Archive for August 2010
I had a nervous Sunday night watching the j-league.co.jp site updating their website as the game wasn’t being shown on TV again, and I wasn’t going to go all the way to Toyama on a Sunday night.
My mood wasn’t improved when I saw that Toyama had scored the first goal of the night after just 2 minutes. Coming after an early cross into the box from Nakamachi, and shot in the middle by Jogo, it seems like Avispa were just caught cold and fell behind to Toayama’s first attack.
There have been a few games this season where Avispa have fallen behind and come back so I was still hopeful of a result, but as the game went deeper into the 2nd half it looked like it might be another really disappointing defeat.
After 56 minutes Shinoda brought on Jumbo in search of a goal. I have been one of Jumbo’s biggest critics, but actually quite like him in this role. If the team need a goal then bringing him on late in a game will give the team a tactical variation, being able to play the ball more direct and maybe even reverting to a more traditional 442. If something isn’t working in a game then Shinoda needs to have a plan B, and while Okubo is very predictable in how the team will play it is a change in tactics.
In this game Okubo seems to have changed the game. Within 5 minutes of coming on Kamiyama has played a route one ball upfield looking for Okubo’s head. Timing a near perfect flick header Okubo glanced the ball onto Jogo who managed to muscle past a defender and strike an unstoppable shot into the far corner from long range.
It will remembered as Jogo’s goal (and rightly so, as a fantastic shot) but Okubo coming on has played a big part in the goal.
As a little bonus watch out for the Ultra nearly fall out of the front of the stadium as he celebrates.
Having seen that Avispa had got an equaliser I was refreshing the web-page all the time thinking that we must have the momentum to go and win the game, but also remembered that I thought exactly the same against Thespa.
Thankfully this time it was different as the ball was pumped back into the box after a corner where again Okubo managed to get to it, chesting the ball down to Nakamachi in space in the box.
If Nakamachi has got space in the box this season it has generally led to a goal, and so it did here, as he cleverly slipped a ball through to Jogo who scored his 4th goal in the last 2 away matches.
Avispa have one of their longest trips today as they travel up to Hokuriku to play Toyama.
Coming off the back of their great 5-0 win against Mito Hollyhock they will be hoping for another win, but shouldn’t expect Toyama to be as generous as Mito were last week.
I am hopeful of a win as Avispa beat Toyama 5-0 at Level 5 stadium, with Toyama being the worst team I have seen in this division on that day.
The bookmakers agree with me, as an Avispa win is rated as a 46% chance with odds of 2.13. While away games can always be difficult I’d say that it was a pretty good bet.
Toyama 0 – 2 Avispa.
Fairly comfortable win to keep up with JEF who beat Okayama yesterday.
Unfortunately I missed the game this week, and it wasn’t a good game to miss as Avispa found their form and hit 5 unanswered goals past Mito to help their goal difference as they try to catch up with 3rd place.
Watching the goal highlights it seems like Mito imploded a little, as mistakes by them led to a few of the goals, but there was also some excellent finishing.
Hopefully this will have the same effect as the previous big win (against Roasso Kumamoto) and we will now go on a big run of wins.
Goal 1 : As predicted, Sueyoshi was rewarded for his recent long range shooting by opening the scoring with a shot from outside the box after a mistake by Mito.
Goal 2 : Kudo cuts the ball back cleverly to Jogo who places a strong shot at goal. The keeper makes a save, but Genki is the first to react again and can score from a metre out.
Goal 3 : Tatsunori hits a great ball to Jogo in the box who turns very well and finds Nakamachi on the edge of the box. In his form this season he wasn’t going to miss, and smashes an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Goal 4 : A mistake by Mito after a corner lets Nakamachi get the ball in the box. With the defence in disarray he uses some crazy skill to chip the ball into the far corner of the net. In a season of great goals, this is his best yet.
Goal 5 : Pressure from Nakamachi helps Jumbo make a tackle and run with the ball towards goal. Passing to Yusuke on the break he wants a return ball, but Yusuke rifles a shot in at the near post. He doesn’t seem to do assists, but if he socres like this it doesn’t matter!
Avispa return to Level 5 stadium today having picked up an away draw against 2nd place Ventforet Kofu last week. Ordinarily this would be a great result, but we are in danger of a points gap being made between us and the top 3 and need to close it before they get too comfortable.
Playing on a Saturday for the first time in a while, Mito Hollyhock will be welcomed to Kyushu in a game the team will be hoping to get a fairly comfortable win from.
Mito have been a mid-division team for the last decade, and have the experience to beat anyone on their day, but seem to be on a bit of a slump in form at the moment.
Avispa are the big favorites at 1.74, with a Mito win seen as a long shot with odds of over 4. This seems over-priced, Avispa have shown they can lose to anyone this season, but still expect Avispa to win.
Avispa 3 : 1 Mito
Sueyoshi to open the scoring with one of his shots from the edge of the box going in. We’ll concede a goal from a header at some point, probably from a corner.
The first goal, scored within 3 minutes by the resurgent Jogo.
A smart through ball to beat the off-side trap by Nakamachi with Jogo calmly slotting in to score.
Ventforet Kofu 2 : 2 Avispa Fukuoka
3 mins – *****GOAL***** Perfect start as Jogo continues to show his worth by cleverly chipping the ball into the empty net while being closed down by the keeper and defenders. Hideya also shows he is better as a loan striker than Okubo as he gets a great head-on assist from Kamiyama’s long ball.
22 mins – Goal for Kofu. A ball from the left is crossed into the box where Daiki misses a clearance. Mike Hefner looks like he must be off-side as he knocks in at the back post, but may have been played onside by Yamagata in the confusion.
23 mins – Goal for Kofu. Sucker punch goal as Avispa get caught cold after conceding the equaliser. Daiki at fault again as Hefnar shows his strength to hold off a challenge and knock past Kamiyama.
55 mins – *****GOAL***** Kofu #5 tries to play the off-side trap, but is well caught out by Jogo who runs unopposed towards goal and calmly scores an equaliser.
Kamiyama – 7. Didn’t really have a chance with either goal, and otherwise didn’t make any mistakes.
Yamagata – 6. Did ok other than being the player who may have played Hefner onside for the first goal.
Nakajima – 6. Not as attacking as usual, and looks like he needs a few games to get match fitness.
Daiki – 5. At fault for both goals. A very difficult afternoon against the division top scorer, but showed he has some work to do.
M Tanaka – 6. Some good work, but still part of a defence conceding 2 soft goals.
Sueyoshi – 6. Has added long range shooting to his game, and will hopefully soon get a goal from this.
Nakamachi – 7. Have come to expect a goal from him, but this was still a good allround midfield performance.
Kudo – 6. Fine, but seems to play much better at home.
Genki – 7. Still trying to beat his man on the wing and scares opposition full-backs.
Jogo – 8. Took his goals very well. Showed calmness in front of goal for both goals. My Man of the Math.
Hideya – 7. Showed that he is able to play the target man striker role well with an excellent jump and header for the first goal.
Coming off the back of a decent win against Ehime, Avispa now face a tough couple of weeks which will go a long way towards deciding whether they can get promotion this season.
Just 3 points behind JEF, and with a game in hand, they play the team from Chiba next week with a chance to leap-frog them into 3rd place. Whether they are able to do that depends on the result this week against 2nd place Ventforet Kofu.
Kofu have been playing very well during the middle part of this season, but while I think Reysol, JEF and even Tokyo Verdy, are going to be able to maintain pace for the whole season I can see Kofu might have a bad month at some point.
Hopefully that will start tomorrow, with an Avispa team playing with more energy in attack forcing a great away win.
Bookmakers are rightly saying that Ventforet are the favorites to win, setting a home win at 47%, with a draw and an away win given almost equal odds. I think Ventforet are a little too favoured from this with current league position given too much credence.
My Prediction: Ventforet Kofu 1 – 1 Avispa Fukuoka
Ordinarily this would be a good result for Avispa, but having lost to Thespa they really need a win to keep pace with JEF. If Okubo starts then they lose 3-0.