Premium Liiga: 5 things we learned from week 10
After winning nine out of its first nine Estonian Premium League matches, Nõmme Kalju finally slipped in the tenth round, losing 0-2 to Narva Trans. Viljandi Tulevik beat Paide 2-0, Levadia and Flora drew 1-1, FC Sillamäe Kalev destroyed Tartu Tammeka 5-0, and Pärnu lost 0-2 to FC Infonet. Angelo Palmeri takes a look at what these results tell us about Estonia's domestic top-flight league.
It’s Nõmme Kalju’s season
When the referee blew the whistle in Narva at 9pm on Saturday, Kalju’s loss to the home team was a shock. The tableleaders gave a chance to FC Flora to close the gap that had just widened a week earlier. However, Flora squandered the chance (1-1 at Levadia) keeping Kalju 5 points adrift. If you rotate your team ahead of an important cup semifinal (on Tuesday against…Flora), you lose the tie but your chasers cannot take advantage from it (and will eventually be tired in the semi-final), it means that it might be really the right season for you.
At the end of 2014, Evgeni Kabaev left Estonia with 36 goals and the Premium Liiga’s topscorer title. However, he does not seem to have left a void in Sillamäe’s striking line. The Eastern Estonia club have the best attack (28 goals) with the best contribution coming from Kabaev’s country fellow, Ukrainian Jaroslav Kvasov as Sillamäe’s nr.7 has bagged already 10 goals in 10 games. The club’s president, Aleksander Starodubtsev, pointed out he hasn’t scored any goal against the big three yet (Flora, Levadia and Kalju – whereas Kabaev did) however the season is still young and there are three games left against each of those. From Kabaev to Kvasov, Sillamäe’s K-factor to score goals.
Pärnu and Paide: ‘city teams’ with no ideas and results
The name ‘Linnameeskond’ (city team) is only one of the common features between Pärnu and Paide football clubs this season. Both sides, in fact, seem to lack ideas and, as a consequence, results. After an enthusing start, Pärnu soon lost momentum. The sole positive moments were the comeback win against Tammeka and a draw against Levadia. The display seen at FC Infonet on Saturday was quite disappointing, not worthy of a side who shall fight nail and teeth against any opponent to avoid relegation. Paide’s crisis is even worse since the Central Estonia club hasn’t won a game yet and keeps showing an unconvincing game.
Joonas Tamm, Viljandi’s wonder
Among the many Estonians plying trade abroad who returned to domestic football last winter, Joonas Tamm (a past in US Sampdoria U20 and in Sweden) is definitely the top signing. Having a look at the results so far, he has scored 8 goals (more than half of Viljandi’s tally) meaning the second highest contribution from a single player in the first ten games of Premium Liiga. Joonas is still young (23 years old) and rumours say that big Tallinn’s club are already after him for the summer transfer window.
Narva’s new start?
Narva Trans has started the second round by winning. It is exactly what happened at the start of the first one, however, after that, they were unable to bag three points again. Why would it be different now? Because beating the tableleaders can work as an additional boost to the team’s morale. The circumstances in which it happened (Narva were missing 2 key-men) can really give more belief to Aleksei Yagudin’s XI. The new signing, Russian striker Dmitri Barkov, has had an immediate impact by scoring on his debut. Narva are expected to reconfirm themselves in the upcoming derby with Sillamäe.
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