League leaders Flora travel south to Paide, hoping for a step up in performance after their lacklustre 1-0 win over Tammeka last matchday. Paide are in poor form, having lost five of their last six matches, including their last three. What had looked like being a comfortable season for them has now turned sour, with them still eight points clear of the relegation zone, but now just three points above Narva Trans.
Paide’s home form has taken on a strange pattern, and one which could be a good omen for them. They have consistently won every second game since the start of the season, and if that pattern continues here, their previous home defeat to Infonet will be followed up with a win here. Fortuitous thinking for the central Estonian side, perhaps?
FOCUS ON PAIDE
Paide have no new injury or suspension concerns, with Sander Roivasepp and Rasmus Tomson continuing in attack as part of their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. Kaspar Paur and Stanislav Goldberg may return after being dropped for last week’s defeat at Nomme Kalju, otherwise Aleksandr Vassiljev may retain his place.
Sander Sinilaid will continue in defensive midfield, but his partner there is less certain. Liivo Leetma, Ervin Koll and Eerik Reinsoo all having been deployed there in recent weeks. Karl Palatu and Markus Holst will start as centre back and right back respectively, but Dmitri Kovtunovits and Joel Indermitte were replaced last week by Timo Lomp and Kaspar Kaldoja. It remains to be seen if their performances have merited a repeat start this week.
Palatu and Kaldoja are both one yellow card away from suspension.
Key man: Sander Sinilaid
Flora like to play fairly central, and their passing game needs to be stopped. Sinilaid will play a key part in trying to do this, and his ability to prevent Flora from running in behind the Paide defence could determine the outcome of the game.
FOCUS ON FLORA
Flora started without Albert Prosa, Rauno Alliku and Karl-Eerik Luigend in the 1-0 win over Tammeka, but they should all return here as Flora seek a much-improved performance.
Another 4-2-3-1 formation will be seen from the visitors, with Irakli Logua and Zakaria Beglarishvili retaining their place in attack alongside Alliku and Prosa. Luigend will be partnered in defensive midfield by Andre Frolov, with Kevin Aloe coming back into the team in place of Erkki Junolainen.
Baranov and Rahn remain a booking away from suspension.
Key man: Irakli Logua
The attacking midfielder has been in excellent form recently, and he should benefit from the return of Prosa in front of him. His part in Flora’s neat passing game in the centre of the park will determine its success, whilst his ability to find space out wide to put crosses in gives them an extra option.
Both sides will start with identical formations, but the strength of Flora’s attacking foursome is likely to be too much for Paide. The wingers like to play quite narrow, helping to overload the opposition on the edge of their box. The movement and interchange of passing that Flora are capable of will be key to getting through the Paide defence, and Frolov and Luigend are likely to deal with the attacking threat Paide will pose.
Paide’s best chance might be down the wings, as Flora’s wide men tend to come inside, leaving their full backs open. The Frolov and Luigend partnership will be expected to help combat this threat, and should find that the need for Paide to focus more on their defensive responsibilities will see them less employed than they might have been against a stronger side.
PAIDE VS. FLORA HEAD TO HEAD (last 6 matches)
Paide’s wins: 0
Flora’s wins: 5
Goals scored by Paide: 0
Goals scored by Flora: 19
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Paide's rows: Rasmus Tomson (MF) 39 goals
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Flora's rows: Konstantin Nahk (DMF) 152 goals
ODDS (the figures may be subject to variation)
More odds about this game by
THE REFEREES SQUAD
(statistics courtesy of Heigo Niilop)
Roomer Tarajev will oversee the match in Paide. His 104 Premium Liiga games have seen 447 yellow cards, 15 red cards for two bookings, and 14 straight reds.
INFO ABOUT THE GAME
Game held in Paide at the City Stadium and broadcast live by Postimees.ee (link available here )
Entrance 2€, discounted categories 1€