Football Season Guide

AFC Eskilstuna

In


Ole Söderberg (gk) - Kalmar, Mehmed Dresevic (def) - Norrby, Artem Rakhmanov (def) - Isloch, Jacob Lackell (mid) - Eskilstuna City, Jesper Björkman (def) - Gefle, Denni Avdic (att) - AIK, Wilhelm Loeper (def) - Arameisk-Syrianska IF, Hossin Lagoun (sp) (gk) - FK Vereya Stara Zagora, José León (def) - Rayo Vallecano (loan), Ivan Bobko (mid) - free transfer, Kristijan Miljevic-Sachpekidis (att) - free transfer, Adi Nalic (mid) - Malmo (loan)

Out


Amadou Kalabane (mid) - Gefle, Ivan Markovic (mid) - PS Kalamata, Gianluca Curci (gk) - Hammarby, Zurab Tsiskaridze (def) - Al-Hazm, Alexander Michel (def) - Al Khor, Kermit Erasmus (att) - Vitória Setúbal FC, Ibrahim Blati Toure (mid) - Córdoba CF, Oke Akpoveta (att) - FK Sabail, Michel Termanini (def) - Jerusalem Hilal Al-Quds, Wellyson (def) - released

AFC Eskilstuna returns to Swedish football's top table again after bouncing back from a disappointing Allsvenskan showing in 2017. Two years ago immediate relegation was never in doubt, as the club only managed to amass 20 points from the 30 games. They were ill equipped to handle the step up from Superettan, but will hope that lessons have been learned since then. They did it the hard way this time with a two legged play-off against an average Brommapojkarna side who deserved their eventual demotion after a dismal season in the top tier. Captain Anel Raskaj is still the key to AFC Eskilstuna success and, having experienced the disappointment of two seasons' ago, will be keen to make sure they make a better fight of it this time around.

Target


But this will still be a fight to the end for AFC, as they face an almighty uphill task to keep themselves in the Allsvenskan this season. But there is cause for optimism this time, as Nemanja Miljanović's team have shown spirit in their pre-season fixtures and are even in the Swedish cup final after knocking out a much fancied AIK side on penalties. The fresh faces are once again a mix unknown talents, but if most of them click and are allowed to develop with expectations kept in check, then AFC could actually be a surprise package this season. Prediction: 14th

AIK

In


Karol Mets (def) NAC Breda; Daniel Granli (def) Stabaek; Magnar Odegaard (def) Tromso; Anton Saletros (mid) Rostov – on loan; Saku Ylatupa (mid) Ajax U21; Chinedu Obasi (att) Elfsborg; Gustaf Lagerbielke (def) Sollentuna – end of loan;

Out


Alexander Milosevic (r) (def) Nottingham Forest; Kristoffer Olsson (r) (mid) Krasnodar; Robin Jansson (sp) (def) Orlando City; Haukur Heidar Hauksson (sp) (def) KA Akureyi; Denni Avdic (sp) (att) AFC Eskilstuna; Nicolas Stefanelli (sp) (att) Anorthosis – on loan; Daniel Mushitu (att) Vasalund – on loan; Samuel Brolin (gk) Vasalund – on loan; Christos Gravus (mid) Degerfors – on loan; Rickson Mansiamina (mid) released;

After winning the title last season now AIK will be eager to try and defend it. Coach Norling remained at the helm and this means that once again 3-5-2 will be the main formation, with the wide players regularly dropping deep to turn it into a back five when AIK find themselves under pressure. During the off season 2 regulars and several supporting players left, but the replacements that were signed were of good quality and AIK definitely have the experience and the depth to once again be aiming at trophies. This will be first full season for the wizard in midfield Sebastian Larsson and his wonderful set-piece skills suggest that just like in 2018 AIK will be scoring lots of goals from dead-ball deliveries or direct free-kicks. Saletros left AIK last summer to spend several months in Russia, but now he is back on loan and the very talented inner midfielder should only benefit from the experience of Larsson and his positive development is expected to continue. Very strong defence should be bringing lots of clean sheets once again as 3 new centre-backs were signed and AIK already had extremely solid back line anyway. Up front 34-year-old captain Goitom remains the main target man, but AIK hope that the hugely talented Elyounoussi will have much better luck with his health in 2019 and if he stays fit he could be the team’s top goalscorer and major weapon in attack.

Target


Look solidly built and will attempt to defend their title, but even if falling short should have enough in themselves to finish in the top 3.

BK Hacken

In


Ahmed Yasin (mid) Al Khor; Oskar Sverrisson (def) Mjallby; Kwame Kizito (att) free agent;

Out


Christoffer Kallqvist (gk) end of career; Emil Wahlstrom (sp) (def) GAIS Gothenburg; Ali Suljic (def) Brommapojkarna; Lucas Hedlund (att) Utsikten;

Dramatically missed out on top 3 finish in 2 consecutive seasons and hunger for securing high finish and qualifying for Europe is very high ahead of the 2019 campaign. Coach Alm remained in charge and his main winter singing was Yasin, he had excellent 2017 on loan at Hacken and now big things are expected from him. In terms of departures no important players left the club and the synchrony of the squad should be good right from round 1. With very potent attack Hacken are again expected to use 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 as main formations, with the signed last summer centre forward Jeremejeff expected to be the main goal provider of the team after strong end to 2018. With him, Yasin and last season’s Golden Boot winner Paulinho up front, plus 3-4 other talented options always ready to come off the bench Hacken are expected to be scoring lots of goals. The main concerns remain in defence, mainly because all of the 4 centre-backs are prone to injuries and in the last 2 years it was their poor health that impacted negatively parts of the campaigns. Keeping the defenders fit will be crucial for Hacken’s chances to challenge for top 3 finish and if they manage to do that Yellow and Blacks will be serious contenders yet again.

Target


Hacken aim at top 3 finish and if the squad’s health is good the quality in the group is enough to achieve it. Another top 6 finish seems very likely in any case.

Djurgarden

In


Per Kristian Bratveit (gk) Haugesund; Jacob Zetterstrom (gk) Lidingo; Aslak Fonn Witry (def) Ranheim; Elliot Kack (def) Start; Astrit Ajdarevic (mid) AEK Athens; Adam Wiberg (att) Gefle; Mohamed Buya Turay (att) Sint-Truiden – on loan; Amadou Jawo (att) Frej – end of loan;

Out


Andreas Isaksson (r) (gk) end of career; Jonas Olsson (r) (def) released; Kerim Mrabti (r) (mid) Birmingham City; Aliou Badji (r) (att) Rapid Wien; Niklas Gunnarsson (sp) (def) released; Oscar Jonsson (gk) Karlstad; Marcus Hansson (mid) Brommapojkarna – on loan; Joseph Ceesay (mid) Dalkurd – on loan; Omar Eddahri (att) Sundsvall;

After winning the Swedish Cup early last season Djurgarden lacked motivation in the league once losing touch with leaders, but in 2019 their main goal is to secure high finish in Allsvenskan. In the winter appointed the long-serving Sirius manager Kim Bergstrand in charge in hope that his ability to overachieve with modest squads will be replicated with Djurgarden’s group of players. The new boss had to act quickly as 4 regulars left the team and he focused his transfer activity mainly into neighbouring Norway from where 4 players were signed. Bratveit comes as the new goalkeeper, while adding 2 new full-backs should allow Djurgarden to often mix formations with 4 and 5 at the back. Ajdarevic is seen as very good signing for the heart of the midfield where Djurgarden are strong anyway, but as it was the case last season the team’s main issues are expected to be in attack. Buya Turay was loaned in after hard few months in Belgium to lead the line, but he is not very consistent goalscorer and it seems that if he misfires those around him won’t be of much help. That said Barkroth arrived last summer and took his time before gaining form late in 2018 and if he is able to transport it into the new season he could be crucial figure up front.

Target


Djurgarden hope to be in the top 3 at the end of the season, but the lack of firepower might see the team once again missing out on the medals.

Elfsborg

In


Deniz Hümmet (att) - Trelleborgs, Pawel Cibicki (att) - Leeds United (loan), Stian Gregersen (def) - Molde, Jonathan Levi (mid) - Rosenborg, Simon Strand (def) - Dalkurd,

Out


Chinedu Obasi (att) - AIK, Viktor Prodell (att) - Orebro, Daniel Gustavsson (mid) - Lillestrom, David Boysen (mid) - Helsingborg, Ibrahim Dresevic (def) - SC Heerenveen, Alex Dyer (mid) - Lillestrom, Rasmus Rosenqvist (mid) - GAIS (Loan), Christopher McVey (def) - Dalkurd (loan), Emir Bajrami (mid) - retired

Elfsborg have been on a slide ever since winning the Allsvenskan in 2012, but there's no doubt few expected them to be as disappointing as they were last season, when they limped over the line in 12th place with 30 points from the 30 fixtures. Jimmy Thelin had a tough first year as Elfsborg head coach, particularly as he got the job after going down with Jonkopings Sodra, but the club have stood by him and they deserve credit for that. Thelin will be desperate to repay that loyalty with a more promising season this time around, but expectations should still be pretty muted looking at the current state of the squad. There haven't been wholesale changes to the team despite last year's downturn, and that might come as a surprise to many onlookers. Thelin has instead maybe given a lot of players like Robert Gojani more time to bed in and buy into his philosophy, while the likes of Alex Dyer were moved on to pastures new. The loan signing of Pawel Cibicki is a promising attacking move, and there are signs in pre-season that this campaign might be better than 2018. It can't be much worse. There's also a number of youth players that have been given a chance in and around the first team squad in recent games, so don't be surprised to see some rough diamonds being tried out over the course of the season if Plan A fails to deliver. Thelin is certainly not ignoring the club's youth players.

Target


The only goal for this coming season must be to improve on the last one. 12th place is far too low for Elfsborg, who have been on a downward spiral ever since their Allsvenskan win. And, while no one expects them to trouble the runners and riders for the title, a top half finish must still be a target. They might need one more season to fulfil that though. Elfsborg need to avoid any shocks against newly promoted sides, and be strong enough to be on the right end of results against mid-table sides in and around them in the table. Anything beyond that would be a clear sign of Thelin stopping the rot, and that will be looked on as a positive step. Prediction: 11th

Falkenbergs FF

In


Jacob Ericsson (def) - Orgryte, Marcus Mathisen (def) - Halmstad, Kirill Pogrebnyak (att) - Baltika Kaliningrad, Carl Johansson (def) - Helsingborgs IF, John Chibuike (att) - Irtysh, Nsima Peter (att) - Frej,

Out


Enock Kwakwa (mid) - Jonkopings Sodra, Erik Pärsson (att) - OFI Crete, Linus Andersson (def) - Tvååkers IF, Chisom Egbuchulam (att) - Suwon FC, Erik Zetterberg (mid) - Varberg BoIS, Rasmus Larsson (mid) - released, Osama Hassan (def) - released, Zlatan Krizanovic (att) - released

It's a sweet return to the Allsvenskan for Falkenbergs after a two year absence and, while they will do extremely well to cement themselves in the top tier, they will be delighted to have bounced back from the disappointment of relegation in 2016. That ended a three year stay in the top flight, but they never really looked comfortable finishing 13th and 14th in the two seasons prior to crashing out of the league with just ten points from 30. And, while it took them a season to recover in the Superettan, they found their feet with a fourth place finish before finishing as runners up last year to have another go at the big time. Led by head coach Hans Eklund, they will hope to do enough to stay competitive and keep their heads above water, but they are a very small fish in a big pond. Eklund is a shrewd customer and, while the traditional 4-4-2 formation looks a bit outdated, he will know what fits best with the players at his disposal. The form of captain Tibor Joza at the back will be crucial, while new striker Kirill Pogrebnyak could be the joker in the pack that makes the difference up front.

Target


Falkenbergs will be tipped to struggle, and the cruellest of pundits will suggest that they are just there to make up the numbers. But the club will have a clear view of what they need to survive, and how they will accomplish it. Finishing in the relegation play-off spot wouldn't be a disaster, and the only thing they'd like to do is make a better job of it than the three teams promoted from the Superettan the year before. They all went down with a whimper in the end, and Falkenbergs will want to add a bit more fight to their survival bid if possible. Prediction: 16th

GIF Sundsvall

In


Tobias Eriksson (mid) Kalmar; Pa Konate (def) SPAL; Omar Eddahri (att) Djurgarden; Alexander Blomqvist (def) Trelleborg;

Out


Jonathan Morsay (sp) (mid) Brage – on loan; Christian Sivodedov (mid) released; Juho Pirrtijoki (def) KuPS; Erik Granat (mid) Team TG; Amaro Bahtijar (mid) Timra; Samuel Aziz (att) Eskilsminna;

Enjoyed very good 2018 and with coach Cedergren starting his eighth year in charge the expectations are that the positive progression of the side will only continue. Only fringe players left the squad this winter, while 4 solid new singings were made to boost the competition in every area of the pitch and if anything Sundsvall look stronger and even better balanced compared to last season. Having 5 Spanish players in the ranks helps Sundsvall to be much better with the ball compared to most teams in Allsvenskan and as usual enjoying dominance in possession and having very high passing accuracy should be constant features in the displays. Captain Hallenius stayed and he will be leading the attack once again, while Spaniards Batanero and Ciecoles will be responsible for the ball distribution and the organisation of the midfield. Sundsvall also rely a lot on overlapping runs and full-backs Tamimi, Myrestram and newly signed Konate will be important too. Striker Eddahri is interesting new signing that some pundits see as potential joker as when fit (he had injury problems numerous times over the last 12 months) he is actually very potent goalscorer that can always make the difference.

Target


The aim is another top half finish and if Hallenius continues to score plenty of goals this is achievable goal. Shouldn’t have problems with relegation in any case.

Hammarby

In


Gianluca Curci (gk) AFC Eskilstuna; Dennis Widgren (def) Ostersunds; Darijan Bojanic (mid) Helsingborg; Alexander Kacaniklic (mid) Nantes; Tim Soderstrom (att) Brommapojkarna; Vidar Orn Kjartansson (att) Rostov – on loan; Odilon Kossounou (def) Mimosas (IVC); Jean Carlos (def) Tubarao (BRA); Ze Vitor (att) Tubarao (BRA); Filston Mawana (mid) Hoffenheim U19; Marcus Degerlund (def) IFK Gothenburg – end of loan;

Out


Neto Borges (r) (def) KRC Genk; Bjorn Paulsen (r) (def) Ingolstadt; Jiloan Hamad (k) (mid) Incheon United; Kennedy (sp) (mid) end of career; Junes Barny (sp) (mid) IFK Gothenburg; Benny Lekstrom (gk) Brommapojkarna; Dusan Jajic (mid) Brommapojkarna; Rebin Asaad (mid) released;

After excellent first 3 months to last season Hammarby looked on course towards big things, but their title-challenge faded in the autumn and Green and Whites even missed out on top 3 finish. Hungry to finally get involved in the race for the top places Hammarby are preparing to throw everything this campaign and coach Billborn keeps talking how his players will perform above expectations as they have huge hunger to satisfy. Same can be said for the many fans of the club, who once again are destined to turn the home matches into spectacular events. Lost 2 important defenders and their best wide midfielder Hamad in the winter, but plenty of quality replacements were signed with Kacaniklic probably the biggest incoming transfer for Allsvenskan. The explosive winger hopes to resurrect his slowing career with this move back to his homeland. Last season injury issues affected many of the games, but if the health of the squad is better this season Hammarby definitely have enough quality in every area of the pitch to challenge for glory. Defensively there are not very high expectations from the team, but going forward Hammarby should be amongst the most dangerous sides once again with the 4-4-2 formation regularly looking more like 4-2-4 at home when the wide midfielders play very high up the pitch.

Target


Aim is to finish in the top 3 and after the disappointment from last season it is guaranteed that the players will be giving it their all to achieve that. Strong enough to look certain for top 6 finish in any case.

Helsingborg

In


David Boysen (mid) - Elfsborg, Andreas Granqvist (def) - Krasnodar, Markus Holgersson (def) - Lorca, Noel Mbo (mid) - Gillingham, Rasmus Jönsson (att) - Odense BK, Wanderson (att) - Alanyaspor, Alexander Farnerud (mid) - free transfer

Out


Jonathan Larsson (def) -Osters, Carl Johansson (def) - Falkenbergs, Darijan Bojanic (mid) - Hammarby, Mikael Dahlberg (att) - retired

Helsingborg are finally back where they feel they belong, as they finally got everything right in their Superettan promotion push and got back to the Allsvenskan on the third time of asking. It's been a rotten time for a club who actually won the Allsvenskan title as late as in 2011, but the eight years since then have been riddled with ups and downs. But they look to be back in the top flight for real now and, unlike fellow promoted sides Falkenbergs and AFC Eskilstuna who might see their Allsvenskan stay as rather fleeting, Helsingborg will claim that any relegation dogfight would be a disastrous underachievement. They're here to stay. They have backed themselves in the transfer market too, as they have snapped up some significant free transfers. If he stays injury free veteran stopper Andreas Granqvist looks an absolute bargain and, having been part of Sweden's world cup squad last summer, will have experience abounds for the younger players at the club. Head coach Per-Ola Ljung will hope he can partner Marcus Holgersson at the back, while Alexander Farnerud can play the part in the engine room in midfield. The only downside to the transfers is that most of the signings are well over the wrong side of 30. They will need to keep fit.

Target


Helsingborg will hope to establish themselves in the top flight again, and it wouldn't be a big surprise to see them climb above some of the Allsvenskan mid-table teams. A top half finish would surely exceed expectations, but there are plenty of supporters who would expect their side to keep five or six sides behind them in the table this year at the very least. The resurrection of Helsingborgs IF has begun, and Ljung will be only too aware that, if there is to be one side out of the promoted Superettan sides to stay beyond one season, it needs to be them. Prediction: 10th

IFK Gothenburg

In


Giannis Anestis (gk) free agent; Junes Barny (mid) Hammarby; Sebastian Eriksson (mid) Panetolikos; Nzuzi Toko (mid) Al Fateh; Giorgi Kharaishvili (mid) Saburtalo – loan made permanent; Benjamin Yapi Zalo (def) Utsikten – end of loan;

Out


Emil Salomonsson (r) (def) Sanfrecce Hiroshima; Vajebah Sakor (r) (mid) OFI Crete; Fredrik Jensen (r) (mid) Zulte Waregem – end of loan; Tobias Hysen (r) (att) end of career; David Boo Wiklander (sp) (def) end of career; Marcus Degerlund (sp) (def) Hammarby – end of loan; Billy Nordstrom (sp) (def) Brommapojkarna; Jake Weisbrod (def) Oddevold; Prosper Kasim (att) Legion FC;

After another mediocre season last time around the ‘fallen giants’ Gothenburg continue to rebuild and as they don’t have the finances to seek big things they decided to leave 33-year-old Poya Asbaghi in charge as he had decent, if not excellent, 2018. As many as 4 regulars left the club in the winter, but Gothenburg were able to sign permanently Georgina playmaker Kharaishvili and after very strong showings in 2018 he is expected to be crucial this term too. With Eriksson returning to the club after unsuccessful spell in Greece and 2 more inner midfielders added to the ranks Gothenburg should have enough depth in this area of the pitch. Up front Soder will be the main goal threat, with Abraham and 3 youngsters the other forward players. Lagemyr had 2018 ruined by injuries, but now at 22 and after strong pre-season he might emerge as a star this campaign. Gothenburg had many issues in defence last season and with not a single new signing in that area of the pitch, while at same time letting 2 centre-backs and 2 full-backs leave there is concern that Blue and Whites will struggle to keep clean sheets. In fact the numbers at the back are so short that midfielder Erlingmark was used as a centre-back in pre-season and he might have to be filling in when this is needed.

Target


Aim is to finish in top half of table, but this could happen only if everyone important remains healthy and performs at high level all season. Should be able to stay out of trouble, but at same time unlikely to challenge the top 6.

IFK Norrkoping

In


Alexander Fransson (mid) - FC Basel, Christoffer Nyman (att) - Eintracht Braunschweig, Kasper Larsen (def) - FC Groningen, Sead Haksabanovic (mid) - West Ham (loan),

Out


Arnór Sigurdsson (att) - CSKA Moscow, David Moberg Karlsson (mid) - Sparta Prague, Jon Gudni Fjóluson (def) - Krasnodar, Linus Wahlqvist (def) - Dynamo Dresden, Eric Smith (mid) - KAA Gent,

If you had told Jens Gustafsson before the 2018 Allsvenskan season that his Norrkoping's side would be finishing seven points ahead of Malmo, he would've been rubbing his hands together ready to accept the championship trophy. But unfortunately his side only managed to finish as runners up with AIK leading the way losing just the one game last season - which was against Norrkoping. They got 65 points from their 30 games, and would in any other season surely be crowned as champions. But they will have to go again this season and hope to both topple AIK off their perch as well as making sure they can keep Malmo behind them for a second consecutive season. Both of those challenges are going to be extremely tough. The Norrkoping squad looks like one of the strongest in the league, there's no doubt about that. There's strength in depth as well as exciting and committed players that would walk into any starting eleven in all of the league's 16 sides. There hasn't been wholesale changes to the team who finished second last season, but some fine tuning as been taking place. The most exciting of those might well be winger Sead Haksabanovic who is just the sort of live wire and match winner that Gustafsson's team need when the chips are down.

Target


It will be hard for Norrkoping to better the 2018 campaign, but they should be quietly confident of at least going close to 65 points again with the team that they have. And should AIK or Malmo falter again in terms of form, then Gustafsson's side will surely be there to pounce. They just need to stay focused and show the same commitment they did last time around, when they were two agonising points away from the league title. They might not have the chance to be so close to glory again for some time though. Prediction: 3rd

Kalmar

In


Chidiebere Nwakali (mid) free agent; Fidan Aliti (def) Skenderbeu; Henrik Lofqvist (def) Dalkurd; Rafinha (mid) Madureira; Maxwell (mid) Resende; Piotr Johansson (mid) Gefle; York Rafael (mid) Varnamo; Mostapha El Kabir (att) Ankaragucu; Mahmoud Eid (att) GAIS Gothenburg – end of loan; Lumala Abdu (att) Varnamo – end of loan;

Out


Mikael Dyrestram (r) (def) Xanthi; Erton Fejzullahu (r) (att) released; Markus Thorbjornsson (sp) (def) Dalkurd – loan made permanent; Tobias Eriksson (sp) (mid) Sundsvall; Hiago (sp) (mid) Alagoano – on loan; Adrian Edqvist (sp) (att) Oskarshamn – on loan; Nixon (sp) (att) Flamengo – end of loan; Jaja (mid) Flamengo – end of loan; Alexander Ahl Holsmtrom (att) Oskarshamn – on loan; John Hakansson (gk) released; Johan Ramhorn (def) released; Carl Johansson (mid) Osters; Anton Maikkula (def) Norrby; Ole Soderberg (gk) AFC Eskilstuna;

Enjoyed very calm and solid last season, with the team’s development seemingly going further in the right direction during the winter months. Household manager Magnus Pehrsson (Allsvenskan champion with Malmo in 2 of last 3 years) was appointed in charge this winter. Also the squad was strengthened well. Only 2 regulars left this winter, with Fejzullahu losing his starting role last September anyway, while Pehrsson attracted quality new signings for every area of the pitch to boost the depth and the rotation options. El Kabir was probably the biggest name to join Kalmar this winter, with striker expected to become the new main figure up front. He has Diouf, Soderqvist and several youngsters to help him too. The arrival of 5 new midfielders should be enough to provide options in that area, with the defence also expected to be solid as the departure of Dyrestram was compensated by the signings of centre-backs Lofqvist and Aliti. Continue to have exotic flavour too with 3 Brazilians and 3 Nigerians in the current squad. In general the squad is young, with only 5 players aged 30 or over. That said all 5 of them likely starters when fit and available and should have plenty of experience on the pitch at all times.

Target


The goal is top half finish and with good squad and proven manager at the helm Kalmar should be able to achieve that easily. Still seem to lack enough quality to challenge for top 3 finish though.

Malmo

In


Erdal Rakip (mid) - Benfica, Adi Nalic (mid) - Landskrona, Jo Inge Berget (att) -NYCFC, Anel Ahmedhodzic (def) - Nottingham Forest, Dusan Melicharek (gk) - FC Zbrojovka Brno,

Out


Mattias Svanberg (mid) - Bologna, Dennis Hadzikadunic (def) - FK Rostov, Anton Kralj (def) - Sandefjord, Sixten Mohlin (gk) - Ostersunds, Walter Viitala (gk) - Sandefjord, Fredrik Andersson (gk) - Orgryte, Adi Nalic (mid) - AFC Eskilstuna (loan)

Malmo will hope that the first half of last season is completely erased from memory by now, as Magnus Pehrsson was dismissed after a terrible 1-0 defeat to relegation fodder Trelleborgs and a dismal showing in the cup final against Djurgarden. It was a sorry way to end what had been a successful spell under him. Since then Uwe Rosler stepped in and stabilised the club brilliantly. But they still finished nine points behind champions AIK which tells you exactly how chaotic those first couple of months were for the club. They have progressed since then though, with a good run in the Europa League and Rosler keeping the squad in check. The pre-season form has been ok, without them pulling up any trees. They will be disappointed not be involved in this year's Swedish Cup Final, and the recent 4-1 friendly defeat against rivals Norrkoping with a strong line up might cause some concern. But Malmo usually save their best to when it really matters, and Rosler's team are red hot favourites to make the Allsvenskan theirs again.

Target


The only thing that can redeem last season will be the Allsvenskan title back at Swedbank Stadion. They will need to start strongly and hope that they can carry any early season form into the last couple of months, like they did so brilliantly last year. There will be a fair share of challengers who won't let Rosler's side have it all their own way, but the club look to be on the up again after 2018's blip and it would be very surprising if there wasn't any fresh silverware to polish after 30 Allsvenskan games this season. Prediction: 1st

Orebro

In


Martin Broberg (mid) - Odd, Jake Larsson (mid) - Hammarby, Viktor Prodell (att) - Elfsborg, Daniel Björkman (def) - BK Forward, Dennis Collander (mid) - Skiljebo, Johan Bertilsson (mid) - Dalkurd

Out


Brendan Hines-Ike (def) - KV Kortrijk, Sebastian Ring (def) - Grimsby, Nahir Besara (mid) - Al-Feiha FC, Victor Sköld (att) - Orgryte, Kennedy Igboananike (att) - Al Hazm,

Orebro completed a decent 2018 campaign in the Swedish top tier, and there's no doubt the ninth place was a fair reflection of the work Axel Kjall did in his first full season in charge at Behrn Arena. The question is whether Orebro can make the step up to the to half of the table, as there was a gigantic nine point gap between themselves and GIF Sundsvall in eighth. But that must surely be the next step to take for a club that have fair to limited resources, but will fancy their chances against at least half of the teams in the Allsvenskan this year. The big loss is Kennedy Igboananike up front, with the player tempted by a new possibly more lucrative adventure in Saudi Arabian football. His lethal presence up front will be missed, but his ill discipline might not be. Viktor Prodell has been drafted in as the new number nine, and he is an experienced Allsvenskan performer who might have stagnated at Elfsborg. A new challenge might inspire him to become one of the signings of the season.

Target


The target this year must be to keep improving and not become complacent. It would be too easy to dismiss Orebro as a mid-table Allsvenskan filler but the club have more to them than that. Kjall has freshened up the squad on the budget made available to him, and the club look steady and well organised from the outside looking in. If they can produce solid and steady performances on the pitch, then they should be the pick of the mid-table teams this season. Prediction: 9th

Ostersunds

In


Isak Ssewankambo (def) - Molde, Thomas Isherwood (def) - Bradford, Alhaji Gero (att) - Esteghlal FC, Sixten Mohlin (gk) - Malmo, Eirik Haugan (def) -Hodd, Ravel Morrison (mid) - Lazio, Marco Weymans(def) - AFC Tubize, Rewan Amin (mid) - Dalkurd, Francis Jno-Baptiste (att) - Crystal Palace,

Out


Saman Ghoddos (att) - SC Amiens, Ken Sema (mid) - Watford, Dennis Widgren (def) - Hammarby, Smajl Suljevic (mid) - Syrianska, Sotirios Papagiannopoulos (def) - FC Copenhagen

Ostersunds were actually in the Allsvenskan mix at the halfway stage of the season, but they had some awful spells which dented any hopes of an unlikely championship, and in the end they had to settle for a sixth place that could've been a lot better. It was slightly disappointing, but it could also have been worse with inspirational head coach Graham Potter deciding to leave for Swansea City in the summer. Ian Burchnall was tasked with making sure there was as little upheaval as possible and to be fair the Englishman did a sterling job of that. But, without any managerial merrygorounds to disrup their season this time around, they will be aiming for the top five this season surely. The squad looks pretty strong, with Burchnall once again chancing his arm with British players that have bought into the Ostersunds way of doing things. Eyebrows have been raised as misfit Ravel Morrison has been brought into the midfield. It seems an odd pair up, but Ostersunds might just be the left field solution to Morrison's up until now stagnating career. Burchnall will hope he can get the best out of him with shrewd man management.

Target


Ostersunds look as strong as they were last season on paper and, with a few fresh faces around to compliment the squad, there's real excitement about the place. They will be quietly confident of causing some of the well established Allsvenskan teams some difficult afternoons. Their first game of the new season is away to current champions AIK, and after those 90 minutes in Stockholm everyone will know whether Burchnall's side are genuine contenders or will once again fall well short of the elite. Prediction: 5th

Sirius

In


John Alvbage (gk) Omonia Nikosia; Kebba Ceesay (def) Dalkurd; Adam Stahl (mid) Dalkurd; John Igbarumah (mid) Carlstad; Linus Nygren (def) Gama Uppsala – end of loan; Sherko Faiqi (mid) Nestr-Sotra – end of loan;

Out


Moses Ogbu (r) (att) Al-Ain; Oscar Pehrsson (r) (def) Brommapojkarna; Johan Eiswohld (sp) (def) released; Mauricio Albornoz (sp) (mid) released;

Sirius parted ways with their manager for 8 years Kim Bergstrand in winter (left to take charge of Djurgarden) and as his replacement inexperienced Henrik Rydstrom was appointed. The new manager has only 6 months experience as head coach of senior squad (he was Kalmar’s U19 and U21 manager for 4 of last 5 seasons). The new boss seems to be favouring 4-1-4-1 or 4-4-1-1 shapes in pre-season, but more clarity about the system Sirius will use will be given in first few matches. Other major even of the winter was the departure of the team’s captain and club record goalscorer Ogbu, which with no new centre forwards signed exposes the front line badly. Currently Jonas Lindberg is the only typical striker in the ranks, which means that hugely important inner midfielder Haglund will be used a lot as target man. He helped a lot with his goals last season, but still he is not a natural forward. Will have to rely a lot on the wide areas as most of their aggressive players operate there. Also 3 of the 4 newly signed players are operating in those positions (1 full-back and 2 wide midfielders). Ahman-Persson will be the most important figure in defence, with the 32-year-old veteran performing very well after signing last summer. However, as it was evident in 2018 those around him were not very good help and Sirius struggled at the back on many occasions.

Target


Sirius’s only goal is to avoid relegation, but inexperience of manager and lack of strengthening might make this very difficult task. Likely to be in and around the relegation zone all season.