Every May that sinking feeling comes; that final whistle blows and your team’s season is over and it won’t be back until August. Sometimes that void is filled by an international tournament but it’s never quite the same. June and July seem like they have sixty days each, transfer rumours and deals keep your appetite whetted but you cannot wait to see your team run out again with all the hopes and expectations of a new season ready to be fulfilled.

So spare a thought for those of us in Sweden who have had to wait since the start of November for a new season to begin. After almost five months of waiting for Allsvenskan football to return, this weekend saw the first round of fixtures of the 2017 season get underway.

The opening weekend had some very exciting games and none more so than when IFK Göteborg hosted Malmö FF on Saturday in the Mesta Mästarmötet derby. Sweden’s two most successful sides are in some way similar to Manchester United and Liverpool. IFK held the record for the most Swedish titles for a long time with 18 until Malmö overhauled them last season winning their 19th title. The same fixture last season was abandoned after 77 minutes when an IFK fan threw a flare onto the pitch but it was a slightly more sedate 1-1 this season with IFK taking the lead only to be pegged back.

This season should bring an exciting title race between AIK and Malmö with other clubs like IFK Göteborg, IFK Norrköping, Djurgården, Häcken and Östersund hoping to get into the mix. Down at the bottom the newly promoted teams will likely battle with GIF Sundsvall to avoid the drop. Last season the league averaged over 3 goals a game and saw a number of stars emerge including the ‘next ZlatanAlexander Isak who has since left AIK to move to Borussia Dortmund.

So if you want excitement, entertainment and a league that will be able to fill the void left by the big European Leagues over summer then look no further as Box to Box previews each team; highlighting where we think they will finish, who their star player is as well as young players to watch.

AFC Eskilstuna:

Who? After winning promotion last season Eskilstuna will be hoping to cement a place in the Allsvenskan. Over half of promoted teams stay up in their first season in Sweden’s top flight but Eskilstuna’s squad lacks depth and they will likely struggle.

Last Season: 2nd in Superettan

Star Player: Emmanuel Frimpong, the ex-Arsenal player will likely be important for Eskilstuna so they will be hoping he stays fit.

One to Watch: Goalkeeper Tim Erlandsson (20), is on loan from Nottingham Forest and has represented Sweden from U-17 up to U21 Level.

This Season? 16th

 

AIK:

Who? One of Stockholm’s three top flight clubs, they ran Malmö close last year and will be hoping to win a sixth Swedish title.

Last Season: 2nd

Star Player: Henok Goitom, the striker scored 18 goals for AIK in 2015 before an ill-fated move to Getafe, likely to be one of the league’s top scorers.

One to Watch: Kristoffer Olsson (21), another former Arsenal youth player gracing the Allsvenskan, the attacking midfielder cost around €800,000 which is a significant amount for an Allsvenskan Club but as newspaper Aftonbladet put it ‘quality costs money.’

This Season? 2nd

 

BK Häcken:

Who? Gothenburg’s second team strengthened well over the summer and will hope to compete for a Europa League place

Last Season: 10th

Star Player: Winger Paulinho has dazzled crowds at the Bravida arena scoring 20 goals in just 25 games.

One to Watch: Joel Andersson (20), recently called up to the Swedish U-21 squad, the right back is hoping to add to the 47 appearances he has already made for Häcken despite his tender age.  

This Season? 7th

 

Djurgårdens IF:

Who? Another Stockholm club, they have worked hard to bring back some of their old heroes who are returning after successful careers in some of Europe’s big leagues including Jonas Olsson, Andreas Isaksson and Kim Källström.

Last Season: 7th

Star Player: Kim Källstrom, don’t laugh Arsenal fans, Källström is one of Sweden’s best players of recent years and his signing represents a genuine coup for Djurgården.

One to Watch: Kerim Mbati (22), plays out on the wing and broke into the Swedish national team in January of 2016 but unfortunately suffered a ruptured ACL on his debut, he will be hoping to put that behind him this season and impress.

This Season? 3rd

 

GIF Sundsvall:

Who? The second most northerly club in the league are supported by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, they struggled last season and are likely to struggle this season as well, will be hoping their eight new signings bed in fast.

Last Season: 13th

Star Player: Eric Larsson, the attacking full-back will be key if Sundsvall hope to stay up.

One to Watch: Peter Wilson (20), the former U-19 international will need to chip in with goals for Sundsvall.

This Season? 15th

 

Halmstads BK:

Who? Promoted last season after winning the promotion/relegation playoff against Henrik Larsson’s Helsingborgs they will be hoping to adapt quickly and become a solid Allsvenskan side.

Last Season: 3rd in Superettan

Star Player: Alexander Ruud Tveter, the Norwegian striker’s goals were very important in Halmstads promotion last season.

One to Watch: Sead Hakšabanović (17), the year old attacking midfielder is already playing for Sweden’s U-19’s and has had a trial at Manchester United.

This Season? 14th

 

Hammarby IF:

Who? Despite rarely finishing anywhere other than mid-table Hammarby remain Sweden’s best-attended team and with a new manager in place they will be looking to climb the table and finish somewhere in the top eight.

Last Season: 11th

Star Player: Jiloan Hamad, the attacking winger joined from Hoffenheim and will give Hammarby creativity and pace on the right flank.

One to Watch: Joseph Aidoo (21), the Ghanaian centre-back impressed after coming in halfway through last season and will aim to continue that form.

This Season? 10th

 

IF Elfsborg:

Who? Swedish Champions in 2012 Elfsborg have struggled to hit those heights again but have become ever present in the top half of the table.

Last Season: 5th

Star Player: Alex Dyer began his career at Northampton town and was signed by Elfsborg after impressing last season at Östersunds.

One to Watch: Jesper Karlsson (18), with 7 Allsvenskan goals to his name already the young attacker will hope to kick on at Elfsborg having joined from Falkenbergs.

This Season? 8th

 

IFK Göteborg:

Who? Historically Sweden’s most successful team, they fell behind Malmö last season and with only one title since 1996 are a long way from their former glories.

Last Season: 4th

Star Player:  Soren Rieks, the experienced danish midfielder has impressed at IFK since moving from NEC in 2014.

One to Watch: Pontus Dahlberg (18), despite being very young, the goalkeeper is likely to be IFK’s number one this season.

This Season? 4th

 

IFK Norrköping:

Who? They ‘did a Leicester’ in 2015, after finishing four points from the relegation playoff place in 2014, they surprised everyone and won the title the next year.

Last Season: 3rd

Star Player: Sebastian Andersson, the striker made his debut for the national team this January scoring 2 goals against Slovakia, will hope to take this form back to his club side.

One to Watch: Linus Wahlqvist (20), good right backs are hard to find but Wahlqvist is definitely one, unlikely to be in the Swedish league for much longer.

This Season? 5th

 

IK Sirius:

Who? Promoted to Allsvenskan after over four decades of being away, the club from Sweden’s fourth largest city, Uppsala, are excited to welcome the big time back.

Last Season: 1st in Superettan

Star Player: Philip Haglund, signed from Hammarby to bring some top-tier experience to Sirius.

One to Watch: Kingsley Sarfo (22), was named the best player in the Superettan last season and will aim to show his class in a higher league.

This Season? 13th

 

Jönköpings Södra IF:

Who? After being promoted in 2015 they finished 12th in their first season back in the Allsvenskan, second-year syndrome often affects many Swedish clubs though.

Last Season: 12th

Star Player: Daryl Smylie, the Northern Irish attacking midfielder came through Newcastle’s academy and provides the creativity behind the strikers for Jönköpings.

One to Watch: Árni Vilhjálmsson (22), part of the talented crop of Icelandic footballers the striker joined for this season from Norwegian side Lillestrom.

This Season? 12th

 

Kalmar FF:

Who? Allsvenskan winners in 2008; Kalmar, after being a bit of a yo-yo club in the early noughties, have established themselves as a solid Allsvenskan club.

Last Season: 6th

Star Player: Rasmus Elm, the club captain began his career at Kalmar in 2005 and returned in 2015 after six years away from the club at CKSA Moscow and AZ Alkmaar.

One to Watch: Ismael (22), the Brazilian central midfielder bring creativity to the side playing alongside the more defensive Elm.

This Season? 9th

 

Malmö FF:

Who? After winning the title last season Malmö became Sweden’s most successful team, and successive appearances in the Champions League group stages in 2014 and ’15 swelled the club coffers and allowed them to assemble a very impressive squad.

Last Season: 1st

Star Player: Markus Rosenberg, despite turning 35 last September he remains the clubs’ star and will be aiming to win his third Allsvenskan title at Malmö.

One to Watch: Mattias Svanberg (18), a recent Aftonbladet article declared Malmö’s academy a ‘talent factory’ striker Svanberg might be its best recent product his two goals on his Allsvenskan debut last season secured the title for his side.

This Season? 1st

 

Örebro SK:

Who? A really steady team, they finished third in 2010 but since then have become ever-present in the middle of the table.

Last Season: 9th

Star Player: Nahir Besara, returned to Sweden last year after a spell in Turkey, he scored four goals from thirteen games in Örebro’s midfield last season.

One to Watch: Jonathan Lundberg (19), the attacker will hope to establish himself as a first-team player this season.

This Season? 11th

 

Östersunds FK:

Who? Despite the fact they were only promoted in 2015 and finished a creditable 8th in their first Allsvenskan season, their owner called 8th embarrassing and said they were going to win the league, no pressure then for English manager Graham Potter.

Last Season: 8th

Star Player: Saman Ghoddos, made it into double figures last season for goals and is a decent bet to repeat that feat this season.

One to Watch: Curtis Edwards (23), after coming through Middlesbrough’s academy, the English midfielder joined midway through last season from a third division side and scored three goals in twelve Allsvenskan games.

This Season? 6th