malmö scored on their 2 dangerous occasions (only one for HIF). The difference this time is that Mjällby had already made 3 goals.

Mr Referee was ok.

I will give a thumbs up to the Malmö FF supporters, who were pushing their team all the way to the end in a good spirit. Put a lot of ambiance in the stadium, and fairly and quietly admitted their team was not the better one today.

I will not go through all Mjällby players one by one, just say this: I liked Mjällby's play-style today. They kept a lot of pressure on Malmö in the middle and front, who had a very hard time bringing up the ball. They played the game that we have had most problem with, and when it's us doing it the other team has problem too. Yes it takes a lot of running, but we intercepted about as many passes as Malmö did, balls that we could then bring up and do something with. We were not just defending 45 minutes to protect the score, but still pushing up to make more goals.
That's the Mjällby I want to see more of. That's the Mjällby that completely deserves their 4th place of the league. Keep that style and we can climb some positions. Who want's to see MAIF in Champions' or Europa League in 2011? Sign me up.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Want some Mjällby-grass at home?

Yesterday Tuesday, Mjällby AIF announced that after Saturdays match at home with Malmö FF - the last game ever at Strandvallens classic lawn - there will be an opportunity to buy you a bit of lawn home.

After the game Mjällby provide the opportunity to buy your own part of Strandvallens grass for 100 SEK a tuft.

After the break of the summer (see below) Strandvallen will have a new improved pitch.

The pitch, which was strongly criticized by national player Anders Svensson - he called it a swamp and threatened to stop playing football - after Sundays game when Svenssons´ Elfsborg lost to Mjällby with 2 - 0, is in fact in a poor shape. Still this football pitch, located in south Sweden, has always been considered one of the best. But this year’s early start of Allsvenskan together with the longest winter for a very long time has not helped to keep the pitches in a good shape. Still Strandvallen cannot be one of the worst. We have seen the premiere at the national arena of Råsunda´s brownish so called grass - painted with some green color to make it look real! This pitch has though already been replaced. Other big Stockholm team Djurgården and their Olympic stadium was another not-favorite. And probably the worst seen - most south of Sweden - Trelleborg and Vångavallens kind of farming field.

We notice that the federation has swung in the question. Maybe it was not such a good idea to start the season this early. Which also mean we will not see any Allsvenskan football for two months due to the break for the World Cup. Also, between 17th of May and 11th of June, there will be no football at all at high level since the Swedish players has to prepare to watch the World Cup, or something. The finals of the World Cup takes place the 11th of July and Allsvenskan restarts the 18th of July - another week without football. It is good though that the federation has considered to give us matches a bit into November. Or maybe not. November is normally not the nicest month to watch football live in Sweden.

Mjällby club president Jörgen Martinsson says the club appreciates the publicity Anders Svensson has given the pitch and offers to donate him a good patch of pitch to train on.

So take your chance you football supporters who can to bring home an own little piece of Strandvallen!

For the (last) game on Saturday with Malmö FF all Malmö´s tickets as well as the seats are sold out. Mjällby, aiming for a record, hopes to beat the old record of 8438 spectators at Strandvallen. Still today’s stadium maximum is 7000 people after more places has been changed into seats instead of standing areas. Mjällby starts today to build a new provisional stand as a complement and hope to get them approved before the game.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mjällby AIF - IF Elfsborg 2-0 or Tobias Grahn 2, Anders Svensson 0

Mjällby can be happy tonight with 3 new points because this game is a copy of Mjällby -Helsingborg lost 0-1 the 26th of April. Mjällby is this time the winner. Mjällby scored just after the start of the second half because Elfsborg players were still eating their orange. The rest of the game is everybody behind during the other 44 minutes. Helsingborg did the same with succes. Then, the second goal came while Elfsborg was pushing.

After 3 poor games, Trelleborg away, IFK Göteborg home, and Djrgården away, Mjällby players have shown mental ressources to win this game. Witout Ekenberg, El Kabir and Gitselov, the attacker were David Löfquist and Adam Berner.

Some game fact:

- Denni Avdic went out after 11 minutes because he had vision problem after a shock with Mattias Asper. Can we consider that substition as a turn of the game ?
Yes. Clearly. With Denni Avdic the game would have not been the same. The twins of Sasa Simonic has scored 9 goals since the Allsvenskan start and is the leader of the top scorer.

- Why the referee did not give a yellow card to Denni Avdic when he shot in the ball while the game was stopped for off side ?
What hapend to El Kabir last week - yellow card for same situation - did not happend this time. It seems that the rules are different depending the man in black. I think the referee this time had the right decision. The time where there was only one ball in the field was in the 80´s .

- Did Robledo get a yellow ?
No, not this time but Rosengren got one, the second of the season. He will be there against Malmö FF.

- Who win the game of the stars, Tobias Grahn or Anders Svensson ?
Tobias Grahn wan without discussion his confrontation with the experienced Anders Svensson. Anders Svensson lost several ball in second half while Tobias Grahn scored a game like Robben could have done. Grahn has been a leader today, motivating his colleagues, fighting always without agressivity. If he continue like that he will not pass the sumer in Sweden.

- Does the referee should have given a penalty for a hand of Elfsborg player on the 18 m ?
Well, difficult to say. Rosengren provoque a penalty against IFK Göteborg with a hand. This time, the referee says no penalty. One more time, different approach...

- An Elfsborg player save a ball on the line ater a Grahn´s head. Was it goal ?
Mjällby did not protest. So probably no goal.

- Why no journalist ask question during the press conference ?
Because .... because.... they go to see in private the coach after the press conference. While in the other country there is a lot of questions, here there is nothing. Strange...

- How many points need Mjällby to stay in Allsvenskan ?
I had seen that 26 points were ok but the 30 points limit will be better. 12 points more to catch.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Trelleborg 2 - 1 Mjällby

We should never have lost this game against the last of the league.

A header early on by Musse Pigg, on the far pole and out. The Trelleborg keeper had not moved.
The first goal for Trelleborg was probably scored by the wind: the left defender kicks a center after a through in, the ball goes through the defense, a lot of fighting there but nobody actually touches it, and then it rollls against the pole and bumps in.
Equalization on a free-kick by Löken, bent right in the close corner. I think the 3-man wall actually disturbed the keeper (hiding the ball's trajectory) more than it helped.
The 2nd goal on a doubtful action. A Trelleborg player in the middle did not touch the ball, but he was in the middle of everything and from a very obvious offside position. On a center from the right he lets go the ball to Adelstam behind him who's all alone, the defense being busy covering the off-side guy.

A far kick at the end by Trelleborg hit the upper bar and out.

Asper a little passive on the 1st goal.
Westerberg made more mistakes than usually. The 2nd goal starts from him.
Bagarn and Cederberg also more mistakes than usual.
Ivan (central defense instead of Robledo suspended) made an even game.
Our midfield (Osiako, Grahn and Johan Svensson) is too slow, and loosing soo (too) many balls. The recipe has been the same for the past 4 games, opposite middle keeps the pressure, you wait for like the 5th pass and then you get the ball. When the opposite is happening, we let them bring up the ball until right outside the zone and then make a foul giving a free-kick. We are too passive in the middle.
Musse pigg not a great game, but some good occasions. The defenses are not giving him any space. And he's taking a lot of beating (much more than he manages to deal), I believe on purpose to make him kose his nerves.
Löken ok in the first half, then he disappeared (except for the 2 free-kicks of which one became a goal).
Replacers: Berner did not get much space either, and it's not easy to run after a ball when you cannot have a clue where the ball is gonna go next (bumpy field).
Manne made a good entrance chasing.
Nicklasson too short to really show he was there (in at 89').

Mr Referee was average. Yes Musse Pigg is playing tough, but he'd never go away with kicking someone (standing) in the back; apprently it's ok that he gets this treatment, which I disagree with. I also disagree that a guy who's 2m offside from the start and stays there disturbing both defense and keeper, but doesn't touch the ball, is not participating in the action. Disturbing is participating. 2 situations like that.
Most half bad things were ruled against us, while trelleborg did get away with a lot worse (Adelstam could have got at least 3 yellows).

The Trelleborg pitch was also quite a disaster. Not quite as bad as Olympiastadion (Djurgården), which was not even green, but very uneven.

So we continue to go down in the ranking, still 6th but we are not taking many points.
The game schedule is crazy, with a game every 3 days, you can see the players are tired. Trelleborg has almost a whole team injured. Stupid world cup.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Mjällby AIF - IFK Göteborg 0-0: thank you Mr Asper.

Mjällby got only 1 point this Monday evening against one of the favorit team of Allsvenskan 2010.

Four days after the dispointing game with Djurgården lost 1-0 in the last 10 minutes, Mjällby had a good opportunity to catch the 3 rd place.

Unfortunatly, Marcus Ekenberg went out after only 18 minutes. And without already El Kabir, Gitselov, and Ekenberg, the front attack was naked. David Löfquist tried to do his best with Adam Berner - surprised to play more than 15 minutes.

13th minute: Penalty for Göteborg due to a hand from Patrick Rosengren and a fantastic Asper stopped it. On the following corner, the ball went in but the referee didn´t see it.

During the press conference, Mattias Asper talked about a retroactive point compare to last Thursday game.

So after MAIF - Kalmar 0-0, MAIF-Helsingbrog 0-1 and now MAIF IFK Götebrog, it´s the 3rd game without goal. The ratio price of the place versus the number of goal starts to increase drastically. There was still 5526 people tonight anyway.

Ball %
MAIF 43%
IFK 57 %

Shot total

Shot on goal

The next game is on Thursday in Trelleborg who is in very critical situation and then next Sunday, new game home with Elfsborg.

Mjällby is tired, physically and mentaly. Robledo got a new yellow and will not be there Thursday. El Kabir should be back but it´s not confirmed. Gitselov and Ekenberg should not be there.

Tobias Grahn did a better second half showing more speed. It´s may be a good sign that the team will restart to have a better physic condition.

According to the newspaper of the game, 26 points are needed to staty in Allsvenskan. 11 more to catch !

After 10 games

Helsingborg 26 points
Malmö FF 23 points
Örebrog 18 points
Elfsborg 16 points
Mjällby 15 points