Finnish Veikkausliiga and VPS v Ilves results so far
Finnish Veikkausliiga continues with three games today. Two of the games are really important in fight for top spot in the league, while one game is a clash between two bottom teams. My pick focuses on one of those top matches, where 11th place VPS and 2nd place Ilves will face each other in Vaasa.
Home team VPS has been struggling the whole season. In 12 games played VPS has not won a single game, but they have 7 draws and 5 losses. They have scored 10 goals, while giving away 15. VPS is also the second worst home team in the league, only KPV Kokkola being worse. In 6 home games VPS has gathered 3 points by obviously drawing 3 games and losing 3. They have scored 6 goals at home, while giving away 9. 32-year-old Jamaican Steven Morrissey leads VPS in goals as he has found the net 3 times this season.
Visiting side Ilves is having an amazing season. They are currently 2nd in the league one point behind FC Honka, that has played one game more than Ilves. Ilves has 22 points which consists of 6 wins, 4 draws and one loss. One of the biggest reasons for their success is their defense. Ilves has scored 13 goals this season, while giving away only 6 goals. Ilves is the 2nd best away team in the league. They have got 13 points from 6 away games by winning 4, drawing one and losing one. They have scored 7 goals away, while giving away 3. After scoring a hattrick in his previous match 22-year-old Lauri Ala-Myllymäki leads Ilves with 5 goals.
VPS v Ilves - Both team's form in past 5 games
VPS just recently snapped their 5 game losing streak by playing a 1-1 draw against FC Inter away in Turku, so their five game form is 1 draw and 4 losses. VPS has been scoring 0,6 goals per game on average, while giving away 1,4. All of VPS three goals were scored by a different player. VPS has been able to win the ball possession, but is failing to score from chances they have created.
Ilves has won three, drawn one and lost one in their past 5 league games. They also won Finnish League Cup two weeks ago. If we look at their past 5 league games Ilves has scored 10 goals, which is two goals per game on average. They have given away 5 goals which puts them allowing 1 goal per game on average. Lauri Ala-Myllymäki has scored 3 out of their past 10 goals. Ilari Mettälä and Tiemoko Fofana have scored two each. Ilves plays tight games on regular basis. Ball possession usually goes almost even, same as scoring chances. At the start of the season Ilves won games by defending their hearts out and scoring one goal, but recently they have been giving away more goals as they have been scoring more by themselves too.
Conclusion - What to bet on VPS v Ilves
These teams have met one before this season. The first meeting played in Tampere ended in a scoreless draw, but Ilves was dominating the game. Ilves won the ball possession 58% to 42% and had 12 scoring chances against VPS's one. Judging by the stats Ilves should have won that meeting. Both teams are mostly using 4-5-1 formation which is obviously working better for Ilves right now.
These teams are going to totally different directions. VPS is right now fighting for not to relegate this season, while Ilves is going to fight for winning the league. Ilves plays entertaining football and are always fighting till the final whistle. If Ilves wins today, they are going to be at the top of the Veikkausliiga. Winning the Finnish League Cup has boosted their self-confidence for sure and in league this tight every point is valuable.
VPS will not take their first win of the season today. With the struggle they are having and the way Ilves is rolling in the league there is only one favorite in this game. I'm picking Ilves with fairly good odds that are still around 2.00.