AIK are the current champions but have evidently had a difficult pre season and cup run. They had a difficult transfer window with significant losses when both central defenders Robin Jansson (25/2) and Alexander Milosevic (27/0) left the club. Moreover, their midfield engine Kristoffer Olsson (29/5) left to Krasnodar. A bit surprisingly, they also sent striker Nicolas Stefanelli (18/6) on loan, leaving them a bit short of attacking options.
New arrivals include three central defenders – Estonian center back Karol Mets from NAC Breda, Daniel Granli from Stabaek, and Magnar Odegaard from Tromso. In general it has to be considered weaker than previous. There has been a high squad turnover in AIK, which is not ideal if they aim to battle as title contenders and qualify for Champions League later in the season. It takes time to sync the team with so many significant players and there are indeed some question marks.
AIK are known for their structure on the pitch which makes it difficult to penetrate for opponents. They have looked weaker than usual and let in surprisingly many goals. In other words, we have a champion team with question a few question marks who will be under pressure to perform right from the start.
Ostersunds sounds more familiar after their European adventure, and have stuck to the same ingredients as before, which means an Englishman at the sideline in Ian Burchnall and made some interesting signings. The former Manchester United talent, Ravel Morrison surprisingly signed for Ostersund, being the most hyped name to arrive to Sweden during this transfer window.
As always, Ostersunds play an offensive football regardless of opponents. Last seasons assist winner, Hosam Aiesh is always a threat on the wing and likes to take on defenders. Striker Dino Islamovic scored nine goals last season, and will be accompanied by new arrivals Charlie Colkett from Chelseas U23 squad. Overall, it is an exciting looking squad who can surprise.
The game will take place on natural grass, in front of a big demanding crowd. All pressure will be on AIK to win, but with many new faces and some opening round nerves, I do not see the home win come easily. Therefore, with such offensive visitors – I like the chances of this ending up with goals in both nets.