Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mjällby – Kalmar 1 – 0

Mjällby are back on track after the two first games without points as well as goals. The Saturday afternoon’s game with Kalmar left a great feeling of relief after the first three points and one goal at a sunny, but rather cold, Strandvallen.

But first, a little summary of the season so far. Ze French Minks apologize for having missed the season starting, even though two games already have been played. We have all been a little busy with the mink breeding and other stuff in life. And to our defense we can state the fact that also Mjällby AIF, or at least some of the players, also had not noticed – until now – that the season actually had started.

A little resume of the two games played: Mjällby started the season with a 0 -1 loss at home with vice champions of last year, Helsingborg. As the seasons first games often are, nor was this one very exiting. Since HIF was the only team who beat Mjällby in both games last year, as well as in the cup, we didn’t expect too much. On the other hand, just the fact that everything can happen in the season’s first game and Mjällby played home gave us some hope. But really. No, the same thing happened again. But I must say I think HIF is really boring to see. They do not play any entertaining football and nor the players nor the supporters can claim to have a winning way. Actually this time it was worse than that since the game was delayed due to a fight where some of the HIF supporters beat up some police. They had also started with destroying MAIFs tifo before the game. What can we say?

The second game was away with AIK. An AIK that surprisingly “lost” two points to the newcomer last year in the opening game. A draw that MAIF probably had been very happy for before the game, while it must had been a big disappointment afterwards. This year Mjällby could not surprise the bigger team even if the guests were dominating the first part of the game. Then something happened. Within one minute AIK scored two goals just before half time and Mjällby was under the ice. They didn’t manage to recover and took yet another goal. Defeat 3 – 0. Well…

Back to today’s game. Historically Mjällby has never won with Kalmar in Allsvenskan. That does not say so much though. Last year they played two draws and before that we have to go 25 years back, to find the team from Lister in Allsvenskan, which makes it difficult to compare.

Coach Peter Swärdh had changed the team since last. Daniel Nilsson was back from injury and took back his place on the inner midfield. That put Pavel Zavadil on the left, while Tobias Grahn and David Löfquist kept their places in the middle and the right. Mattias Asper was obviously at his place in the goal and the wing defenders where the same as usual; William Leandersson on the left and Jesper Westerberg on the right. Robin Cederberg started on the bench after too many individual mistakes in the two first games, especially with AIK. Cederberg has started the season like a player who takes the step up from Superettan to a tougher Allsvenskan, surprised by the tempo. But that was last year. Strange since Cederberg finished the season as one of the rocks of the team. I think though, he will come back and is a great backup for two places in the defense. Instead of Cederberg Daniel Ivanovski made his comeback. Ivanovski who has mostly played right defender during his time in Mjällby got his chance on his true position, in the middle, together with Allsvenskans oldest – and wisest – Patrik Baker Rosengren.And how he made it. Ivan was king today. Very explosive, wise and doing generally a good job together with Baker. Who is always doing great.

That the first half’s most aggressive players should turn out to be Baker and Ivan might tell something of the general level of today’s game and players. They led the team from behind. The new midfield did their job most of the time, without especially shining. Still I had expected more of l´Onion Löfquist. He is another player who has not yet started his season. Maybe time for someone else from the start? L´Onion will probably find his form and be a good substitute. Zavadil on the left does a lot of work and ran really all the time. Also more forwards than lately. It was after one of his terrific corners that the goal was realized. In the front of the home team not much happened. Moestapha El Kabir started ok enough, but didn’t have any big day at work together with Marcus Ekenberg. El Kabir not to blame but rather the latter who has not found his form / does not perform. The question is why. Normally Ekenberg is untouchable and with all right, he use to do a good work in most games. If not scoring himself he keeps more than one of the defenders occupied to let someone else, like Musse do the scoring. Today Swärdh surprised the crowd by changing Ekenberg, with all right. The problem, which should turn out a non problem, was that the black and yellow home team had just smaller and lighter guys to put in towards Kalmar’s giants. But Swärdh has a good eye and swapped l´Onion Löfquist to smaller Daniel Nicklasson (58), and Ekenberg to Peter Gitselov (66). And then the game changed. Gitselov did a really good game and the combination with him and El Kabir was a lot more efficient than with Ekenberg, who he played with in the other games.

In fact the games only goal came in the 73rd minute after a corner from Zavadil. Gitselov made a try, but the ball flipped here and there before El Kabir could make the ball over the line. Not exactly his most beautiful goal, but a really important one. With the entrance of the light garde, Niklasson and Gitselov and a hardworking Zavadil, a most of the time wellplaying Grahn and a good defence, especially the midwall, and last but not less important, the scoring Kabir - it start to look acceptable again.

Generally the game was not much to see. Not for any of the supporters. And a draw had been all right seen to the performance. But on the other hand Mjällby had some retroactive point to claims after the other two games. Just a pity for Kalmar who is a nice team – both players and public is behaving well.

Something we didn’t see anything of was the, by the media uphaussed, verbal fight between the two biggest mouths of Allsvenskan, Henrik Rydström and Tobias Grahn. It might have been more entertaining in a way, like a hockey fight. Grahn got a yellow for protesting though, but else wise both kept calm. Funny this about “the big mouths”. I have not seen anyone analyse the fact that the big mouths both come from eastern Blekinge, on a distance of about just 25 km from each other. Is that so that people from Blekinge complain more? Talk more? Especially from this little area? Well, they might be rather outspoken. There is another person from this area who is writing an excellent blogg, sometimes about football. Nowadays also connected to Mjällby. I wonder what she thinks about this theory. For those who understands Swedish, her blog – Fotbollsfrun is to be found here.

Well, enough for this time. We hope for another 3 points next week with Malmö, Swedish champions last year. There is hope since Mjällby knows how to beat Malmö. It all depends on the moods of a certain El Kabir. Does he want to beat Malmö this time, or not? In any case, normally an entertaining game to see.

Good things with this game
King Daniel (not to exchange with Prince Daniel) Ivanovski
Peter Gitselov – alert and eager, good with Kabir
Moestapha El Kabir – most important or only (?) scorer of Mjällby, so far in any case
Patrik Baker Rosengren – does not let anything pass him
Pavel Zavadil – hardworking, hardrunning, very important on corners and freekicks
Tobias Grahn – does a lot of work
Daniel Nilsson – and he does a lot more. The guy you miss the most when he is not there

To work with
To understand what is wrong with Ekenberg. Time to start from the bench?´
To make Löfquist see the season has started
To make Grahn “discuss” less with the referees. I don’t say he is wrong, but if HE just opens his mouth, it is sure he will get a yellow.


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