Football Season Review

Champions: Malmo

After a disappointing campaign in 2015, Malmo returned to form in some style as they secured the 2016 Allsvenskan title. The title race looked like it would go down to the wire, but Malmo made sure of their third Lennart Johansson cup in four years with two games to spare after title rivals IFK Norrkoping and AIK dropped points near the end of the season. 2016 marked the start of a new chapter for the club after manager Age Hareide left the club at the end of 2015. His replacement was Allan Kuhn but his time in charge of the club did not go that smoothly. Defeats to league new boys Jonkopings in round two and GIF Sundsvall in round 3 suggested that there were some teething problems with the new regime. Indeed there were almost constant knock backs as Malmo failed to really hit top form throughout the spring season. A cup final defeat to BK Hacken, after having led by two goals into the closing stages, was a further setback and also meant the club would miss out entirely on playing European football. A defeat in the second round of the cup was also disappointing. But through all of the problems the club found ways to bounce back and they did exceptionally well in big matches which ultimately gave them the edge they needed. Against the other sides in the top five in the league, Malmo won all of the matches against them with the exception of an away 1 – 1 draw with AIK. As is to be expected from the side with the biggest budget in the league, their team contains plenty of quality and even the sale of top scorer Vidar Kjartansson in the middle of the season did not slow them down. Nevertheless there was no player who really stood out as there were a lot of very good performers throughout the campaign. Magnus Eikrem would certainly be the most improved after a slow start to his career with the club last term. But in terms of a player of the year Jo Inge Berget would just about edge it as he maintained a very consistent level of performance across a few different positions while also chipping in with a solid amount of goals and assists. Going into next season Malmo will once again enter the Champions League qualifiers which will be a big challenge for the whole squad. Some of their players are beginning to age and showing it including club captain Markus Rosenberg who will have to be used increasingly sparingly. A few new signings might be needed to add to a few weaker positions such as in attack and perhaps even a real quality goalkeeper. But Malmo will enter the 2017 as one of the favourites once again following this excellent season.

Player of the Season: Jo Inge Berget