IF Elfsborg – Match Report vs Mjällby AIF (04/04/2022)

IF Elfsborg couldn’t get the start they wanted to their 2022 Allsvenskan campaign. Last year’s number four in the Swedish first tier faced Mjällby in their opening match of the season. Elfsborg lined up in a flat 4-3-3 formation and controlled most of the match. Mjällby played a 3-5-2 and was happy to give the initiative to the home side. IF Elfsborg had a few dangerous moments but had a difficult time creating a lot of chances. When they started taking more risks in the second half they played right in the hand of the visitors who scored a goal from a quick counter-attack. Around ten minutes later Mjällby doubled their lead after a cross was poorly defended and headed in.

Ratings

  • 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 in this match

Jacob Ondrejka

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 02/09/2002
  • Current club: IF Elfsborg
  • Career: Landskrona BoIS, IF Elfsborg
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary position: Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Jacob Ondrejka played as Elfsborg’s right winger for most of the game but switched to the left for the last thirty minutes of the game. Ondrejka showed some really positive things but Elfsborg struggled to get the ball to their forwards so we didn’t see that much of him. When Elfsborg had possession both wingers positioned themselves fairly wide but Ondrejka would drift to the middle more often to pick up the ball.

The 19-year old winger was most dangerous with his runs in behind which caused a lot of problems for the Mjällby defenders. He did well to stay in the blind spot of his opponent and timed his run well. There were two controversial moments where the winger could’ve gotten a penalty for his team but for the rest, Ondrejka’s run didn’t create that much for his side. The 19-year old also did well drifting towards the middle a few times, when his side had possession on the left side. In the example below he smartly moved towards the middle, received the ball and played a great first-time pass to Okkels.

Technically Jacob Ondrejka looked really strong. He showed some really good first touches, easily controlling difficult balls in small spaces. He also took heavier touches forward when he had the space, which allowed him to get up to his top speed easier. His dribbling looked very good as well keeping the ball very close to him in small spaces, even though he got dispossessed a few times. Ondrejka seems to prefer his right foot but is definitely not afraid of using his left foot either. He dribbles with it, plays passes with it and even tried to cut inside to his left foot to shoot with it. This combined with his great agility can make him a real nightmare to defend.

Physically Ondrejka still has enough room to improve though, which isn’t a weird thing for a 19-year-old. He is quite the lightweight standing at 5’11” tall and could do with some more muscle mass. He doesn’t seem to have the highest top speed but Ondrejka looked rapid on the first few meters.

Rating – A2

I’m curious to see more of Jacob Ondrejka this season. He is a big talent who could definitely make a nice move in the future.

Noah Söderberg

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 20/08/2001
  • Date of birth: 20
  • Current club: IF Elfsborg
  • Career: IF Elfsborg
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

After six appearances in the Allsvenskan as a substitute last season, Noah Söderberg instantly got a spot in the first XI in the opening match of the season after impressing in the Swedish cup in March. The 20-year-old played as the right-sided centre midfielder in Elfsborg 4-3-3, just slightly more offensive than André Römer who played in the middle. Söderberg played a decent match but got subbed off a minute after Mjällby scored in the 55th minute.

The Swedish midfielder had a bit of a nervous start with two unsuccessful forward passes but then grew in the game more. Söderborg was very active and saw a lot of the ball. He would often drop back or move wide to be able to receive the pass and then look for a forward pass. That was one of the things I most liked about him is that he always tried to play forward. His first touch allowed him to turn easily and he scanned well looking for his teammates. He then played good low passes forward and also showed that he has the passing range to give play some good switches to the other side. Mjällby barely put a lot of pressure but there were a few moments where Söderberg needed a bit too much time, which made him lose possession. When his team lost possession though he was very alert and knew when he had the space to move forward to press.

Like Ondrejka Söderberg has some steps to make physically. The 20-year-old is quite tall probably standing around 6’2” but has quite a lean build. He wasn’t afraid of the physical side of the game though doing quite well in his defensive duels this match. His pace was a bit more of a question mark for me though. He seemed to turn quite slow when defending and struggled on the first few meters.

Rating – B2

A promising debut for Noah Söderberg who can become a real asset for this Elfsborg side. I still have some doubts about how he does under pressure and his physique though.

Oliver Zandén

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Age: 14/08/2001
  • Date of birth: 20
  • Current club: IF Elfsborg
  • Career: IF Elfsborg
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Oliver Zandén played together with Noah Söderberg in Elfsborg’s academy and got his place in the first team at the end of last season when he started in four league matches. With the regular left-back Simon Strand now in the squad Zandén also started against Mjällby. The left-back had a busy night and probably won’t be very happy with his performance. Mainly his role during Mjällby’s second goal was a bit questionable. Zandén looked very poor in his duel against Mamudo Moro and then seemed to give up. Moro’s cross was then headed in by the other striker Löfquist. This goal definitely wasn’t only Zandén’s fault as Elfsborg’s left centre back Maudo Jarjué should’ve been tracking Moro but he could’ve done much better.

Looking at the rest of his match Zandén was quite average against Mjällby. The 20-year old stands around 5’10” and physically doesn’t really stand out. He didn’t look very fast or strong, which affected him offensively and defensively. Offensively his crosses were quite poor. He put quite some balls in but didn’t seem to have a plan with them and just hoped for the best. Most often he just played it quite safe and played a lot of passes back to his centre back instead of looking forward, which slowed down the tempo quite a bit. Defensively he did okay overall, ignoring Mjällby’s second goal. He was patient when defending and made his tackle at the right time. I missed some aggression in his duels though.

Rating – C

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