Kataller Toyama 1 : 2 Avispa Fukuoka
After home defeats to Tokyo and Mito in September I am not entirely sure how, but after this win we are still only 4 points away from sneaking into the play-offs.
If we can win 6 out of the remaining 8 games then I think we could sneak into the final 6th spot as none of the chasing teams really seem to be able to keep winning, and while this match didn’t have a good performance it had a bit of battle from the players and might be able to put them in the right frame of mind of take Kanamori back and put together an unlikely set of wins from now til the end of the season.
It looked unlikely at the start of this game as Toyama took the lead from a corner. They have scored most of their goals from corners this season, but how they did so here was weak defending from Avispa.
After an initial clearance from a corner the ball fell out to the edge of the D where a Toyama players tried an ambitious bicycle kick which took a slight touch off the Toyama #5 and was spilled by Kamiyama. The same #5 was able to get to the ball first and force the ball home.
It was sloppy defending in that Avispa really needed someone on the D (this isn’t the first time we’ve been absent here in both defensive and offensive corners this season), that Sakai played everyone onside as the defence stepped out, and that Kamiyama spilled the ball back into the danger zone.
As has happened quite often this season, and especially in the last month since Sakata got injured, Ishizu was allowed to leave and Kanamori went to Korea on international duty, we looked totally anemic in attack.
Pusnik looked to loan player Nabeta to try and improve things in this game, but he hasn’t really looked J1 quality from what I have seen so far, and isn’t exactly a young player at 23 years old and having never scored a league goal. He isn’t a bad player, but doesn’t stand our as someone who will score goals.
It looked like our only chance for a goal was going to come from a set piece or corner. It speaks volumes about the teams, and what Pusnik has achieved against the odds this season to e on the edge of the play-offs, that we now look most likely to score from corners.
In the 2 seasons before Pusnik came to the club I can’t remember us scoring from a corner, or even looking like we might score from a corner for 2 seasons (since Nakamachi was at the club). Now without a real target man striker we have scored nearly 30% of our goals from corners and is good reward for what have been a lot of work done on the training ground.
It would be interesting to see what position we would be in this season without the goals we have scored from set pieces, in the bottom 5 I would assume.
After 13 minutes of the 2nd half Park Gun got his first goal in professional football, a goal which he has deserved for some of his performances this season, and can hopefully step on in confidence from this.
A free-kick from the right was floated up into the middle of the box where so many attackers and defenders came together that the Toyama goal-keeper couldn’t get near the ball. A bit of a Hail-Mark tactic, but Park managed to get something on the ball and divert it towards the now unguarded goal for the equaliser.
Avispa pushed forward for a winner, but still didn’t look like they had anyone with the creativity to make anything from open play.
Fortunately we continued to win corners, and from one of these 7 minutes from time got the winner.
As Lee Kwang Seon went up for a corner from the left his header from the middle smashed back off the cross-bar. Coming out to Nakahara on the right of the box he got the ball into the near post at the 2nd attempt where Sakai could nod home with little close attention to score the winning goal.
It wasn’t a good performance, but the 3 points we got from the match are exactly the same as if we played them off the park and gave our best performance of the season.
What the players need to do now is find that best performance of the season for the remaining 8 games of the season.
Avispa have been having a terrible September after starting the month with a very real opportunity to get into the play-offs and finish the season way above expectations.
Unfortunately defeats to Yokohama, Mito, Oita and Verdy have meant we have basically lost all chance of getting to the play-offs.
Almost exactly the same situation happened last season when we played Toyama at this time of the season and they beat us 4-1 at home with Kokeguchi scoring a hattrick.
Toyama are definitely going to be more up for this game. We have very little to play for, I think the players have given up on the play-offs, while Toyama need to pick up wins to try and avoid relegation to J3.
This is an extra reason for me that we should be playing with youngsters who have enthusiasm to just get on the pitch in front of the crowd, and who want to try and get themselves into the manager’s plans for next season.
It also means that while we will achieve nothing in terms of promotion this season we can take some positives by giving experience, and seeing which players are going to be able to step up for next season.
It also shows other young players from universities and high schools that if you come to Avispa you will be given chances.
Avispa Fukuoka News.
I would guess that team selection is almost automatic. We don’t have any strength in depth in the squad, and despite our forward line not being able to score a goal we don’t have any players to replace for Sakai, Hirai and Jogo.
Jogo came in for a lot of criticism after his performance last week in his favoured position. It will be interesting to see where and how well he plays in this game.
We haven’t had anyone to play in midfield all season so that will remain unchanged. There is the possibility that Park Gun might move up as it is an away game. I would bring in Kazuki in defence rather than Koga as it is a selection which looks to next season more, but really doubt that anyone else at the club would allow a ‘big name’ like Koga to sit in the bench with Kazuki playing.
The biggest opportunity for some young players to come in is at wing-back where Mishima and especially Mitsunaga should play. If they can’t step up against bottom team Toyama then they are a long way away from being able to play next season and we need to bring in new wing-backs in December.
Kateeler Toyama News
Toyama are likely to match us with a 352 formation, and have the best striker on the pitch in Kokeguchi. He scored 3 against us last season and if Toyama are allowed to get balls to him in the box he will score 3 more today.
They lost dribbler Nakajima back to Tokyo before going to the U-21 tournament which is good news for Avispa.
They get most of their goals from crosses which means Kamiyama needs to practice coming out for balls, and using his size to dominate a little more. They also concede most of their goals from crosses which means Mishima has to start relaxing on crossing and not snatching at the ball under pressure.
While Abe has the most assists from crosses at the club, and Takeda is probably the best crosser, I still think that Mitsunaga has the potential to be better than both if given opportunities to develop inside a game.
Kateller Toyama 1 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
I’m going to go for a very depressing score-line and hope that I can be cheered up by reality. I just think that Toyama are going to want this game a lot more than us.
As a team who are desperate for points they must look at the mental fragility of Avispa at the moment and results like last week as a huge chance to get goals.
AVispa called for a hand-ball, but they don’t seem to be right; it looks a good goal to me.
It shouldn’t have mattered, we should have been 2-3 goals up by this point playing against a Verdy team we scored 5 goals against away from home a couple of months ago.
The players now should be told they are playing for their contracts, whether it is at Avispa or anywhere else. They couldn’t raise their game last season and look where Funayama, Miyamoto, Kohira, are now.
Nobody at the club should feel they have done enough to get a contract next season apart from Nakahara, Kanamori, Takeda, Kamiyama, Sakata and Kwang Seon. Time to prove they deserve one, losing to Verdy isn’t how to do it.
Avispa Fukuoka 0 : 1 Tokyo Verdy
I’m not going to bother writing another match report. just read the 2 for the last couple of matches, or the Yokohama match 3 weeks ago, it is exactly the same.
We have a team who can move the ball around, but a forward line entirely devoid of threat or creativity and who can’t score a goal. As the defence gets more and more desperate with the lack of goals up front we get caught at the back and lose the game.
It means that we have gone from a team pushing the edge of the play-offs to a team which will be lucky to finish in the top half.
So yeah, we’re shit, nothing new, and there is nothing more that I can write on the subject which I didn’t write for the last match or the one before.
What I can do is comment on one particular thing…
Open letter to Hisashi Jogo.
I am not a Fukuoka native. I am not paid by the club to cheer your name regardless of your performance. I don’t care that your family sit in the crowd.
The only thing I will assess you on is how you perform on the pitch.
After the Oita game you openly complained about where you were playing on the pitch. I have just watched a game where you have touched the ball no more than 10 times in the entire match.
I have never been your biggest fan despite the hysteria in the stadium, and am being proved right this season. When playing as striker you wait for the ball as the worst kind of luxury player, and when eventually it does bounce your way you are a 1 in 5 striker at best.
I’ve seen your goals. Yes, you scored from the half-way line against Yamaga 3 years ago. I saw you have a bicycle kick dis-allowed against Gamba 4 years ago. I saw you play in goal against Kumamoto. These things alone don’t make you bigger than the club.
During this match today Taku Ushinohama achieved more in 15 minutes than you did in 90, and this is from a player who you probably look down upon.
Stop listening to whoever it is that is telling you that you are a striker. You aren’t.
Play in a position which makes the ball come onto you, and forces you to play. Midfield, right-back, right wing-back; any of these is a position which means you can influence a game. Maybe your agent/family/fans are telling you to play as striker. Watch the tape of today’s game back again and see how bad you were.
2ch is talking (for the first time in my memory) about how there is an element of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ about your game. As with all cults the ‘Cult of Jogo’ is not indefinite. Have a look at Wayne Rooney (a player you can only dream to be), and how the Manchester United fans and manager are now saying he has to move back into midfield.
Oita Trinita 3 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
Well barring something quite spectacular between now and the end of the season I think we can probably forget about finishing in the play-offs.
In previous seasons when this penny has dropped among the players they have just coasted from this point until the end of the season; finishing somewhere in mid-table with the players concentrating more on which bench they are going to be sitting on next season than trying to finish the season on a high.
You could read my match report from the Mito game to see what happened in this match. Pusnik had tried to freshen the team up a bit since that match by bringing Morimura back into the team with Jogo moving to right wing-back, but the result was pretty much the same.
We controlled possession for large parts of the games, created numerous opportunities around the box but our forward line never had the guile or skill to make real chances against a defence which defended deeply and in numbers.
As with last week we had a big chance to score the opening goal, which had it gone in and Oita been forced to attack a little more may have changed the game. A foul on the edge of the Oita box saw the resulting free-kick touched sideways to Tsutsumi who hit another thunderbolt of a shot, even better than the goal in Kitakyushu, but with the keeper beaten it hit the inside of the post and came back out.
By that time we had already been denied a penalty when Sakai was fouled on the edge of the box, but over-exaggerated going to ground and picked up a yellow card from a retarded referee. We had another better shout for a penalty later as Hirai was bundled over in the box but this referee wasn’t going to give us anything.
Avispa were given a warning about the counter as Brazilian Daniel slid a pass through our defence to leave an Oita attacker 1-on-1 with Kamiyama but he stood up big and produced a good save to remain top of the keeper rankings for J2.
Daniel showed the difference between the two teams, not just on the pitch with some intelligent passing showing good vision, but in the ambition of the 2 clubs. In August Oita and Avispa were in a similar place in the table, hovering around the play-offs, we released Punosevac, allowed Ishizu to go out on loan, saw Kanamori go away on international duty, and only brought in a youth team striker who has never scored a goal in his career. Oita brought in a player with proven experience of J1, in a position where we have needed a player for 4 seasons, and he has now done more than anyone to win them this game.
A goal down in the second half we still controlled the game with Oita sitting 9 men behind the ball. We got a lot of corners (over 10), and ordinarily we would expect to score from a couple of those, but Oita have only conceded 3 goals from set pieces all season and showed why with some well drilled defending.
As has happened before as we struggle to break teams down we leave gaps at the back which can be exploited on the counter. As has also happened before it didn’t really need a really fast counter as we just gave the ball away in the middle of the pitch. A high press on Nakahara by the Oita forward saw the ball come out to Daniel who was able to take 1 step, not look for 2-3 extra passes, and slot the ball calmly inside the far post.
The game was over, but Oita managed to score another similar goal as the ball was delivered quickly to Tsyoshi on the right of Avispa’s box who given the time can always pick out a player with a cross and landed a cross right onto someone’s head to score.
Personally I’d say the season is now over, and think that Avispa should now sacrifice immediate results to go into next season with players in positions they know, and management have a shopping list of players and positions they know they need to replace.
Every season there seems to be a 50% change around in players coming into and out of the club. We have made good progress this season, and have some good young players. Those players we want to keep should now be given more experience in the formation we plan to use them in, and the players who are not going to be used next season moved onto the bench.
Players who should play from now til the end: (If they agree to stay next season)
Kwang Seon (I have no idea why we let Ishizu go, but I hope it’s something to do with him for next season)
Sakai (If he can come as a permanent signing, he isn’t going to get games ahead of Musashi Suzuki)
Players who we don’t need to use when building for the future:
Thee poor result against Mito last weekend will quickly be forgotten about if we can spring a surprise away win on Oita. Ordinarily I would say that an away win here would be great, but having set a target of 4 points from every 2 weeks (win at home / draw away) we are now on catch-up to reach the target I think will get us a play-off place.
Oita is a team which we have seemed to struggle against in recent years. I seem to remember a lot of draws in these games, and a lot of 0-0 draws in particular, with Oita occasionally scraping a 1-0 win. I can see much the same again in this game as a single goal could win the game for either team (when I last said that we shard 8 goals with Giravanz).
The game is likely to be decided by whether Avispa’s forward line can start to look a little more threatening and make Oita’s defence get out of shape and cause the wing-backs to sit deeper than they would like.
There are no suspension or new injury problems at the club from last week to this week and with the squad now so depleted there are few options available to Pusnik in terms of changing the team.
The performance last week wasn’t so bad, and had we scored in the first half would be looked back on as one of our better games, but the lack of a cuting edge up front or creativity in midfield is something which must be causing a headache for the manager.
Looking at the squad there is not much he can do. Squad players Chris, Nozaki, Tam are clearly not good enough to play for the first team. Taku has had a couple of good cameos as sub but isn’t going to really strike fear into the opposition. The only other option is Nabeta who has just come to the club and is the only change which I could see as possible.
The Avispa squad is really looking quite bare right now.
The only change which I could see is one which sees the players on the pitch moved around. This was done in the second half against Yokohama which we drew 0-0, and to desvestating effect against Giravanz where we scored 5 goals in the second half.
It relies almost entirely on the mentality of the players. With just 10 games left to play then a change in formation from wheat they are used to could do one of two things. It could damage their confidence and make them less sure on how they are playing, or it could give them a fresh start to try something new which if it works out against teams not expecting it could see us reach the play-offs.
Personally I would explain to the players that it’s a roll of the dice. Finishing 7th or 11th means nothing to the club; if we can find some way to sneak over the line with a high risk strategy it is worth it.
High Risk Formation I’d play…
This formation looks like a 4xx on paper, but in reality could switch very fluidly into the 3xx they have been playing since June as Park can remain in an anchor role between midfield and defence and drop back as soon as Abe or Mishima push forward.
Despite being one of the first teams to play with 3 at the back in J2 they are now sometimes switching to a 4141 formation with bodies in midfield. This heavy formation is one reason why I think we need to try and match them with tacklers Park and Takeda in midfield. When asked to cover too much ground Takeda has to rush tackles and picks up bookings.
They have Sueyoshi in midfield who hasn’t been an automatic starter, but I think is likely to play against his old club. Avispa know what he is good and bad at. If balls are play past him is is very slow to turn and track back, but if given time and space around the box he is able to hit shots into the top corner from open and set play.
They like to work the ball around the box with short passing sequences (which can be seen as over-playing like with Avispa at times) and have players who like to dribble with the ball. If we allow them time and space around the box then they are likely to make problems.
Their best player is defender Takagi who keeps the defence well organised, especially at set-pieces. In attack they have few real weapons.
Oita 0 : 0 Avispa
Ordinarily a really good away point, but I think that at this stage of the season we need wins (and for Oita to be getting beaten).
A horrible result when a win would have taken us into the play-offs, but far from the worst performance of the season.
If you took Punosevac, Ishizu, Sakata and Kanamori out of the attack of any team in the division they would probably struggle for goals and so it proved with our forward line.
Jogo is looking less and less of a striker as he gets older (but needs to realise it himself), Sakai is looking more and more of a striker as the season goes on (but is still learning the role), Hirai doesn’t seem to have got out of his loss of form after scoring last weekend, Nabeta is brand new at the club and looked off the pace.
If 2 of those players can step up and go on a purple patch of scoring then they will make a real name for themselves and we will finish the season in the play-offs. If they can’t start scoring then we’ll finish about 10th.