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Matchday 2: roundup, comment and RdS Best XI

Angelo PalmeriComment

As we did not get enough surprise and intrigue in the past week following Levadia shock loss against Paide and Kalju's technical defeat on Monday, the past matchday (2) left us with more questions marks than exclamation ones.

Prosa, Beglarashvili and Alliku are Flora's best target men. Will they deliver in the hot clashes? (Gertrud Alatare)

Prosa, Beglarashvili and Alliku are Flora's best target men. Will they deliver in the hot clashes? (Gertrud Alatare)

Not everyone though, as Flora landed on Paide and their enthusiasm with a heavy 5-0 (math report here).
Norbert Hurt's men stormed the 'hearts' in the first half of the game (4-0) to then make it round in second half and finally calm down. With the three-goal win in Jõhvi, Flora run ahead as the best attaccking side of the Premium Liiga.

The contrast between Levadia's scoring problems one week earlier and Flora's ease against the very same opponet, it is quite evident: 0-1 vs. 5-0.

However, Football is not a formula.
Flora's scoring vein against the minnows, it will be put to stress test in the very first clash with one of the title rivals (Kalju-Flora on the 22nd of March). 

Flora scored 83 goals last season, best striking force of the Premium Liiga. Out of these 83 goals, only 8 were scored in the direct clashes with Levadia and Kalju (13 if we include Sillamäe in the count).

As each club plays the other 4 times, we talk about 12 games in total (against Levadia, Kalju and Sillamäe) with a scoring tally of 1,08 per game. Probably too little for a club who wants to challenge the other rivals for the title.

However, the others have not done hugely better: Kalju and Levadia both scored 16 goals in the 12 games, Sillamäe one less than Flora.

So where the problem lies instead?

In the defence: 25 goals suffered in the 12 direct clashes last season tell us that, in reality, it will be the defense to be put under stress test when taking on Kalju, Levadia and Sillamäe.
With Taavi Rähn acquired to the ranks, it seems that Flora back four are more safe than last season.
However, Paide cannot be deemed a worth trial even though they beat Levadia last week.
Last season, Rooba's side, never scored a goal to Flora: 12-0 was the count when Premium Liiga ended in November.
Lokomotiv Jõhvi are obviously a newly promoted and their 2-0 loss to Nõmme Kalju confirms what we are hinting at. Even if there are no easy game at such, it is quite likely that the very first serious challenge for Hurt&Co. will come in the first derby of the season.
Unless Tammeka will give us some surprises on Friday evening. 

The 'new' Tammeka travelled to Tallinn full of hopes for the new season however the reality of the final time score was rather dire. There is still a lot of work to do for Indrek Koser as the XI showed clear signs of a lack of proper preparation and cohesion in the build-up (match report here). Some referee mistakes could be brought forward, however Infonet played down to ten men for sixty-five minutes and they managed to bag other two behind Kütt. The next trip to Tallinn (against Flora) will not be a pleasure one at all.

Is Levadia in crisis or not?
The two goals scored would say that the finishing problems are past behind as also Teever finally managed to finalize a chance after squandering many in the Supercup and in matchday 1 earning him a heavy comparison with Fernando Torres. However, now the problem seems to come from the defense as the 'greens' were not able to hold the one-goal advantage twice. Quite worrying were a few blunders committed by Roman Smiśko, last season best goalkeeper. If Sillamäe Kalev was the exam for Levadia's season, we could say that the draw postpones any judgement to the 29th of March when Levadia will travel to Hiiu for a derby with Kalju. Meanwhile they have a chance to stockpile points with Kalev and Tammeka, don't they?

However, nothing can be given for granted in football. Following all the promises of a better season from Bondarenko&Co. , Narva Trans failed to deliver their first three points on the debut as Kalev was about to take a famous scalp in Ida-Virumaa. Only the injury-time goal by Avdeev saved the XI from an embarassing loss. Narva Trans could not transform the wide supremacy into goals giving a hint at an old-time issue: no striking power in the front line. 

RdS Matchday 2 Best XI