Vålerenga Fotball – Match Report vs Sandefjord Fotball 18/10/20

Vålerenga were comfortable 3-0 winners away to Sandefjord, dominating possession and limiting the opposition to few chances in the game. Vålerenga lined up in a 4-3-3 formation whilst Sandefjord used a 4-2-3-1 system, with both sides favouring a short passing game but Vålerenga enjoying more individual quality in the team. In truth, Vålerenga should have won by more having missed a penalty in the first-half and created a number of good chances throughout the match.


  • 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, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Aron Dønnum

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 20/04/1998
  • Current Club: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Career: Vålerenga Fotball, Hamarkameratene (L)
  • Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Dønnum is undoubtedly the focal point for Vålerenga as the team looks to him to make things happen, as shown by his goal and assist in this game. He plays on the right wing but will always look to cut inside onto his stronger left foot when he receives the ball, predominantly looking to use his excellent ball striking ability and create a shooting opportunity for himself on the edge of the box.

He is extremely dangerous from these positions, with the ability to hit shots with pace and accuracy and consistently find the corners of the goal. He is an extremely one-footed player and this can make him predictable as defenders know he will be looking to cut inside rather than take them on down the outside. However, predicting it and stopping it are two different things and Dønnum is still incredibly difficult to defend against, with the speed of movement and close control to create space for himself in congested areas by encouraging defenders to commit to challenges and getting them off balance.

He is a very effective ball-carrier and can progress the ball from deep with his pace, skill, and agility that allows him to beat opponents and slalom through challenges. He is intelligent with the ball at his feet, knowing when to delay the action and wait for the right time to shoot, as seen by his goal where he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and faked to shoot a few times, sitting two defenders down and creating space to fire past the goalkeeper.

He can, however, be found guilty of trying to do too much or holding on to the ball for too long at times and would benefit from recognising when to keep things simple and recycle possession rather than trying to make things happen every time he receives the ball. He has the ability to get into great positions but his final ball was often lacking in this game and, as is often the case with young players, it is a case of bringing his decision-making up to the same level as his ability.

Rating – A1

Dønnum is clearly very confident at this level and is a key player in one of the best teams in the league. He was linked with a move to both Italy and Turkey in the transfer window and, although his game still needs to mature slightly, I think he is ready to test his abilities at a higher level.

Henrik Bjørdal

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 04/02/1997
  • Current Club: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Career: Aalesunds FK, Brighton & Hove Albion, IFK Göteburg (L), Zulte Waregem, Vålerenga Fotball
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Bjørdal played as the most advanced of the midfield three and was very impressive in this game, covering an incredible amount of ground and getting the assist for the first goal, as well as winning the penalty in the first-half that was eventually missed by Vidar Örn Kjartansson.

He is a fantastic athlete, tall and strong with a great engine and an impressive work-rate on and off the ball that saw him provide both attacking and defensive support. His movement off the ball caused problems for the Sandefjord defence, with his runs in behind often going undetected and eventually resulting in the first goal where he received a pass over the top of the defence and pulled the ball back across the box for a tap-in.

He also showed his technical ability with accurate passes out wide and into the channels for the wingers to run onto. His passing interchanges with Dønnum down the right side of the pitch were very effective at progressing the ball up the pitch, combined with Bjørdal’s awareness and body orientation when receiving the ball to both bring it under control and create space with one movement that saw him open up the game and drive the team forward.

Rating – A1

Bjørdal is clearly enjoying his football after making the move back to Norway and is a top performer at this level. He shouldn’t be in a rush to make another move yet as he will be benefitting from playing regularly and performing well at this level but another crack at a higher level may not be far away.

Osame Sahraoui

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 11/06/2001
  • Current Club: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Career: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sahraoui played well in this game, starting in central midfield before moving to the left wing for the second-half. His impact in the game diminished after he moved out wide and he seems to be better suited to playing centrally as he is a player who needs to see a lot of the ball in order to get the best out of him and maximise his technical ability. He has a lovely technique, intricacy, and delicacy to his game that makes him very attractive to watch.

He is just 5’7 and has a very slight build but he is very press resistant, using his balance and low centre of gravity to retain possession and shield the ball from opponents. He also has the vision and passing ability to open up a game and create chances for teammates, which in the first-half mainly came through him picking up the ball on the edge of the box and finding runners in behind with well-weighted passes over the top, as seen in the build-up to the opening goal.

His ball retention ability means he draws a lot of fouls and very rarely loses possession with the ball at his feet. However, he needs to take more care with his one-touch passes and lay-offs as multiple times in this match he slowed the game down or put the team under unnecessary pressure with a heavy or inaccurate one-touch pass. He will also need to improve defensively if he is to be a regular in the midfield three as, despite showing good aggression, he was not able to assert himself and lost the majority of the midfield duels he entered.

Rating – A2

A full game in the centre of midfield would probably have seen Sahraoui given an A1 but a quiet second-half meant it was difficult to pass full judgement on whether he is ready for a move just yet. The potential is certainly there, though, and he is developing well as a first-team regular, hopefully we will see more of him centrally towards the end of the Eliteserien season.

Christian Borchgrevink

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 11/05/1999
  • Current Club: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Career: Vålerenga Fotball, Hamarkameratene (L), Notodden FK (L)
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Borchgrevink had a fairly quiet game, enjoying the attacking freedom to overlap down the right into the space vacated by Dønnum cutting inside but not being tested too often defensively. He was quite conservative with his passing from deep, opting for backwards or lateral passes for the most part rather than looking to progress the ball up the pitch. However, when receiving the ball in more advanced areas his delivery from wide positions was dangerous and he also provided a threat with his delivery from set-pieces.

Defensively, he liked to have a starting position high up the pitch where he would look to step in aggressively and win possession back before moves could develop. He was generally successful in doing so, showing a good reading the game and timing his tackles well, although he was late to step up on a couple of occasions which led to him being caught out of position and space being left in behind.

He was also guilty of getting too tight to opponents receiving the ball with their back to goal and needs to give himself an extra yard to avoid being turned too easily. Picking the right moments to step up and knowing when to hold the defensive line would benefit him and help him to avoid being caught out of position and leaving too much space out wide, which at a higher level will be unforgivingly exploited by the pace and movement of attacking players.

Rating – B1

Borchgrevink did not show as much of his attacking ability in this match as has been displayed at other times this season but he is a solid fixture of this team and certainly looks comfortable at this level, playing his part in defence to earn a comfortable clean sheet.

Kristoffer Klaesson

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 27/11/2000
  • Current Club: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Career: Vålerenga Fotball
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Preferred foot: Left

Klaesson had a very quiet game and collected one of the easiest clean sheets he will earn this season, with Sandefjord having just 4 shots on target but none of sufficient quality to test the young goalkeeper. He made a couple of comfortable saves in the first-half with minimal fuss but was rarely called into action after that.

He is not the most commanding or assertive in goal, perhaps understandably given his age and lack of experience, and he seemed to prefer to stay on his line and allow his defence to deal with balls into the box rather than come out and claim them himself. His distribution was not the best in this game, often looking to go long but seeming to rely on putting the ball into the right areas rather than picking out individuals and so was largely inaccurate with his passes.

Rating – B2

Very little to go on from this game but to be a starting goalkeeper at just 19 years old certainly says a lot about the faith that the manager has in his ability. Kept a clean sheet but was not troubled so would need to watch again to pass judgement.

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