Based in Oslo, Vålerenga are one of the biggest clubs in Norway. Historically, they have 5 league titles and 4 Norwegian Cup titles to their name. However, the last time they won any silverware was 13 years ago and the last time they won the Eliteserien was way back in 2004. The last decade has been fairly rough. From 2011-2019 they failed to even finish higher than 6th in the league, which was not a good record for a club of their size.

The signs are that a new wave of talented players is ready to propel Vålerenga back to the top again. Experienced manager Dag Eilev Fagermo was appointed ahead of the 2020 season and he led them to a third-place finish and a bronze medal spot. This was their highest league position since 2010 and this summer, as a result, they will be entering European qualifiers for the first time in over a decade. The real questions now are what exactly has Fagermo done to turn their fortunes around and what do they need to do in order to reach the next step of ultimately winning another Eliteserien title?

Tactics & Style

Fagermo spent 12 years managing Odd BK and was always known as a religious 4-3-3 merchant. Nothing has changed here at Vålerenga and that will always be his system. The focal point upfront has always been a complete forward type of physical striker who can pretty much do everything in that position. Historically at Odd, Fagermo thrived when he had the likes of Oliver Occean, Frode Johnsen & Torgeir Borven at his disposal. The addition of Vidar Kjartansson midway through last season appeared to be the answer at Vålerenga.

Fagermo always prefers his wingers to be more inside forwards or inverted wingers – or at very least one of them anyway. He prefers his fullbacks to stay wider and operate quite attack-minded, always looking for the overlap and chances to cross the ball into the penalty area. At Vålerenga, he possesses the incredibly talented Aron Dønnum and Christian Borchgrevink which makes their right-hand side arguably the best in the league. The midfield trio in a Fagermo system are quite simple. There is always a deeper player, capable of holding anchor and doing the simple things well. Usually, a tougher type of guy who isn’t afraid to put a challenge in. There is usually at least one player in his midfield effectively given a free role and a license to roam forward by making runs or dribbling into the penalty area.

Fagermo doesn’t try to re-write the footballing tactics book and in many ways stays quite traditional in approach. But sometimes this simplicity and clear direction is exactly what a team needs.

The Match Analyst  valerenga-tactics-wyscout-1-1030x994
Typical Vålerenga 4-3-3 formation and average positions for each player.

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