vs. Katamatare Sanuki (ratings)   Leave a comment

They actually played quite well in spells during the first half, but seemed to totally lose all ambition and energy in the second.

Shimizu : 6
Did a couple of decent saves to keep us in the lead for a while, would have needed a 3rd great save to stop the goal.

Mishima : 5
Had a chance here to really try and get forward and show what he can do, but didn’t really get forward enough. We are playing a system which calls on the full-backs to supplement attack.

Abe : 5.5
Same as Mishima. One decent cross in the first half which should have given us an early goal.

Tsutsumi : 5.5
Made a few tackles, but shouldn’t have been troubled by a poor forward line by Sanuki.

Lee : 5
This was a game where he could have made a difference in attack. When the forwards are struggling to get a rhythm we need Lee to come big on set pieces.

Takeda : 5.5
Made some important interceptions in the first half. Will always give an honest performance, without a huge amount of attacking quality.

Nakahara : 4.5
Biggest disappointment of the season so far. Here he had support around him and still just seemed to be missing.

Morimura : 5
We won the game when he was on the pitch, but he didn’t really do anything I can remember.

Jogo : 5.5
Scored a goal, but as our Captain and now one of the biggest wage earmers and most experienced players needs to be setting an example for everyone else and setting the tone for the performance.

Hirai : 4
Couldn’t do anything more for him. Playing in his favored position, from the start, and he didn’t trouble the defence very much at all. A defence which had conceded 20 goals in 7 games before this game.

Sakata : 5.5
Worked hard when he was on the pitch, but can’t do it all himself. I’d like to see him as Captain because if he had others working from his example then we’d stroll games like this.

Ishizu : 4
Doesn’t play as a substitute. Maybe he thinks it’s below him now, but all this game needed was some running. He came on second half and was running as little as anyone else.

Sakai : 4.5
I’ve not seen anything to suggest he is better than anything else we already have at the club.

Park : 4
Came on to try and hold out for a 1:0 win and we conceded. Not his fault, but he didn’t do what he came on for.

Posted April 23, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Kamatamare Sanuki (youtube)   Leave a comment

In many ways I thought this week’s performance was even worse then last week.

We picked up a point, and din’t concede 5 in a half, but last week there were also some positive points which could be taken from the game.

I’d love to know what excuse the players had for their lack of performance this week.

It seems to me that most of the players were playing in the position which they would choose for themselves (Jogo – right-side forward; Hirai – Central forward; Sakata – left-side forward; Nakahara – midfield with someone behind; Tsutsumi – central defence etc.) but then they totally failed to show they should be playing there every week.

Something is wrong for a bunch of players to fail to show up for the second half having gone a goal up against weak opposition.
The last time they sleep-walked through a half like this was when we were on the edge of bankruptcy last season.

Not good enough.

Posted April 21, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Kamatamare Sanuki (report)   Leave a comment

Kamatamare Sanuki 1 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka

I couldn’t think of a worse half of football than last weekend when Avispa lost the first half 5:0 at home, but guess that in the history of the J-League there might be a worse half.
This weekend Avispa definitely wrote themselves into the record books by being the first club in the J-League who couldn’t beat Kamatamare Sanuki who picked up their first J-League point after 7 consecutive defeats.

No-one could argue that Kamatamare didn’t deserve it after a second half where they were by far the better team, and came close to scoring a couple of times before eventually getting an equaliser in the 85th minute.
The only positive for Avispa was that it came with only 5 minutes left to play. If they had scord 10 minutes earlier they could have gone on to win the game as Avispa looked dead on their feet.

The game had started brightly for AVispa with a much better set-up with Takeda back in the starting XI as a midfield anchor, where his constant running lead to interceptions and turnovers for Avispa and allowed Nakahara to play higher up the pitch.
We should have taken the lead after 10 minutes as Abe went free down the left and put a good cross along the 6 yard box which Hirai missed and Sakata smashed against the post.

Hirai then had another chance as he ran onto a long ball played over the top but hit his shot straight at the keeper, but Avispa didn’t have to wait long for their goal.

When the goal came it showed the advantages of the players on the pitch as Takeda got control of the ball in front of the back four and played a simple ball up to Nakahara in the opposition half. Nakahara is good when he has simple passes to play (less so when needing to pass long) and slipped a ball through for Jogo to run onto in a right wing position.
That is the position from where he scored so many goals in 2012 and he rifled a shot past the keeper at the near post. In reality it was possibly a poor decision as most keepers would hop eto save a shot from that angle, but it showed the importance of getting shots in at goal as anything can happen.

At that stage I was hoping that Avispa could go on to score 3 or 4 to improve spirits and help forget about last week but they inexplicably totally stopped playing.
I can remember only 1 game in the last couple of seasons which we have won by more than 1 goal and don’t really know why the players don’t press on as Nagasaki did last week and push hard to make their advantage count after scoring a first goal.

Morimura had been brought in to try and give us a midfield and din’t really do very much before being substituted for Ishizu in the second half with a switch to a more obvious 4231.
I have no idea if the training this week has been very hard or something, but after 65 minutes the players seemed totally incapable of running and devoid of any energy.
It wasn’t a good sign at all as we have a bunch of games in a short amount of time coming up over Golden Week, and the weather is about to start getting very hot. If they are tired now at the start of this run of games then they have no hope in 2 months.

Tiredness couldn’t explain the lethargy shown by Ishizu who only played 30 minutes but didn’t really get involved in the game at all.

As Sanuki were allowed to gain in confidence they had a shot hit on the turn in the penalty box saved very well by a diving Shimizu, and then directed a header close to the keeper from a corner which only needed to be 20cm further from him and he wouldn’t have saved it.

The equaliser was clearly coming, and arrived as a forward picked up the ball in the left wing position, got past Jogo easily and burst into the box to avoid any challenge from Nakahara or Mishima and curl a shot inside the far post.

It was no more than what Sanuki deserved and Avispa missed a chance to finish the day in the play-off places.
There is a problem at the club when they can turn up and beat teams like Kyoto and Yokohama and get a high scoring draw with Jubilo, but then totally fail to perform in matches against Kumamoto, Ehime and Sanuki.

Posted April 20, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Kamatamare Sanuki (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa need to come back from what is probably the worst performance I have ever seen from them in losing the first half against Nagasaki 5-0, to get an away win and stay within touching distance of the play-offs.

They have already sort of come back from that half by winning the 2nd half against Nagasaki 2-0 with the players much more switched on, and with a much better tactical set-up for the team.

The big issue against Nagasaki was that our midfield got totally overwhelmed with Nakahara struggling in an anchor role, and Jogo and Sakata not doing enough to help alongside him. In the second half Jogo dropped deeper back and we started to look a lot better.
As an away game I expect us to be set up with a bit of a less attacking starting line-up, which paradoxically will probably make us better in attack as it will allow the forwards to concentrate on attacking and have someone to win the ball back and give it to them.

We couldn’t have hoped to meet a better team coming off a defeat like that as Sanuki are new to the division and have lost every match, conceding 20 goals in 7 games.

Avispa News.
Kanamori picked up his injury and will be absent for a couple of weeks, but otherwise have no injury problems that I know about.
I don’t expect Punosevac to be in the starting line-up after his ineffective performance last weekend and think he will likely start on the bench to be used as an impact substitute.
Hirai may stay in the team, but thanks largely to Kanamori’s injury giving us a front 3 with Sakata in the middle with Ishizu and Hirai cuting in each side of him.

I think Jogo would be preferred on the right, but that leaves us with very few options in midfield.
I have always said we need to be playing with a true anchor, regardless of who we are playing and whether we are home or away, and expect Park to play here.
I would prefer the legs of Takeda behind Nakahara and Jogo, but Park does help to make a defensive 3 when the full-backs have pushed up and has a good chance here to build confidence and understanding with Lee and Tsutsumi.

The only other option would be to play Park and Takeda alongside Nakahara and let Jogo move further forward, but I think Jogo’s natural position should be as a central midfielder making late runs into the box and again can use this match to learn the position.

Defence writes itself with Mishima and Abe as full-backs each side of Tsutsumi and Lee, with Park as anchor giving them more freedom to get forward.

Kamatamatare Sanuki
I’ve not watched any of their games so far this season, but know they have Yutaka Takahashi as one of their main strikers which makes me quite confident of keeping a clean sheet.

My Prediction:

Kamatare Sanuki 0 : 2 Avispa Fukuoka

Bounce back with a win, with the players starting fast and getting a goal within the first 10 minutes.

Posted April 19, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Preview

Kanamori breaks his foot.   2 comments

As I suspected during the game Takeshi Kanamori broke his foot during the game against V-Varen Nagasaki to make a bad day even worse.

It isn’ a bad injury as far as injuries go, being more annoying than anything else, and from my understanding is a fracture of the 5th meta-tarsel.

It means he won’t be playing for about 2 months, but will be able to continue with some cardio and strength training and should be able to come straight back into contention for the first team when the bone heals.

It is a real shame for kanamori as he is someone who has taken his time outside of the starting members to get better and get hungry, and then when given a chance done everything he can to try and change games.
Possibly he still tries to do too much at times, but that is the sort of inconsistency which will come with a young player and just needs games and experience to improve his decision making.

He looks to me to have a chance to be the best player to come out of Avispa for a long time (including Jogo and Ishizu), primarily because of his hunger and attitude; he looks like someone who just wants to play games and get better.

As a role-model for him I would look to Raheem Sterling at Liverpool who also burst onto the scene at a young age, and was primarily viewed as someone who had awesome acceleration and pace, but maybe not the composure to be much more than a speed merchant.
This season at Liverpool he has listened to his manager (who himself has adapted his strategy from a short passing game to a slightly more direct game which marries his passing pedigree with the more direct athletes at the club) and become a more well-rounded player who most expect to be going to the World Cup this summer.

Posted April 18, 2014 by avispafukuoka in News

vs. V-Varen Nagasaki (ratings)   Leave a comment

Pusnik took responsibility off the players after the match by taking the blame for the performance; I hope the players come out and give him a big win and changed attitude next week as it was a horrible game by nearly everyone filled with numerous individual errors and 20 minutes in which the whole team had lost their head.
One defeat doesn’t make the start of the season bad straight away, but they need to bounce back straight away with the games over Golden Week and just put it down as a bad day at the office.

Kamiyama: 2.5
He has won us the game with a string of saves in the last few games but was terrible in this game, having a part in all of the goals conceded. Will be most embarrassed by the 3rd which he pushed inside the post.

Abe: 4.5
Battled until the end and was trying to get forward, but caught out of position and struggling to get back for a couple of goals.

Oh: 3
Had another chance to show the manager he is an option at right-back but blew it. Looked better going forward, but was in the team primarily as someone a bit stronger in defence.

Tsutsumi: 5
Kept us in the game in the first 10 minutes with a couple of excellent tackles, but then lost his head for 30 minutes. Stepped up and got better in the second half.

Lee: 5
Similar to Tsutsumi. The best thing he can do is to know his limitations, not try to pass the ball expansively and play a “What If?” game; what if the pass I’m trying to play goes wrong?

Nakahara : 4
Had a really hard job playing as the only midfielder for a lot of the time in the first half. Does his best work when doing short, simple passes. Tries to do long, diagonal passes from an anchor position, but Tsutsumi is actually better than him at these and he should be looking to play higher up the pitch where he is more effective.

Sakata : 5.5
Kept running. In the correct set-up he is on his way to re-inventing himself as a midfielder in the style that Dwight Yorke did at the end of his career. In the wrong set-up he is horribly exposed and asked to do too much.

Jogo : 5.5
Still needs to work out where he is gonig to play. Anonymous in the first half; did very well to help out in a deeper role in the second half when helping Nakahara. I’d ask him where he wants to play and then give him the support around him to make it work.

Ishizu : 5.5
Like most of the players he was much better in the second half, but has to do more when not in possession. Needs to decide if he is happy with the player he is now, or if he wants to become the player he could be.

Hirai : 5
Same as Ishizu, but more. A few good runs, but without the ball turns into a luxury which few teams in J2 can afford. If he plays in the team we need someone else to play to do his running and tackling for him.

Punosevac : 3.5
His stats are starting to tell their own story now. I don’t believe strikers should be judged solely for their goals but he has now failed to score in about 9 months at the club. So many times in this game he was receiving the ball from midfield and passing it back first time to our defence.

Mishima : 7
Impressed coming off the bench. Exactly what the manager wants to see, someone who gets a chance and shows that he should be in the team each week. Linked up well with Kanamori.

Kanamori : 8
Showed today that he is who we should be building a team around. He has the inconsistency of youth, and will get better at decision making as he gets more experience but his energy and drive made the whole team step up. You could see he genuinely thought we could get the 5 goals back, and was annoyed to go off injured just as we got the first 2.

Sakai : 5.5
Did ok without ever looking as bright as Mishima or Kanamori. Offers another man to go into an attacking midfield/forward role, but why we needed to loan another player for that position with the options we have is a mystery.

Posted April 16, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. V-Varen Nagasaki (youtube)   Leave a comment

A real horror show from AVispa as they put in what I have seen described as the worst ever half of football in the J-League to go 5-0 down at half-time.

Points to note.
0s: A really nicely worked corner routine by Nagasaki, and a great finish from #7 but where on earth is right-back Oh? Watching back it seems he is covering the D, leaving a huge space at the back post. Nobody was picking up #7 at any point.
His finish was great, but Kamiyama should be getting something on that and is only beaten for pace.

48s: With the wing-backs able to push up Abe got himself isolated and out of position for a cross from the right-wing. There were still 4-5 Avispa players who had an opportunity to get something on the ball and clear (with Oh again being the most obvious), but somehow Nagasaki’s opposite full-back got to the ball first.

1m48: A goal from nothing. Kamiyama seems to dive in slow motion for a nothing shot and just palms the ball into the net. He always has a horrible mistake waiting, and I guess it is better to happen in a game we end up 5-0 down in, that a last minute goal to lose a game 1-0. (This was 12 minutes into he game).

2m35: Oh is totally shell-shocked and wanting to be back in his house; easily bypassed on the left wing with a cross landed straight onto the Nagasaki striker’s head. There were 3 players lined up waiting to head it in with only 160cm Abe giving any competition.

3m26s: Same target man striker beats 4 defenders and Kamiyama to the ball to head home easily at the near post. Avispa players have totally lost their heads. In fact Kamiyama looks like he may have pushed the ball onto the striker to mean he played a part in all 5 goals conceded.

4m12: Standard penalty by Sakata. These highlights don’t show the run and skill on the edge of the box as Mishima and Kanamori combined with Kanamori’s pace and quick feet winning a clear penalty. Kanamori grabs the ball after the goal; in his head Avispa can score 6.

4m50: A freekick outside the box ends up on the left wing for Abe to cross in and Jogo to finish well with his head. This goal shows that Jogo needs to be getting into the box, I’m just not sure how to make it happen.

Posted April 14, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

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