First post in a while as the transfer activity stopped, and a few boring training games with very little new things to say about the squad.
I was going to mention that Suzuki Jun crashed his car, but it didn’t seem that important after I found out that he wasn’t injured at all.
Tomorrow our adventure in J1 starts with a visit from Albirex Niigata. It is only the first game of the season but it is already looking like the sort of game which we should be trying to win, and definitely looking for some points from. All the pundits I have seen have us written down as dead-certs for 20th spot and a good start to the season is imperative.
Albirex are one of the best supported teams in Japan, but haven’t ever reached the top spots of the division. They lost their best player in Marcio Richardes to Urawa Reds in January and will hopefully come to Level 5 Stadium with a bit of a hangover from that.
Regarded as a team with hard-working, organised and skilful players, they have imported Bruno Lopes from Brazil to play up front as something of an unknown quantity. Again, Avispa need to hope he takes a couple of games to adjust to his new surroundings.
Avispa will be a totally new look team, with over half the team likely to be new players. With the Korean student at left-back being the only foreigner in the team maybe they can hit the ground running and get the 3 points.
The bookmakers have the teams as totally even, which is probably about right. The draw is a little higher at 3.30 which would make it the most attractive bet in my opinion. I couldn’t predict which draw, but think both teams would be happy with a point on the first day.
Avispa Fukuoka 2 : 2 Albirex Niigata
I think that there will be goals, but can’t see Avispa winning on their first game back in the top division. A lot will depend on Naruoka I think. If he can gel the team together and provide some creativity then hopefully the midfield and defence is robust enough to hold the ball at home.