Pre-season matches.   4 comments

Avispa have had several matches over the last month in an attempt to get ready for the season starting. We have 1 more game at home against FC Tokyo next week which I hope to go to, but before that here is a round-up of the games so far:

vs. Avispa U-18 team

The first time the players had time together as a team on the pitch was in a match of 3 30 minute periods against the U-18 team.
You can’t say much about these matches, and I didn’t go so don’t know who was playing (but 600 people did manage to find time to watch!).
I am sure that every player got some time on the pitch. The first 30 minutes ended 0 – 0, the second 30 minutes was won 1:0 by the top team with Kanamori scoring after just 3 minutes, and the final 30 minutes was won 2:0 by the top team with Morimura and Kunimoto scoring.

vs. Fukuoka University.

Before leaving for Miyazaki we had our annual training match with the University at Gannosu.
This match would have been more competitive, and was again played over 3 periods but this time with each being 45 minutes long.
Sakata and Jogo played up front together for the first 45 minutes and helped Avispa win it 1:0 with Sakata scoring.
The second 45 minutes had an emphatic 4-0 win Avispa with Jogo staying on the pitch to score after 7 minutes, and Hirai and Kanamori both coming on to score with Nakahara completing the scoring.
Nakahara scored again in the final 45 minutes, but the University at least got some consolation as they scored at the end to draw the 45 minutes 1:1.

vs. Kashima Antlers.

The first game in Miyazaki saw us play Kashima Antlers as part of the “Skype New Year’s Cup”. Playing against J1 opposition it would be our toughest test of pre-season, and so it proved as we ended up losing 2 : 0.
While there were many substitutions it was played with some competitive spirit and could give the first indication of how Ihara is viewing the team.
We started the match:

………………………..Sakata

……………….Hirai………….Jogo

Kamekawa…….Suzuki…….Sueyoshi……..Hokuto

…………..Tsutsumi….Hamada….Seon

……………………..Kamiyama……………

Which surprises me a little to see us using a back-3, but I guess that Ihara wants to have a look at it even if I still suspect we will start the season with a back-4.
As the match went on we brought on both Nakaharas, Sakai, and Kanamori, but couldn’t change the outcome of the match after conceding both goals in the first half.

vs. Oita Trinita.

I actually watched this game live as it was being broadcast on Tv and was my first chance to see the team this off-season due to work stopping me from attending any of the other games.
We went to 4231 for this game with Seon the man dropping out of the starting line-up.

……………………………Hirai

Kanemori……………..Sakata………………Jogo

………………..Sueyoshi…………Nakahara…………

Kamekawa………Tsutsumi…….Hamada…….Hokuto

…………………………Kamiyama

It looks very similar to a team from 3 years ago, and played a bit like one as Oita were allowed to have space and build towards the Avispa box without ever really looking that dangerous. Both teams were clearly rusty, and there wasn’t a whole lot of quality on display. Hirai was ineffective as he has always been at Avispa, and Jogo just floated around as he is prone to do in the outside right position.
It looked like another blast from the past, Hideya Okamoto, would open the scoring after being awarded a weak penalty after a push by Kamekawa on the edge of the box. Fortunately for Avispa he blasted his penalty against the bar.

Avispa needed more energy, and in the second half looked more like the team Pusnik was pushing for last year as they pressed the ball high on the pitch. This was being done mostly by Sakata and Kanamori, but Sakai also helped having come on for the lethargic Hirai.
It was actually the introduction of Suzuki Jun which swung the game in Avispa’s favor. I have been very critical of him, but he came on and was clearly treating this game like his chance to prove himself and was busy and aggressive in midfield. I have never doubted his left-foot and after winning a free-kick on the edge of the box after tenaciously stealing possession his free-kick hit the top of the wall, rebounded to Sueyoshi who hit it long into the bottom corner.

Sueyoshi’s ability to hit shots from outside the box is something we have really missed in the last 2 years, and it gave a glimpse that maybe things can work out at Avispa for him again.
Suzuki Jun hit another free-kick against the bar late in the game, but Avispa had done enough to win already.

vs. Kagoshima United.

The players who didn’t start against Oita got chances later in the week against Kagoshima. It was a game which ended up scoreless as the teams played out a 0:0 draw but was apparently lit up by 17 year old Kunimoto who was the player making the fans excited.
The only details I have about the game are from commenter on this site Perogyo whose great comment is worth reproducing in full:
“I have been really impressed with Kuni at this camp. He has generated a lot of excitement among the hardcore fans- and that is almost impossible to do if you aren’t a Fukuoka-born player. But he got two standing O’s last week, including for some amazing dribbling in the Kagoshima United game. He seems to take direction well, from the coaches and Hokuto/Kamiyama. I am looking forward to seeing him in action.

There is something wrong with the new kit. The colour way isn’t awful (Kagoshima United’s away kit is truly awful so this is genius in comparison) but not my cup of tea. But the cut is terrible. The grandad shorts paired with an ill-cut shirt which is too tight around the shoulders and somehow makes it look like they all have beer bellys. Not impressed.”

vs. JEF United

This match was played over 4 45 minute periods, presumably to give the squad of both teams a chance to get 70 – 90 minutes game time under their belts.
Avispa’s starting line-up was exactly the same as it had been against Oita and ended up finishing as 2:0 winners after the first 90 minutes with Kanamori and Jogo getting the goals.

The players changed for the 2nd 90 minutes, and immediately did much better scoring 4 goals in the  ‘first half’ of the second game with Nakahara getting one, and then Suzuki jun continuing his good form from the Oita match by scoring an unlikely hattrick!

JEF scored 2 goals in the final set of 45 minutes to get something from the game, but an overall aggregate score of 6:2 (2:0 & 4:2) is something which Avispa should feel encouraged by against tough J1 opposition.

Posted February 14, 2015 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

Squad Numbers.   4 comments

Avispa’s squad for 2015 has been announced, with the numbers decided and barring any addition from unattached players is unlikely to change until the summer at the earliest.

It is a squad which looks well-equipped in certain areas, and under-staffed in others.

Looking at squad numbers isn’t the most scientific thing to do, but it’s possible to make a few wide sweeping statements.

Goal-keepers.

#1 : Ryuichi Kamiyama, 30 years old.

#23 : Kosuke Nakamura, 19 years old.

#25 : Eita Kasagawa, 24 years old.

I actually think we have a problem at goal-keeper.
People will point to the stats showing that Kamiyama made the most saves per match in J2 for the last season, but I don’t really trust goal-keeping stats. If a keeper flaps at a cross and then has to make a save and a block from the shot which comes from it then statistically that makes him better than a keeper who just catches the ball in the first place.
I’ve been watching Kami yama for a long time now and while he can make good saves, and has at times won us games single-handedly, he has in my opinion cost us more points than he has won us.

It isn’t a very popular opinion, but after being dropped by Shinoda, Asano, Maeda and Pusnik (for Rokutan, Kawata, Mizutani and Shimizu) at times in the last 5 years maybe it is an opinion shared by his managers.

Behind him the cover is very untested.

Full-backs.

#3 Takumi Abe, 23 years old (left-back)

#16 Yuta Mishima, 20 years old (right-back)

#18 Masashi Kamekawa, 21 years old (left-back)

#22 Hokuto Nakamura, 29 years old (right-back)

#24 Yuya Mitsunaga, 19 years old (left-back)

This is an area where things could get a little shaky!
The Squad Numbers tell a lie here. #22 is popular at Fukuoka (for reasons I don’t know) and Hokuto will be first choice at right-back and one of our key players. Kamekawa has looked pretty good from what I have seen so far and will start at left-back.

The issue will come when either player gets injured or suspended, and Kamakawa has already been called away to tour Singapore with the National U-22 team.

Personally I would put Mitsunaga straight into the team as back-up for the left, I don’t really have any faith in Abe’s ability to get any better than what is a fairly poor standard right now, mainly due to a lack of application. He has flashes of the player he could be, but seems to only switch it on when it suits him.
Mishima is our back-up at right-back and he didn’t really make the progress his first season deserved last year. I really hope he has been practicing crossing during the days and hitting the protein shakes and free weights at nights for the duration of December and January.

Centre-backs.

#2 Mizuki Hamada, 24 years old

#4 Lee Kwang Seon, 25 years old

#5 Masahiro Koga, 36 years old

#13 Park Kun, 24 years old

#19 Shunsuke Tsutsumi, 27 years old

#21 Gao Zhunyi, 19 years old

We’ve done well at centre-back during the off-season to keep Kwang Seon and bring in the impressive looking Hamada.

Koga shouldn’t get a game all season, with my choice for central pairing being Kwang Seon and Hamada. This gives us a tall pairing of players who will be tough to beat for any team.
Unfortunately I think politics will ensure that Tsutsumi plays alongside Hamada, with the Korean players having to take their chances from the bench.

There will certainly be chances for them through injury and suspension, and we do have a set of players now who are able to come in and offer cover for this position.

Central midfield.

#8 Shuto Nakahara, 24 years old

#15 Toshiya Sueyoshi, 27 years old

#26 Yu Tamura, 22 years old

#33 Jun Suzuki, 25 years old.

Our biggest problem for the last 5 years has been that we have basically had no-one who can play this position since Nakamachi left the club.
You could look at that list and say that we still don’t, but it is at least better than what has been at the club for the last 2-3 seasons when Nakahara was the only player who would naturally play that role.

It still needs a partnership. Nakahara is able to play the simple ball. Sueyoshi showed he can thrive with the right man next to him. Suzuki Jun has a left foot and little else. Tamura is going to be very raw.

At least 2 of them will need to play in J2, with one or more of the forwards given the job of also dropping back to help. I’d go with Nakahara and Sueyoshi, but with his committed performance and comedy facial hair Suzuki Jun may have persuaded me he is worth a start; to give me a laugh if nothing else.

If 2 are left alone in a 442 we are destined for disaster.

Three-quarters

#6 Kota Morimura, 26 years old

#7 Takeshi Kanamori, 20 years old

#10 Hisashi Jogo, 28 years old

#11 Daisuke Sakata, 31 years old

#20 Noriyoshi Sakai, 22 years old

#27 Takahiro Kunimoto, 17 years old

#28 Taku Ushinohama, 22 years old

It seems odd to list this as a position, but we have so many of these players ay Avispa who are basically half-way between being midfielders/wingers and strikers.
It is nice in a way that it can lead itself to fluidity, but also quite annoying that they haven’t been able to establish themselves as masters of one trade. Personally I blame Barcelona, and hope that at the end of the season it will all be a bit clearer about where these players should play.

For what it’s worth I think:
Mormura: Can’t be trusted with any responsibility and has to be allowed to play in the 3 of a 4231 where he can try his runs and shots without really damaging the team through failing to do his job.
Kanamori: Is able to play as the tip of a formation, but also drop to make runs from deeper. His inclusion in this category is meant as a compliment rather than a slight.
Jogo: I still maintain that his runs from deep as a right-back (a la Dani Alves) was his most effective, but he clearly wants to just play his career just drifting around the box attempting bicycle kicks.
Sakata: I’d love him to be playing as striker, but his commitment and general slowing with age means that when he plays dropping back to help in midfield he is our most effective squad option for this role. Personally I’d have him as Captain.
Sakai: Should develop his game as a striker, but the matches in Miyazaki have showed he’d prefer to have a career as a failed attacking midfielder.
Kunimoto: No idea.
Ushinohama: Needs to be ready to come off the bench and be a hard-running weapon against tired defenders. To be fair to him this is what he has done in his career so far.

Strikers

#9 Takayuki Nakahara, 30 years old.

#14 Shoki Hirai, 27 years old.

It looks like we are very short with strikers, in fact the arrival of Nakahara gives us our first true striker at the club since Jumbo left (We had Ramazzotti and Punosevac, but neither really had enough games to establish themselves in Japan).

He is the key player for our whole season. If he clicks and starts to hold the ball up and score then we have a chance of promotion. If it doesn’t work out then we are left to another season of flattering to deceive and the players giving up in August.

Hirai is only listed as a striker because he doesn’t really seem capable of doing much else. If he scores he is useful, if he doesn’t then he doesn’t help in any way.

Posted February 8, 2015 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

Review of the off-season   3 comments

Apologies to any regular readers f the site, there have been no updates on anything for a few weeks now. My work has been so busy that I’ve not really had any time to do anything beyond go to work and try to fit in time to eat.
Hopefully the busy period is now over and I will be able to keep much more regular updates.

A review of news I have missed in the last month:

1) 3 young players to finish the squad.
After the recruitments made in the first few days of January only 3 more players came into the squad, and they are probably players who will be considered players to come off the bench and for the future rather than ones who will be starting matches on a regular basis:

Yu Tamura: A player that fans who have gone to training matches will already know about; he was playing for Fukuoka University last season and had a couple of games playing for Avispa in training matches.
He is a tall midfielder who can tackle, and should be looking to play in front of the back 4 in my opinion. It will be too much to ask for him to come in straight away and do a jog for us there, but it is a position we really need cover so he should get games and could take his chances.

Gao Zhunyi : A young Chinese players who got games at Toyama last season he is someone I don’t know really anything about. He shouldn’t be written off for coming from last season’s worst team, it would be hard for anyone to do well in that team, and Takeda had gone down with Gainare the season before coming to us.
Commenter Steve on this site has said he ‘isn’t bad, and only 19′ which probably sums the situation up.

Takahiro Kunimoto : Another even younger player arriving is attacker Kunimoto. He has a name which might be more familiar as some readers might remember him scoring a goal for Urawa when he was still in Junior High School.
Since then he has apparently become something of an ‘enfant terrible’, but has obviously got talent and might just need a change of scenery and change of surroundings to help him get back on course. It will be an interesting situation to see what happens next.

2) A new kit.
I have never been that impressed with SVOLME, their clothing and design seems to revolve around putting lots of bright colours on everything and writing SVOLME as many times as they can on every piece of clothing, so was happy to see a new kit sponsor come in.
The new company is Athleta, a company who are becoming more popular in Japan but might have some problems with branding.
As much as it sounds very sporty it is actually the name of a genus of sea snail, and beyond that is already being used as a branch of women’s underwear by the parent company of Gap and Old Navy.

Maybe that doesn’t affect anything, but I’m not impressed by their first shirt and won’t be buying one. It is a very simple blue shirt (which would be fine) but then has a contrast on the shoulders which gives the appearance that it is permanently raining.
The away shirt is no better being a light shade of grey, with flames coming out of the shorts?!

Both shirts are finished off with some sort of turtle neck.
release_2015_044_1

3) A New President.

The shake up from the end of last season has extended to the top as Atsushi Nomiyama is moved down to a support role for the new President as Kawamori Takeshi is installed as the President for this season.

This is a sign of intent from the new investors at the club as he is another man with links to large piles of cash in the real-estate industry.
People who live in Japan are probably familiar with the huge chain of letting agents Apamanshop, either by seeing one of their stores around city centres, or in this off-season for having a run of adverts featuring the Barcelona squad.

Obviously this indicates a huge resource of cash, and a company which has an interest in football.
To go with System-Soft and the owners of Canal City it is huge investors.

4) Suzuki Jun now looks like this.

Previous posts have indicated that I wasn’t very happy with Suzuki Jun after he jumped ship to go to Tokyo Verdy, celebrated like a mad-man when he played against us, and then returned as soon as we got some money back, but then I saw he is going to play for us looking like this:
20150207_1044086
I have no idea what he thinks he looks like, but I assume he is trying to make me laugh.

Well done. It is an interesting, and creative new angle to his game (and an area where since Kazuki has left will be sadly absent from the club).
Even if he does continue to wander around the pitch being slow at least I can laugh as someone resembling a character from the Hobbit trying to kick a football.

Posted February 8, 2015 by avispafukuoka in News

Kanamori stays and thinking about formations (4231)   2 comments

As I have mentioned earlier, any players still not announced whether they are staying or going, or returning back from their loan are going to be staying at Avispa (or staying at Kobe in the case of Ishizu, I was surprised to see that some people were still wondering if he was coming back to Avispa).

With this is mind Kanamori, Lee Kwang Seon, Park Gun and Takumi Abe all had it confirmed that they would be at Avispa next season.

There is the chance that we might bring in a player more if someone gets close to the end of the off-season with no club, and we still only have 2 foreigners (Seon and Park) so may se a Brazilian turn up, but basically I think that our squad is close to being full.

With that in mind I think we can start to think about what the team will look like on the first game of the season, but before that…

Takashi Kanamori : Owes his career thus far to having a manager in Pusnik who threw him into the team at 18 years old and allowed him to have no fear and just do what came naturally to him. He took that chance with both hands and quickly became a player which the team needed because of his energetic running and ability to make things happen.
Unfortunately last season he slipped a little bit because of an affliction which seems to affect Japanese players a lot, he seemed to believe the hype and the banners calling him ‘Prince’ and stopped doing what had got him there in the first place.
He can still make it, but he needs to realise that the things which make him a good player is the running and energy, and that if he starts to think he is ‘above’ that then he isn’t really much better than half a dozen other young players in J2.
Things won’ always go smoothly for him, inconsistency is a key feature of young players, but the one thing which he can control is always making sure he tries his best and doesn’t stop running.

Park Gun : I think this season could be a tough one for him. Looking at the players recruited so far he is now quite a long way down the pecking order as a centre-back, especially if we play with 4 at the back.
Where he does fit into the squad is that we still don’t have a player who can play as a defensive midfielder and shield the back 4. His best game last season was early on against Kyoto at home when he was played in midfield, and to get games this season I think he needs to look at that as his main position and offer the manager something different to what he already has.
In this position his passing and running with the ball is actually quite good, but he needs to improve his dynamism and make sure he is in the right place at the right time. Watch Nemanja Matic and aim for a heat map which looks the same as his.

Formation choices 4231 narrow

The management team can now start to think about what the team will look like for the first game.
I suspect that we might see a back 4 as this is what Ihara has played in as a defender himself, and towards the end of last season it is what we looked better with . The problem being that there are now several central defenders in the squad who are going to be putting a lot of pressure onto being in the team.
There is also a goal-keeper who is fairly hopeless at crosses and will want to have bodie in the middle to offer him more protection for when he flaps at crosses, or parries shots back onto the penalty spot.

Personally I would insist on a back 4 as the main starting formation and play it narrow with the full-backs being asked to provide width and crosses into the box. We now have a target striker who should be able to hold the ball up, so can benefit from attacking midfielders cutting in and supporting behind him.

It also provides a fairly easy strategy. With so many new players we need to have a strategy which at the start at least is quite easy to work within, even if other teams can see through it fairly easily there needs to be a starting point to try and be difficult to beat and build upon in the first few weeks of the season.

………………………..Nakahara………………………………

Kanamori………………….Sakata……………………..Jogo

……………………Sueyoshi……Nakahara…………………….

Kamekawa………..Hamada………Kwang Seon……..Hokuto (c)

…………………………Kamiyama……………………..

Subs: Nakamura, Mitsunaga, Tsutsumi, Park, Suzuki, Mishima, Sakai

The obvious decisions would be dropping Tsutsumi to the bench; I think the guy needs a kick up the backside and this might be what he needs. I think Hamada will be one of the better players this season.
Suzuki Jun is on the bench. Nothing he has done in the last 3 seasons suggests he should be in the team ahead of Nakahara (or Park).

Left-back is a problem, as is striker where we still only really have Nakahara. I’d like to see a big 21 year old Brazilian come in (not Ramazzotti).

Nobody (including himself) really knows where Jogo should play, but he has scored goals ghosting in from the right, but doesn’t like it when he is called a right-back. The irony being that he would end up playing in exactly the same position which he did last season (and scored goals from) then complained about, but would be happier because the commentators think that he is in a different position because that’s what it says on the graphic on TV.

There is a very basic tactic with this formation: aim balls at Nakahara’s head.
If this is done from wide positions on the break by either a winger or full-back then fire them fast into the box and hope he can head on target, if this is done when the opposition are sitting back then he should try to sheild the ball or head down for one of the 3 players behind him to run onto and into the box.

If teams sit really deep then Sueyoshi should be trying to get at least 1 shot from range in on goal each game. Suzuki Jun can also do this, but it seems Nakahara can’t.

Posted January 12, 2015 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

Takayuki Nakahara arrives.   Leave a comment

Each year Avispa usually get one player who is probably a little higher profile than other new recruits, and a lot of the hopes for the season sit with this player. We’ve seen players like Makoto Tanaka, Sho Naruoka, Daisuke Sakata, Masahiro Koga arrive at the club, and it has been the one transfer which stands out from the others (we haven’had one of these ‘flagship’ signings for the last couple of years due to the club having no money, maybe Kanakubo Jun in 2013 had a little bit more expectation that others).

Of these slightly bigger signings Avispa have mostly failed to sign the right players, and of the list which I wrote only Daisuke Sakata could be really be seen as a successful signing.
This year I thought that Hokuto Nakamura was the obvious ‘big’ signing, but yesterday it was announced we had another as Vegalta Sendai’s long time #9 Takayuki Nakahara has signed at the club.

While he appears to be a bit of a non-scoring #9 he has been playing at a moderately successful club for over 10 years, clocking up 199 league appearances and will probably now be in our top wage-earners along with Jogo, Koga, Hokuto and Hirai.
His goal ratio isn’t the best, but if you look at the times when Sendai have been down in J2 he does manage to score about 1 in 6 at this level (compared to 1 in 10 in J1), but I think he hes been brought in to do a lot more than just score goals.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that what I thought we needed to sign (in addition to a decent centre-back; but I’m optimistic about Mizuki Hamada) was a tall powerful centre-forward who is able to score with his head and hold the ball up for others to run onto. It appears that this is exactly the sort of player that Takayuki Nakahara is at 181cm and physically strong, with a strong shot. Apparently he has been compared (quite bizarrely) to 90s Chilean striker Ivan Zamorano. At 47 years old I’d probably still welcome Zamorano to Avispa, so if he can be anything like that sort of player he could do well.

He has a few of his goals on youtube which show that as well as being tall he is able to jump…

But we will still need someone able to get crosses in to him.

He has strength to hold up the ball, and a powerful shot…

And certainly likes to use his head and is willing to try and score…

As bad as the defending and goal-keeping is here, there is plenty more terrible goal-keeping in J2 which can be exploited if players are willing to shoot.

Posted January 10, 2015 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

Squad starts to fill.   1 comment

No new players announced, but several high profile players were announced as being Avispa players for the 2015 season.

I wasn’t happy that Sueyoshi came back yesterday to re-create his ‘special’ midfield partnership with Suzuki Jun from 2012. I am no more optimistic about the season having seen who is still going to be at the club again next year.

The biggest news was announced today that…

Hisashi Jogo : will stay at the club for another season.

I know that as a local boy with family who sit in the stands, and a penchant for scoring amazing goals there will be a lot of happy supporters about this news.
I don’t count myself as one of them. Jogo has undoubted talent, but it is totally unfulfilled talent. Before Pusnik started at the club I wrote a post saying one of his biggest challenges would be to try and solve the Jogo puzzle, and to his credit he really tried to do so. He played him in various positions, discovered that potentially he could actually become very useful in these positions if he was open-minded to a new challenge, but also found out that maybe Jogo is a puzzle which doesn’t want to be solved.
I wish that one day Jogo sits back and realises that he had chances to listen and get better, but at 28 I think he is probably very comfortable with the unwarranted adulation he gets (he touched the ball less than 15 times in the last game of the season but still had his name chanted 7 times), and doesn’t feel the need to listen to anyone else and improve his game in any way.
I’d describe him as a complex, unambitious, maverick player in the mould of someone like Matt Le Tissier, but without the talent. If you take the talent out of Matt Le Tissier you aren’t left with very much unfortunately.

The worst news announced today is…

Masahiro Koga : will stay at the club for another year.
This confirms something I wrote a couple of weeks ago after he didn’t retire on the pitch in the final game of the season that he is staying at the club for another year.
This is total insanity.
I don’t believe that anyone at the club would be stupid enough to give him another contract, he stopped being able to run in 2012 and had what appeared to be a heart attack on the pitch in 2013, but what it does mean is that when he came to the club at the start of 2012 someone at the club gave an unfit 33 year old a 4 year contract (at least, I dread to see if he is here next season!)
This is at a club which during that time have been declared bankrupt twice, and based on what his last wage in J1 was must be earning at least 20,000,000 yen a year.
If he starts a single game this year it means we are in serious trouble. I’d much prefer to play Kazuki (even if he is spending most of his days in an office).

The most underwhelming news is…

Shoki Hirai : will stay for another year.
This also means that he got a 2 year contract last season because he did absolutely nothing last year after arriving at the club with a big name and history of scoring a hattrick in the ACL.
We needed a striker so badly last season, especially from August onwards when Ishizu and Punosevac had left, Sakata was injured, and Kanamori was away on international duty. The stage was set for Hirai to fill: he did absolutely nothing. I think he scored 1 goal (the 4th in a 4:2 win) despite playing in every game.
I’m sure he thinks a lot of himself because he once played with Yasuhito Endo, and his old team-mates just won J1. He would be better watching tapes from last season and seeing that he still has a lot of work to do.
Similar to Sakai I can’t really see what his skill is. He looks from old clips to be direct and dribble into the box. I didn’t see much of that last season, and he certainly doesn’t have the pace, height or strength to do much other than be a fox-in-the-box.

The most forgettable news is…

Kota Morimura : will stay for another year.
This also means that he got a 2 year contract because he was close to useless last year too.
He always looks like he might have a player inside him trying to get out, but I’m not sure who that player is.
Did OK at Kitakyushu where they play a direct game with the midfielders having little responsibility other than running towards the box and shooting as much as they can. Maybe this is the only way he can play, as soon as you rely on him, or give him an actual job to do he will let you down.
The first thing he should do is leave the chewing gum on the bench when he goes out to play.

Posted January 8, 2015 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

Lots of new players (including Sueyoshi back)   3 comments

I got 2 things right in the last week. Firstly that Noriyoshi Sakai would be staying for another year on loan (confirmed yesterday), and secondly that we haven’t seen the last old player return to the club as it was announced that Tetsuya Sueyoshi was coming back to the club after 2 years away with Sagan Tosu.

I was really disappointed that they had brought Suzuki Jun back; I have lost almost all hope for the season with news that Sueyoshi is also going to come back.
We haven’t had a midfield for 5 years, and while Sueyoshi is better than Suzuki Jun, we have now made exactly the same awful midfield which meant we finished 18th in 2012. The biggest problem during 2012 was that Sueyoshi and Suzuki in midfield were the worst midfield in the division, offering absolutely no protection for the defence.
They then left the club, became very unpopular with the supporters, and have now come back. I really don’t understand the thinking behind what has happened at the club in the last 3 months.

Since October we have lost a manager who was very popular with the supporters and brought back 2 players who had previously failed at the club and are very unpopular with the supporters. The scariest part being that maybe the management now think that we are ok for midfield when anyone who has seen Suzuki and Sueyoshi before know that we still have no-one to play in midfield, and now have players the supporters should give no time to.

In addition to Sueyoshi coming back lots of other new players have arrived today.

Tetsuya Sueyoshi : Won Rookie of the Year in his first season at the club and looked like he could become a useful player if he kept working hard.
Unfortunately we only really found out how good Nakamachi was after he left and Sueyoshi was exposed as someone who wasn’t really dynamic enough to cope as part of a midfield 2 (or 2.5).
He left the club to go to Sagan Tosu, something which really should be seen as unforgivable, and then after not even making onto their bench he has come back to Avispa asking for his old job back.
It doesn’t mean he can’t do well. He has excellent technique at times, and has more success with long shots and set pieces than anyone else at the club now Takeda has left. What it does mean is that we have to play a formation which makes space for his weaknesses (not as part of a midfield 2), and have the correct players playing next to him (not Suzuki Jun).
It also needs him to know that he still isn’t very good. Like many, many players in Japanese football he stopped getting any better as soon as he thought he’d done enough to stay as a pro-footballer. Winning Rookie of the Year was the worst thing for him, and he needs to forget what has happened before and work hard to get better.

“I am going to be playing back at Avispa for the first time in 3 seasons. I was able to experience many things as a footballer in the last 2 years. I will try to do my best to take advantage of this experience and contribute to more victories.
I will try my best to aim for promotion, and thank you for your support.”

Also arriving at the club is 19 year old goal-keeper Kousuke Nakamura:

Kousuke Nakamura : Coming on loan from Kashiwa Reysol this is obviously a player that Ihara knows about having previously worked at that club.
Having said that he is only 19 years old, and while Iker Casillas may have been thrown in goal this is Japan and he isn’t going to start ahead of Kamiyama., especailly at only 184cm.
It isn’t good news for me because Kamiyama needs to have competition, and with just Kasagawa and a 19 year old as his competition we don’t really have many options.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Kousuke Nakamura from Kashiwa Reysol. I’ll try my best to help Avispa Fukuoka become a force to challenge for promotion to J1. Thank you.”

We have also tried to fill up some spaces in defence at both centre-back and full-back…

Mizuki Hamada: Probably the most interesting player coming into the squad this year it looks like Hamada may have come to Avispa to play in the first team.
Arriving from Urawa Reds he is 24 years old, 186cm, and has already played 33 games at J1 level including games at Albirex last year so is presumably well known by our new General Manager.
Not being able to get games in the Urawa defence is no shame (they are one of the richest clubs in the league), and is well-rated by Urawa fans who think he is going to a good job for us in J2.
He actually started his football career in America where he played for their U15 team before being signed by Urawa. This gives me more confidence that this will work out as he has experience of a more direct, aggressive game which I still think is the best philosophy for Avispa to follow.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Mizuki Hamada. I want to make a good first impression on the supporters in helping to contribute towards victories and trying my best from the very first day. Let’s fight together towards promotion to J1. Thanks for your support.”

Masashi Kamekawa : Another defender arriving who looks like he will probably go straight into the team at full-back having played about half the games for Shonan over the last 2 seasons. He is listed as being right-footed, which with the arrival of Hokuto too may spell bad news for Mishima, unless he plays on the left (which apparently he has also done previously.
At 176cm he isn’t the smallest full-back in the world, and will hopefully be able to add a little height at the back post for when Kamiyama fails to come for a cross.
He has trained with the U-22 team in J3, but will hopefully be able to play over 30 games at J2 level which will help his footballing education more than another season of doing that.

“I want to try and help contribute towards Avispa being able to aim for promotion to J1. I also want to develop my skills individually with an aim of going to the Olympics so will work hard every day towards this goal. During my 3 years at Shonan I have developed an aggressive running game and want to show these skills I’ve learned from my previous manager.”

Posted January 7, 2015 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

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