IFK Norrköping – Match Report vs Falkenberg 07/03/2020


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Sead Hakšabanović

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Montenegrin/Swedish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 04/05/1999
  • Current club: IFK Norrköping, on loan from West Ham
  • Career: Halmstads BK, West Ham Utd, Málaga CF (L), IFK Norrköping (L)
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: 10 / Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sead Hakšabanović was superb in this game. He was heartbeat of IFK Norrköping going forwards as his teammates looked to find him at every opportunity. He operated from the left wing but during the course of the game he mixed up whether he was holding his position high and wide on the left so that he could be released to run in behind, or whether he was drifting inside looking to receive the ball. As such, in the first half I thought he was operating as a wide playmaker, whilst in the second he was more of an inside forward or a winger as he dribbled down the line and crossed with his left foot more often than he did in the first half, where he was primarily operating in the left half-space. 

In terms of attributes – he looked to be primarily about touch and technique, rather than a high speed dribbler. In 1v1 situations he would often drop a shoulder and come inside before slipping a through ball into the box for a midfield runner. 

He crossed primarily with his right foot, but didn’t look overly one-footed and he made several dangerous opportunities by getting the ball across the six-yard box. His in-swinging crosses were often claimed by the goalkeeper, but this isn’t much of a black mark against him. 

One negative from his performance is that he took a lot of long-shots when he didn’t need to, though it should be noted that the winning goal was scored by him as he cut inside and shot into the near corner from 25 yards. 

He also put in next to no work defensively, other than to cut off passing lanes. He didn’t do much pressing and there was no chasing back of note, but the team was able to accommodate for that and they needed him to be able to take up dangerous positions when they won the ball back, so it may well have been a tactical instruction for him not to defend much.

Rating: A1

His transfer to West Ham has been a failure thus far, with him having only played 77 minutes for the first team, whilst his loan to Málaga was disastrous and resulted in him being recalled after getting even less game time there. However, regular minutes in Sweden seems to have done him very well and has restored his confidence. I’ll need to watch him more to see if there’s any attitude problems that manifest out on the pitch, but I didn’t notice anything in this game. 

West Ham may be planning to give up on him, but personally I feel that would be a huge mistake. He has excellent potential to make it in a top 5 league in the future and is still very young.  They’d be better off loaning him to a Championship club that would make him central to their attacking process. I’d be surprised if he didn’t do very well there and if not prove himself ready to play for West Ham, greatly increase his value by proving himself in a more high profile league. 

Carl Bjork

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth:24/01/2000
  • Current club: IFK Norrköping 
  • Career: IFK Norrköping, IF Sylvia (L)
  • Position: Centre Forward
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Bjork gave a hard working performance up front, but he didn’t manage to get a single chance on goal to speak of. It’s not that there weren’t dangerous balls going into the box, as Hakšabanović was providing plenty. The issue was more that he was always a little behind them, which made me feel that his anticipation and off the ball movement needs improving. 

He was tireless in his pressing and wasn’t afraid of a physical battle with the centre backs, although they had him fairly well shackled. His brightest moment was getting of one of Hakšabanović’s through balls from the left half-space, as he darted off the shoulder of the centre back, unfortunately by the time he had the ball under control he was too wide to get a shot away and had to cut the ball back into a crowded penalty area, where it was cleared. 

There was also an opportunity during a counter attack where if he’d had more awareness of his teammates whereabouts, he might have played the ball to an attacker in space, but instead he held onto the ball and the attack fizzled out. 

Rating: C

I got the feeling that as he matures physically he could grow to be a classic number 9, holding the ball up and playing well with his back to goal, as well as getting into the box to get on the end of chances, but he seems quite a way off this at the moment. He’s had fewer than 500 minutes for Norrköping’s first-team though, so I’ll watch him some more and see how he develops. 

Jonathan Levi

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 23/01/1996
  • Current club: IFK Norrköping
  • Career: Östers IF, Rosenborg BK, Elfsborg (L), IFK Norrköping
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing, Centre Forward
  • Preferred foot: Left

After a quiet first half Levi was one of the more dangerous players in the second half, although he was quite one dimensional and selfish. Every time he picked up the ball he was looking to cut inside on his left foot and take a shot from range. One of these efforts was a particularly good one that hit the crossbar with the keeper beaten, but generally these were wasteful efforts and by taking them on too often he failed to utilise the option of the overlapping right back who might have been more dangerous.  

He didn’t particularly hold his position on the right, receiving the ball centrally often. It’s hard to know if this was a tactical instruction or whether he was just indisciplined. When Hakšabanović came off his wing it seemed to be part of a plan as there were always runners for him to feed through balls through, whereas Levi was just simply picking up the ball and looking to get a shot away as soon as possible. 

Rating: B2

His wasn’t a performance that I particularly enjoyed due to his largely selfish play, but he did look a technically good player with good first touch. Though he shot from some poor positions, he was a very good striker of the ball, so he will be a goal threat at this level. I need to watch him some more to learn whether he has a selfish streak that hampers him regularly or whether he just needs to learn to play with his head up a bit more. He is 24 years old though, so I would have hoped he might be a little more developed by now. 

Henrik Castegren

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 28/03/1996
  • Current club: IFK Norrköping
  • Career: IFK Norrköping, Sylvia (L), Degerfors (L)
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Castegren is primarily a centre back, but in this game he operated as the deepest of two central midfielders in a double pivot. He wasn’t overly busy defensively, but he showed good anticipation and awareness to nip in ahead and steal the ball off the toes of his opponents. I don’t remember him having to make any slide tackles as most of his defensive work was done by good positioning, particularly in making ball recoveries.

Most of his work in possession was simple, short passes, but his job wasn’t to make killer balls or be the playmaker. His job was to win the ball and recycle possession for more dangerous players to do the damage and he did that well. I noted a tactical foul in the middle of the pitch to stop what might have been a dangerous attack, which he surprisingly avoided a booking for.

Rating: B1

This was a good performance, especially considering he plays most of his minutes at centre back. I’m not sure at this stage if he could play in a higher league, but he’s definitely comfortable at this level. I’d be interested to see him at centre back if that is where he’s best, as I’d expect he’d be a good modern centre back. On first watch, I think he’d probably be a good cheap option for an EFL League One side, lower half SPL or Eredivisie team.

Filip Dagerstål

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 01/02/1997
  • Current club: IFK Norrköping
  • Career: IFK Norrköping
  • Position: Centre Half
  • Preferred foot: Right

Filip Dagerstål gave a mature performance at centre back. His positioning was excellent and he very rarely had to make any sort of recovery challenge. He regularly got to the ball before the centre forward to make interceptions, showing good anticipation and timing of the challenge.

He showed good strength in duels and on the occasions that he was turned by through balls into the channels he was able to get his body in front of the attacker and shepherd the ball back to the goalkeeper. He judged high balls well and won the majority of his aerial duels, both in the midfield third and in his own penalty area.

In possession he generally played the safe pass, but he wasn’t afraid to play through the press into the feet of midfielders and he played one pass through 2 players to Hakšabanović which opened up Falkenberg.

Rating: A2

Dagerstål really impressed me in this game. I’d like to see him tested a little bit more defensively as Falkenberg didn’t offer too much going forwards, but I don’t think his performance should be underestimated in that regard. He was comfortable with the centre forward throughout the game and looked like typical modern day centre back. Solid defensively and strong in possession. I’m looking forward to watching him more and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing in at least a second tier league in the Big 5 European nations in the next few years.

Ian Rey Smith Quirós

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Costa Rican
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 06/03/1998
  • Current club: IFK Norrköping
  • Career: Santos (CR), Hammarby (L), IFK Norrköping
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

In the first half of the game Smith was the second best player on the pitch, behind Hakšabanović. He has a slim build and isn’t particularly tall, but his game was very strong technically and he showed excellent pace to get up and down the flank.

He was excellent in build up, comfortable receiving the ball under pressure and bringing it under control, before playing crisp passes to the midfield. He would then take up a position wide on the right as an option in transitional phases.

Defensively he did very well in 1v1s, often using his body shape to show the winger down the line and block a cross or win a duel. There were a few errors where he was caught out of position, allowing forwards to get in behind, but his pace allowed him to recover on at least one of the occasions.

He also didn’t show much in the attacking third, although I would argue this was largely to do with Levi not choosing to pass him the ball as he was always an option. On the one occasion he had to get into the box and put a ball across it was unfortunately wasted.

Rating: B1

Unfortunately he faded out a little in the second half other wise he would have been in the A band, but I’ll be watching him carefully in the future as he impressed me a lot. I’d like to see more from him going forwards as he seemed to have the technical ability to be a dangerous attacking fullback, but he just didn’t see the ball enough in the attacking third to show it.


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