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We can safely say that unlike Grieg, Ibsen, Munch, Hamsun or in relatively more modern times Liv Ullman (a personal favorite), Jo Nesbø (a Goonerholics’ community favorite) or Magnus Carlsen, the Arctic harbor town of Bodø is not something by which Norwegians are likely to introduce their country.  With a population of less than 50,000, this town, one of the northernmost in the world, is not something your regular tourist to Norway may plan on visiting. However, like many such apparently nondescript places in the world under the surface of the quotidian, you can find stories and facts by which to remember it. 

One such fact I found is that it is the only city inside the Arctic Circle to have a temperate four-season climate, with highest and lowest recorded temperatures being 30.7 Celsius and -18.5 Celsius. For a Bostonian that’s a temperate range indeed. Dear reader, if this fact doesn’t impress you enough to stamp its presence in your memory forever (or at least until the next drink) you should definitely be able to remember the diplomatic scandal of the “Bodø Affair” from 1818 that rocked the then dual monarchy of Sweden-Norway over an English company engaged in – not an entirely unusual phenomenon in those days — illegal trading in Bodø and creating lasting disharmony between the different populations of the country. 

Then there is the football club, FK Bodø/Glimt, who having been formed 106 years ago, have only recently started to experience sustained success in the context of the entire country though they had always been one of the strongest teams in the Northern Norway set-up. Whereas Norway’s domestic top tier league started in 1937, being called Norgesserien back then, the first participation of Bodø/Glimt came in 1963, in the third division. They eventually earned promotion to the first division in 1977. Since then, except for a sustained period in the second and third divisions between 1981 to 1992, and some other relegations in between, they have mostly played in Norway’s top tier – now called the Eliteserien, having been the Tippeligaen until 2016 – winning the domestic top league for the first time in 2020, and then again last season in 2021. Currently in the 2022 Eliteserien, after the end of the 24th match out of 30, Bodø/Glimt is sandwiched in second place between Rosenborg and Molde, the two more traditional superpowers of Norway’s domestic football, trailing 15 points behind Molde. 

As domestic league champions, Bodø did qualify as a potential group candidate for the 2022-23 Champions League, and made good progress all the way up to the final play-off round – defeating Faroese, Northern Irish and Lithuanian champions along the way – only to lose out to Dinamo Zagreb. Last year also saw their greatest European success, going all the way to the quarter-finals of the Europa Conference League, losing out to the eventual champions, Roma. Right now, they are standing tall at the top of Europa League Group A, having beaten FC Zurich 2-1 at home after a 1-1 draw away at PSV Eindhoven in the opening week, when Arsenal beat Zurich 2-1 away at Switzerland thanks to goals by Eddie Nketiah and the debutant Brazilian Marquinhos. Not having played in the second week, Arsenal is catching up from the second position in the group, albeit with one game in hand.    

FK Bodø/Glimt was named as FK Glimt when being formed in 1916, “Glimt” in Norwegian translates to “flash”, and their home kit is all yellow. It does conjure up images of a fast, high-pressing team with rapid movements on and off the ball, but it is the boys in the resplendent red-and-white that we hope will be upon the opposition in a flash, sending chilly Arctic waves of fear and trembling down their footballing spine, and sending them back with memories of wonderful hospitality away from the match, contrasted with memories of being completely dominated for the ninety minutes. I think topping the group should be a non-negotiable goal for Arsenal, to avoid having to play a Champions League group stage third-placed team to progress further in Europa. 

Arsenal has met clubs from Norway only on three occasions during many years of European campaigns: defeating Strømsgodset  (if you didn’t know, that is where our captain Martin Ødegaard started his senior career at the age of 15)  away 1-3 and home 4-0 in the old European Cup second round in 1971, drawing away with Rosenborg 1-1 and then beating them 5-1 at home in the 04/05 CL group stage, and just a couple of years back beating Molde 4-1 at the Emirates before losing away 0-3 at the group stage of the 20/21 Europa. A couple of victories against this year’s Norwegian opponents in consecutive weeks would set us up nicely to finish at the top of the group. 

However, it will not be easy. Bodø is a high energy possession-based team, playing in an attacking 4-3-3 format, and they produced some impressive performances in Europe last year, in addition to winning their domestic league. This season, even though they have underachieved compared to last season’s high watermark, they are still unbeaten in the group and will play with enough confidence. I found this tactical analysis – done earlier in the summer when the Norway domestic leagues were in full flight – about how their performances this season have dropped off compared to last season, and it is worth a read, if only to familiarize yourself with the team and their style:

 https://totalfootballanalysis.com/team-analysis/bodo-glimt-2022-their-struggles-this-season-tactical-analysis-tactics .

They try to push the opposition in deeper blocks and focus on keeping a 4-3-3 structure in the opposition’s half. They depend on their trademark counter-pressing to avoid being exposed to fast transitions, but against high quality oppositions who are willing to move up and take risks with the tactical security of technically strong players, the lack of pace in their backline is exploitable. 

Ødegaard is such a strong technical player and it might be tempting for Mikel to start him against his fellow Norwegians, pushing the versatile Vieira to play the Martinelli role, as ESR is out at least until the season resumes at the end of the World Cup. However, I think with Reiss being fully fit and a key weekend match against Liverpool looming on the horizon, and given Vieria’s own technical abilities, he would select this starting eleven:    


Tomiyasu – Holding – Gabriel – Tierney

Vieira – Lokonga – Xhaka

Marquinhos – Nketiah – Nelson 

With Lokonga playing a little deeper than the nominal 4-3-3 might suggest. Ødegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Jesús, Saliba, Partey and Zinchenko should all be on the bench as an insurance policy, in addition to the smattering of academy hopefuls. 

If we can find an early rhythm and convert some of our initial chances, we should be able to win comfortably. I am hoping for a 3-1 victory. 

Come on Arsenal!

24 Drinks to “Arctic Flash in North London Autumn”

  1. 1
    bt8 says:

    With such temperatures winters in Bodo must not be mouldy. 🤔

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    Much as they might want to be in the position of Molde at the moment.

    Great research and entertaining preview Herr Doktor.

  3. 3
    scruzgooner says:

    stellar preview, dr. faustus. i look forward to the flash in the pan they make, and to arsenal preparing for sunday with a win on thursday.

  4. 4
    bt8 says:

    All respect to Bodo-Glimt for their achievements of recent seasons, especially for last season’s home 6-1 demolition of Jose Mourinho’s Roma, the heaviest defeat in the career of the odious one.

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks Dr F., an excellent preview as always.
    Side looks about right though I’d like to see Cedric at RB and Tomi in the middle if Cedric is fit. Missing Moneny. Anyway, Bodo look a reasonable team and we will make a lot of changes so any win will do for me

  6. 6
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks, Dr F, for a superbly researched preview that gives us a clear understanding of the tonight’s otherwise mysterious opponents from the frozen north. Hitherto my only knowledge of them was their astonishing thumping of Roma last year but your preview and the excellent link clarifies their history and threat. Nonetheless, if we have progressed as far as we believe we have, we should beat them, though to do so we may need to leaven the callow yoof with more experience than you have selected, if only from the bench.

    I would play Cedric at RB and move Tomi to LCB. Notwithstanding Xhaka’s importance this season, I would start Ødegaard as the ‘experienced head’ in midfield rather than Xhaka (he must be very keen to play against a Norwegian side) and, like you, ask Sambi to play as the deep midfielder with Vieira at ‘8’. I like that front three for pace (which from your link will apparently trouble the Bodø CBs) but, barring Nketiah, they may lack the guile to break down a deep block. I expect to see Saka and/or Jesús in the second half.

    3-1 to the Arsenal.


  7. 7
    Trev says:

    Well researched preview, Dr F, giving us a good glimts of what we are up against.

    These “unknown “ teams that have a relatively sudden rise up their leagues can be quite difficult if they have had recent significant injections of cash into the team. I’ve no idea who plays for them – whether they have any “names “ in the squad but their high press and less quick back line could be good or us – as long as we are better at it than they are.

  8. 8
    Bathgooner says:

    It seems that Cedric is only now returning to training after the injury sustained against Zurich so as you were, for the backline. He may make the bench but is unlikely to start.

  9. 9
    North Bank Ned says:

    Informative review, Dr F. Kudos on getting Edvard Grieg and Liv Ullman in the same sentence. I have always liked Ibsen. No one writes rain better.

    Bodo/Glimt’s coach, Kjetil Knutsen, is well-regarded and seems to be mentioned every time a Premier League vacancy arises, the new Graham Potter in that regard. He will have them set up to provide a tough game for our second-string. We should overcome, even if it may take the calvary to come off the bench.

  10. 10
    Bathgooner says:

    Ned, I see what you did there! *Offers coat*

  11. 11
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words.

    Ned, I love Ibsen too. Strindberg too. Sweden and Norway have such rich theatre tradition … the great Bergman movies wouldn’t have been possible without those great actors like Liv Ullman, Erland Josephson et al. steeped in the theatre tradition, Bergman himself as well.

    I agree with what many of you said about Martin wanting to play the match and Mikel using him today. But I just think it would be better to keep him on the bench and bring him on if necessary keeping in mind the Sunday game. Granit is typically more resilient and is physically better suited to play games every three days. In our away match at Norway next Thursday Ødegaard should start given his likely familiarity with the grounds and the next weekend’s match being less intense.

    Does Gabriel need a break?

  12. 12
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Doctor F. I don’t know what to expect, spent most of the day thinking today was Friday, and also that we were playing away.
    Looking forward to seeing the B-team play. It’s a luxury we hopefully won’t be able to afford during the next few seasons.

  13. 13
    bt8 says:

    Was wondering which town is farther north, Bodo or Östersund (the Swedish town where Potter managed) so looked it up. The latter is 63°10′45″N and the former 67°16′57.72″N so today’s opponents are more northern by some distance. Not sure if that makes them more threatening today but it could in the away leg, given an apocalyptic storm I suppose.

  14. 14
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bath@10: 😉

  15. 15
    Esso says:

    Turner, Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Xhaka, Sambi, Vieira, Marquinhos, Martinelli, Nketiah

    Subs: Ramsdale, Hein, White, Partey, Saka, Odegaard, Jesus, Saliba, Nelson, Cirjan, Smith

  16. 16
    TTG says:

    Dr F
    Hugely interesting preview although I must point out that we bea5 Molde 3-0 away not the other way round. We won all our games last time out in the Europa with a very rotated team. It’s what we have to do here . In fact ideally we’d like to be able to bring in a couple of youngsters to give them experience with twenty minutes to go .
    But Matt is right – any win will do . I think we might win 2-0 with Nketiah netting both

  17. 17
    TTG says:

    Dr F
    A great guess at the team. I guess Nelson is not deemed fit to start yet

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    As TTG said, a great stab at the starting XI Dr.F

    Your question @11 about Gabriel needing a break…..
    I think he’s ok as he got the international break off,
    as did Gabi. Hopefully Nelson can come on tonight
    and Matt Smith too, it would be very handy if either
    of them can do a job for us.

  19. 19
    Sancho Panza says:

    Wish we had gone for Wembangomo at right back.

  20. 20
    scruzgooner says:

    great work, eddie sharp to score the rebound from tierney screamer.

  21. 21
    Gooner_KS says:


  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Nice win and a good run out for several of the squad. On we go…

  23. 23
    Bathgooner says:


  24. 24

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