Friday, September 18, 2020

Prediction: Aberdeen vs NSI Runavik

Verdict: Aberdeen win to nil

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

Starting their Europa League qualifying campaign in midweek, Aberdeen will welcome Faroese outfit NSI Runavik to an empty Pittodrie Stadium on Thursday night.

Aberdeen

Starting with the hosts, while Aberdeen might have opened the new Premiership campaign with a close-fought 1-0 defeat against Rangers and a string of off-field issues, the Reds have managed to bounce back in much-needed fashion. Managing to hold onto their lead against Livingston last weekend and managing to leave Pittodrie with a 2-1 victory, Derek McInnes’ men have landed back-to-back top-flight contests and will just be desperate to carry that momentum onto Thursday’s European showdown. Falling out of the Europa League qualifiers at the third round in five of the last six seasons, McInnes has been open about his side finding some stability on home soil. While they might have managed to hold onto the lead against Livingston on Sunday afternoon, Aberdeen have managed to win just a pair of their last nine home fixtures across all competitions continuing on from last year’s interrupted campaign. Never the less, knowing that tougher test await further down the line, the Dons will be confident of making a real statement against Thursday’s Faroese opponents.

Team News

A foot injury means Niall McGinn is “touch and go”. The Northern Ireland winger missed the weekend win over Livingston and will be given every chance to prove his fitness.

Defender Andrew Considine returns from suspension, but midfielder Funso Ojo is banned after his red card against Rijeka last season. Craig Bryson is missing out with a calf strain.

NSI Runavik

As for the visitors, while NSI Runavik might make the trip to Pittodrie as a landslide underdog with many from across Europe on Thursday night, the Faroese outfit should be boosted by a rampant display last time out. Opening up this year’s qualifying campaign with a 5-1 drumming at home against Welsh side Barry Town, that was the bounce that Head Coach Glenn Ståhl had been demanding after what has been a worrying run of form for the Yellow and Blacks. Still in an uphill battle to secure a top-three finish in the Meistaradeildin, NSI were last seen on domestic duties being hit with a 2-1 defeat at home against Víkingur. In fact, enduring their worst domestic run in recent memory and some feeling that there are real problems behind the scenes, the former Faroese champions have managed to pick up just three points over their last four Meistaradeildin appearances. Even more worrying for Ståhl, his squad will make the trip to Scotland on Thursday night knowing that his side have lost all 11 of their Europa League matchups on foreign soil.

Team News

Ahead of their trip to Pittodrie on Thursday, NSI boss Glenn Ståhl has no fresh injury concerns or suspensions to worry about.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Aberdeen have fallen out of the Europa League qualifiers at the third round in five of the last six seasons.
  • Four of the Dons’ last five contests at Pittodrie have seen over 2.5 goals by the final whistle.
  • NSI Runavik have lost all 11 of their Europa League qualifiers on foreign soil.
  • Thursday’s guests have also shipped at least a pair of strikes in each of those 11 European defeats on their travels.
  • The last time NSI faced off against Scottish opposition, they were hit with a 6-1 drumming against Hibernian.

Conclusion

Knowing that sterner tests lay down the line, Aberdeen should be confident of making a real statement as they begin their European adventure on Thursday night. Landing back-to-back Premiership victories, including that 2-1 win against Livingston on Sunday, there is no doubt that the Dons should have far too much for their Faroese guests. In the midst of their worst domestic run in recent memory, NSI Runavik hold what is a shocking European record while on foreign soil. Remarkably, Glenn Ståhl’s men have lost all 11 of their qualifying contests on their travels, a run highlighted by a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Hibernian in 2018.

Verdict: Aberdeen win to nil

Best Odds: 20/21

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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