Having played 4 games and lost 4 games while only scoring 1 goal Avispa have had a horrible return to J1.
The stats don’t tell the whole story though as we were probably the better team in the first half against Albirex, looked the more likely to score against Shimizu and Sendai for 60 minutes until conceding late goals, and led at half-time against Antlers.
Unfortunately we face a difficult game for our 5th game of the season, an away trip to one of the most successful teams in J-League history; Yokohama F Marinos.
It isn’t a game without hope as the Yokohama team hasn’t looked outstanding so far this season, and apart from ageing superstars Nakamura and Nakazawa don’t have any players I am too worried about. They have Masashi Oguro on their books who tore us a new one playing for Yokohama FC last season but he hasn’t got on the pitch yet.
I still expect Yokohama to win as they have all-round talent far better than us, and we are unlikely to deal with their team based attacks (especially if Yamaguchi is still at centre-back, and if Nakamachi is out injured), but wouldn’t say it would surprise me a massive amount if we got our first points of the season.
If Nakamachi is out then it will be a straight choice between Shimizu facing his old club, or Suzuki Jun showing if he is going to be able to step up.
Yokohama F Marinos 2 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
We won’t be able to deal with the set-piece expertise of Nakamura, and haven’t looked like scoring against far less organised opposition. Hopefully Naruoka can come back in and show why everyone had high hopes for him at the start of the season.