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The Premium Liiga Title Run-In

Chris JohnsComment

The Premium Liiga title chase took another turn following Levadia’s dramatic 3-2 win over Nomme Kalju on Saturday the 4th of October. The race for the final European place also heated up, with Sillamae closing the gap to Kalju to just two points.

 

With four games left, a Tallinn derby to come, and just eight points seperating the top four, RdS took a look at the run-in's of the title contender's and where the title race might be won and lost. 


Levadia
1/10, 75pts


FC Flora (A)
Oct 18, 16:00

FC Infonet (A)
Oct 24, 19:00

Johvi (H)
Nov 2, 13:00

Narva Trans (A)
Nov 8, 13:00

FC Flora
2/10, 73pts


Levadia (H)
Oct 18, 16:00

Narva Trans (A)
Oct 25, 16:00

Tallinna Kalev (H)
Nov 1, 16:00

Sillamäe (A)
Nov 8, 13:00

Nõmme Kalju
3/10, 69pts


Narva Trans (H)
Oct 18, 13:00

Tallinna Kalev (A)
Oct 25, 13:00

Sillamäe (H)
Nov 1, 13:00

Tammeka (A)
Nov 8, 13:00

Sillamäe
4/10, 67pts


Tammeka (A)
Oct 17, 19:00

Paide (H)
Oct 25, 13:00

Nõmme Kalju (A)
Nov 1, 13:00

FC Flora (H)
Nov 8, 13:00


The teams have already played out their remaining fixtures once this season. The results are shown above. If these results were to repeat themselves, Levadia and Flora would go onto a match for determining the title-winner. Kalju would take the remaining European spot by eight points, missing out on the title by two points. 

The teams have already played out their remaining fixtures once this season. The results are shown above. If these results were to repeat themselves, Levadia and Flora would go onto a match for determining the title-winner. Kalju would take the remaining European spot by eight points, missing out on the title by two points. 

Levadia’s next match takes them across the capital to play Flora, who are breathing down their necks just two points adrift. A draw or a win for Flora would play into the hands of Kalju, but a win for Levadia might just move them into an unassailable position. If they take the spoils, they will move five points clear of Flora, and at least six clear of Kalju with three matches to go. All three games between the sides have ended in draws this year, and with so much at stake this time around it could be a similar story with neither side wanting to risk too much.
 


Three of Levadia's remaining four matches are away from home. Trips to Infonet and Narva will surely prove tricky, but Levadia will be comforted by the fact that they have still only conceded just one goal away from home all season.

 

A poor result at home to an, at the time, in-form Infonet and a 0-0 draw at Narva aside, Levadia have dispatched with Johvi and the two aforementioned clubs with ease this season. The big focus will be on the Flora and Infonet games, from which they will hope to get at least four points.

Three matches in total have been played against each team's opponents this season, with the results shown above.

Three matches in total have been played against each team's opponents this season, with the results shown above.

A win for Flora in the derby would move them one point clear at the top, with a trip to Narva preceding Kalev’s visit to the A Le Coq Arena in their next two games. These will be considered as three-pointers for Flora, before they have to travel to Sillamäe on the final day. Depending on Sillamäe’s results, particularly in the match at Kalju, they may still be in with a chance of a European spot and will therefore not be pushovers by any stretch of the imagination.


Flora will hope to come away from the Levadia game with more than a draw as they have done on all three occasions this season, as a trip to Sillamae under pressure is not what they will want, especially considering the fact that matches with the Eastern Estonian side have been tight affairs this season (two wins by a single goal margin and a draw). Despite three wins, a trip to Narva will also be a thorough test, with the border club needing points to stave off the threat of relegation. Three points will be expected at home to Kalev.

The current average league position of each team's remaining opponents

The current average league position of each team's remaining opponents

As the adjacent table shows, the easiest run-in seems to belong to Kalju, as they play three of the bottom four sides. Trips to Kalev and Tammeka will be seen as three points in the bag, with the visit of Narva also in the back pocket. Their other game sees them host Sillamäe in what could be a huge match. Because of their six point defecit to top spot, even if Kalju win their four remaining games, Levadia need only take 7 points from 12 to ensure the 2012 champions do not add to their championship tally.

 

Kalju have won 15 of their 16 games against their remaining opponents this season, and if they can repeat this sort of form in the last four games they will be primed to take advantage of any slip-ups.

Some interesting stats

Sillamäe travel to Tartu before hosting Paide in what should be six points for them. They are sure to still be two points behind Kalju before their match-up in the penultimate game of the season, and Kalju might find themselves having to look both ways depending on how Flora and Levadia manage. The season's end has probably come too late for Sillamae, but they need to beat Tartu and Paide in order to be in a position to benefit from a potential win at Kalju, who are likely to be in form with a couple of similarly easy games themselves. A final day match with Flora is likely to mean more to the visitors, but stranger things have happened and it could turn out to be more pivotal than expected. 


Chris Johns' Prediction

If Levadia can at least hold Flora and then beat Infonet I think the title will be theirs. However, I can see Flora just nicking a win against Levadia, who don't necessarily need to go all out for the three points, and that could knock them going into the Infonet match. 

 

Flora will beat Narva and Kalev, and I think Sillamäe will be out of things by the final day and Flora should get the points they need there. I think it all hinges on what happens next time out. If Flora win I can see them taking it. If Levadia can manage to get at least a point, I think it will swing their way.


Kalju have the easiest run-in, and I can see them realistically getting 12 points from 12. It's probably too late for them though and they need both Levadia and Flora to bottle it....although stranger things have happened this season.

1.  Flora
2. Levadia
3. Kalju
4. 
Sillamäe

Angelo Palmeri's Prediction

On the resume, tableleaders Levadia will have a double test: first the derby with Flora and then the game against Infonet. They can 'travel' to A.LeCoq Arena knowing that they have two good full-time scores to count on out of three. The tradition against Infonet is favourable, except the last surprising defeat at home. The last two ties represent no hassle as they will receive Lokomotiv and then travel to Narva. Where, in my opinion, they will celebrate the title.
 

Three Flora-Levadia derbies and three draws this season: 1-1, 0-0 and 1-1. I don't see the showdown at A.LeCoq on the 18th of October ending in a different way. The title will be decided elsewhere. Until the last matchday (36) Flora will easily get 6 points (Narva away and Kalev home) however the away game in Sillamäe might give some surprise having Sillamäe still running for the third place. All in all, they don't have their future in their hands anymore.

Kalju have called themselves out of the title-fight and now have to be careful Sillamäe won't take over. On the resume they can take easily 6 points home against Narva and away to Kalev, therefore, they shall receive Sillamäe on the 2nd of November with untouched gap. A draw will be enough for Kalju but I am confident they will take this win as they did in the previous three games. Last matchday they travel to Tartu having Tammeka already safe from relegation and, highly likely, play-off

Sillamäe will be close to the podium but they won't make it. However, they will be a title-decider when they will receive Flora on the last matchday

1. Levadia 85
2. Flora 81
3. Kalju 79
4.Sillamäe 75

 

Deni Delev's Prediction

The attacking football they showed against Infonet will certainly boost their appetites and hopes for the title and a win against Levadia in the derby will mean that the title will be theirs to lose. However, the heroics shown by the reigning champions against Kalju prove that beating them won’t be an easy task so whoever wins that game will land the title home. On paper, after the derby Flora doesn’t have any difficult games left so we can expect Hurt to go all-in, a risk that will either bring them the title or lose it.

Kristal has played the whole season very wisely, managing to rotate lots of players after losing on some of his key players throughout. The result is a strong Levadia with cover for all the positions. Podholjuzin will miss out the derby, but Artjunin is back in central defense and if they manage to get a point in this game, the title race will be over.

Kalju, on the other hand, after a season marred by loads of injuries, in the end have only themselves to blame. Win against Flora and advantage of goal and player against Levadia was inexplicably lost in the dying moments of the match. Now they are trailing behind both Flora and Levadia, while at the same time their 3rd position is under threat from Sillamäe. However, as we saw in their previous three clashes, they quite easily managed to beat the opponents from the east and that suggests that they will end the season in the last place that brings European football.

Sillamäe has two more games to get in the right shape for the last two rounds, but even the biggest fans can’t expect miracles from their team.

1. FC Flora

2. FC Levadia

3. Kalju Nõmme

4. Sillamäe Kalev