Archive for June 2011

vs. Jubilo Iwata (youtube)   Leave a comment

Another Saturday, another defeat.

Check out the dive into the post at 45 seconds.

Posted June 25, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Uncategorized

vs Jubilo Iwata (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa Fukuoka 1 : 2 Jubilo Iwata
17′ Kanazono
43′ Yamada
78′ Naruoka

Who has been our best player for the last 3 games? Kentaro Shigematsu.

Which player was the only change after the defeat to Urawa Reds? Kentaro Shigematsu.

I really hope that Shigematsu starting from the bench was a reflection of him being tired after playing so many games in the hot weather, and having a game which involves him running, rather than as a choice by the manager.
I don’t have anything against Naruoka coming into the team, that guy has to step up and play at some point, but to do so at the expense of Shigematsu is crazy. It meant that Avispa started the game rooted to the bottom of the table with 2 strikers who like to float around and play flick passes while staying on the periphery of the area.

Almost by default this meant that again the closest that Avispa got to scoring for the first half of the game was to get the wingers in advanced positions and seemingly be looking for a deflection and corner with their crosses as there was no-one to aim for in the box. Alternatively the ball could be laid off outside the box for someone like Takumi Wada to run on to and blaze 25m off target. Again, I’m not having a go at Wada, at least he has the gumption to take shots on, but why does our left-back who has scored 3 goals in his 7 year career take more shots than our strikers?

Jubilo were not looking great in attack either, but the big difference being that during the few times they did get the ball into the final third they always looked like scoring. After a fairly bizarre incident where there Brazilian left-winger tried to head the ball and dove straight onto the post, they had another deep back post cross which Kanazono headed over Rokutan for what looked like a certain goal. Daiki somehow managed to scissor kick it onto the post and away for a corner.

The danger wasn’t gone and for the second game in a row Wada was beaten to a ball bouncing at his feet in the middle of the area as Kanazono powered through him and shot past helpless Rokutan. It was weak defending, and something which for all his attacking makes Wada something of a liability.

The pattern of possession and long shots by Avispa continued, and then on their next attack Jubilo scored again. This goal was more like the Jubilo from the home game with a really classy exchange of passes, piece of fantastic skill, and chip finish over the keeper by Yamada. It is a goal worth watching the highlights for.

Avispa were 2-0 down and buried. They looked a little better after the break, especially after Hideya had come back from injury to replace Yusuke on the right and Shigematsu had come on to fill the role he should have done from the start.
They managed to work a goal as Yamagata got the ball on the right and crossed into the area where Naruoka was actually waiting and headed really well just inside the post. It led to a frantic last 10 minutes, but in reality we never looked like equalising.

The only other real thing of note from the game was when Jubilo’s number 6 Nasu (?) seemed to get one of his teeth knocked out by Jogo. It was a total accident and Jogo found the tooth for him which was carried over to the coaches to look after while Nasu carried on playing. It was an incident easily missed as the Jubilo guy didn’t seem in the least bit concerned he had just had one of his front teth knocked out and was a hark back to an earlier era when players didn’t dive all over the pitch.

Posted June 25, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Jubilo (preview)   Leave a comment

A fairly dire performance against Urawa Reds where we struggled to make any chances apart from long range shots does not particularly fill me with confidence when we are playing against what have been the best opposition I have seen so far this season.

When we played Jubilo at home they destroyed us in the first half, and may have ended their alumni Makoto Tanaka’s career in the process. Since then we have changed our defence, but that is also leaking goals and I can’t see us getting anything from this game.

It will be the 3rd time we have played Jubilo this season, and having already lost 4-1 and 2-0 I don’t expect too much to be different.
In Maeda they have the standout Japanese striker from the last decade in the J-League, who without too much fuss has scored goals for fun against almost all opposition. In the last league match he embarrassed Daiki a little for their final goal, and I expect him to give him a hard time again today. We have the added physical presence of Kobara now, but I think we will concede at least 2 goals again.

In attack we now seem to be quite heavily reliant on Matsuura as our outlet. Unfortunately he only really provides that attack on days when he has a clear advantage over the full-back. On days when he has quality defence against him he has no plan b if he cannot better him one on one.

We will line up exactly as we did against Urawa Reds as we don’t really have any other options for the central 2 of Suzuki and Sueyoshi who are getting run ragged.

My Prediction
Avispa 1 – 3 Jubilo Iwata

Could easily be a hattrick for Maeda today, he looked a class apart the last time we played. Supported by a bunch of hard-working young kids he will get on the end of anything they supply.

Posted June 25, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Urawa (ratings)   Leave a comment

Rokutan – 6 Didn’t have much of a chance with the 1st and 2nd goals, they would have needed world class saves. The 3rd goal was a mess.

Wada – 6 Nearly cored goal of the season from a corner. Still looks ok in patches, but looked pretty terrible for the 3rd goal.

Tatsunori – 6 Seems to be very popular with all the opposition players (apart from that Korean guy at Sendai). Still running.

Daiki – 7 I’m starting to think he should play in midfield instead of Sueyoshi as he always looks really good when he runs forward. the problem being that we have noone to replace him at centre-back.

Kobara – 6 Not terrible, but the weakest of the games he has played.

Sueyoshi – 5 Needs a break, he can’t get near the ball at the moment. Starting to struggle against the much stronger J1 midfielders.

Suzuki – 6 Was the better of the midfield 2, but still not dictating play as he should. Got into the box for a good chance and needs to do this more. Not sure what is up with his shooting from distance, I thought that was something he was good at.

Yusuke – 6 Really wanted him to push the ball past and run, but didn’t again. Coming more central to try and get more involved.

Jogo – 6 A couple of interesting shots at goal, but little else. Needs to be reminded that he is one of the strikers and if he comes out to give an option on the wing there is noone in the box.

Matsuura – 5 Ineffective for this game. On days when he doesn’t have the better of his full-back he doesn’t offer much else.

Shigematsu – 6 Ran a lot again which is what we need, and got a bit of a kick without being over-powered. No chances to score.

Yoshihara – 7 Made and had a chance almost as son as he came on. Tried a couple of things which didn’t work out, but at least he had the invention.

Yutaka – 5 2-0 down, waste of time.

Naruoka – 6 No better or worse than Suzuki really. the biggest disappointment of the season.

Shinoda – 5 4? 5 Game without a win? Seems to think he has sorted out the defence, but he hasn’t, and we aren’t even scoring now either.

Posted June 24, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Urawa (youtube)   Leave a comment

Still not much to cheer about on these youtube videos. At least earlier in the season we were scoring some goals every now and then. We haven’t scored since Nagoya now I think.

At least we had a couple of chances to score in this game which is more than in some of the previous matches.

Posted June 23, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Urawa (report)   Leave a comment

Urawa 3 – 0 Avispa
53′ Suzuki
73′ Marcio Richardes
90′ Edmilson

Despite playing a club in the lower half of the table I was far less optimistic about getting anything from this game than I was against Kashiwa at the weekend. Urawa haven’t been playing great this season but still have the players and the budget to beat anyone on the league, and should have been looking at Avispa as a chance to kickstart their season.

The game didn’t start off that way however, with Urawa looking a little sluggish and being limited to fairly weak free-kicks which the referee seemed willing to give every time the ball came near the Avispa box. These were being pretty much wasted by Marcio Richardes, with one exception as a near post cross should have been buried by the big Australian defender who’d come up from the back.

At the other end the same Aussie was having a decent game and was one of the main reasons why Avispa were being able to get the ball towards the Urawa box but having to resort to long range efforts at goal which didn’t trouble the keeper. Jogo tried a lob from outside the box, with Wada going for a Goal of the Season contender as he hit the resulting corner full on the volley from the back of the box.

Urawa were countering fast when they got chances to and there striker managed to stay on-side, but perhaps the best chance of the half fell to Suzuki Jun darting towards the near post to meet a cross from Yusuke which was saved by the keeper and from Suzuki’s reaction may have been on target.

Going into half-time against tough opposition level yet again it seemed inevitable that we would tire/get nervous/not cope with any changes/whatever it is which affects us in the 2nd half and concede a goal.
It didn’t take long as a smart move around the edge of the Avispa box with interchange between Mazolla and Marcio Richardes set Keita Suzuki free running into the box. I hope Sueyoshi was paying attention as the breaking defensive midfielder could slot calmly past Rokutan completely unmarked.

Avispa tried to react and were really unlucky not to equalise from a corner. Using the short corner routine which got us so many goals last season it was Jogo who met the ball to the front of the box and let the ball run across him and poke towards goal. It beat everyone except the bar, hitting the underside and bouncing down about a metre out. It could have gone anywhere, and is the sort of ball Genki was so good at getting on the end of last year, but was cleared easily.

Starting to look a little deflated I don’t think they were happy to see the bog Brazilian Edmilson coming on. Having failed to cope with Brazilians all season (with the exception of Kobe), they did so again as Edmilson powered past Wada down the right wing and picked out Richardes in the middle. Beating Daiki to the ball on the stretch he put a classy finish past Rokutan.

Shinoda tried to respond by putting on Yutaka (which I’ve mentioned before I think is a waste of time at 2-0 down) and Masato (which I really want him to do more) but the team looked finished and aside from a half chance for Masato didn’t ever look like pulling a goal back.

They didn’t really deserve to lose the game 3-0 but nearly did when Kashiwagi chipped a ball onto the bar when clean through on goal, and then did when the same player beat Daiki for strength and crossed for Edmilson to miscontrol and then beat some poor defending/keeping by Wada and Rokutan as he got to the bouncing ball first.

Posted June 22, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs Kashiwa (ratings)   Leave a comment

Rokutan – 6 Wasn’t called upon a great deal, and didn’t do much wrong. Possibly could have made himself bigger for the first goal.

Tatsunori – 6 Supported in attack and defended well for the most part. The first goal came from someone unmarked on his side.

Wada – 6 Still quite impressive at times. I’d still take Min Je in a stright choice.

Daiki – 7 Coped pretty well with a strong attack.

Kobara – 7 Definitely first choice partner for Daiki, better than Makoto and Yamaguchi on this evidence.

Sueyoshi – 4 Our most important player for today’s game. Really needed him to impose himself, but he looked lost and rarely got anywhere near the ball.

Suzuki – 6 Better than he has been, but probably makes life harder for Sueyoshi with his lack of presence. Need Nakamachi back.

Matsuura – 6 Had that one really good game, and hasn’t matched it since.

Jogo – 6 Should concentrate on being the support striker, but still needs to remember to get into the box.

Yusuke – 6 Puts in effort, and is starting to be helpful in defence, but cannot seem to beat his man any more.

Shigematsu – 6 Full of energy again, but didn’t scare the defence like I hoped he would. Hit a decent long range free-kick, but snatched at the best chance of the game when through on goal.

Ushinohama – 6 I like that he got a game, but didn’t do a great deal.

Naruoka – 6 A few nice touches, and more than in previous games, but still not the player we were hoping for.

Shinoda – 5 Playing against a team he should know quite well he didn’t seem to have learned, or have much of a plan. They were better than last year, but played in a very similar way. We were also better, but didn’t seem to know how we were playing.

Posted June 22, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Kashiwa (youtube)   Leave a comment

Still can’t find any highlights from the Kobe game unfortunately, but here are some double highlights from yesterday’s game.

I wondered if I was being biased when I said Avispa were on top for a lot of the game, but the highlights seem to support this.

Posted June 18, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Kashiwa (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa 0 : 2 Kashiwa Reysol
39′ Tanaka
90′ Hyodo

Things aren’t getting any easier for Avispa as table topping Kashiwa reysol came to Level-5 Stadium and returned home with all 3 points despite a spirited performance from Avispa.

As with a few games this season Avispa will be sitting in the dressing room after the game thinking they could and probably should have got something from the game, but have been let down by a lack of cutting edge up front, and opposition who don’t need a lot of chances to score.

Avispa started with the same team as mid-week with Nakamachi, Okamoto and Kim Min Je all totally absent from the squad. As in the mid-week game they looked defensively sound, and were able to make some nice moves going forward without ever really troubling the keeper.

Able to get the ball in areas towards the opposition goal they were unable to find a key to the defence and resorted to long shots which were either being blocked en-route to goal or easily being saved. There were fewer balls being crossed into the box, with the wingers cutting inside more but the Kashiwa keeper was being tested no more than the Kobe one had been on Wednesday.
The best chance fell to Yusuke on the edge of the box after Wada had crossed a good diagonal ball to Shigematsu in the box who had done well to beat the defender and pull back to the edge of the box.

Although Avispa weren’t testing the Kashiwa keeper, Rokutan equally wasn’t being tested at the other end. The first clear chance for Reysol resulted in a goal. Sueyoshi was chasing shadows in the middle of the pitch and Leandro went for a give and go outside the penalty area. Rather than picking out the Brazilian the ball was lifted across the penalty area where Tanaka met it on the full and finished classily to take the lead.

Avispa continued to toil against the Kashiwa defence, and made small openings for the rest of the half, and into the 2nd half. As they went in search of the equaliser they left gaps at the back which Kashiwa nearly exploited on the counter, but Rokutan pulled off a good 1-on-1 save.
The best chance for Avispa fell for Shigematsu who was having another good energetic game. A free-kick from the right was crossed in by Matsuura and met by Yusuke’s head. Deflecting off a defender it fell to Shigematsu less than 5 yards out but he snathced at the chance and blazed over.
The crowd had earlier been excited by a long range free-kick by Shigematsu, but in reality it would have taken a terrible error by the goal-keeper to let it in.

Avispa would have 1 more really close chance to try and share the points after Yusuke ran onto a ball and into the box wrong footing Jorge Wagner in the process. Trying to curl the ball beyond the goal-keeper he missed the far post by less than a metre.

There was always the threat of a counterattack goal as they looked for an equaliser, and it came in the 90th minute. After getting a very close scare 3 minutes earlier after a ball in from the right they were paid to pay by another. Crossing to the near post, Hyodo reached the ball before Daiki and smartly finished at the near post to flatter Kashiwa with a 2-0 victory.

Posted June 18, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Kashiwa (preview)   Leave a comment

A return to Level-5 stadium with the games now coming thick and fast. The spectre of no points gained has now gone after a midweek away draw with Kobe, and I hope that this makes the team a little less nervous towards the end of games.

It is a game which on paper we have no chance with today as 1st play bottom, with Kashiwa Reysol visiting from Chiba. Their start to the season has been as good as ours has been bad, having got promotion with us last season they have clocked up 22 points already to leave them clear in 1st place.

Having seen them last season I am not really surprised by this as they were very well organised defensively, and had J2 player of the season Leandro Dominguez pulling the strings as a class act in midfield. Nakamachi gave him a battle last season but he still made 2 goals in the best performance I saw from an individual player.
To this team they have added the genuine quality of Jorge Wagner on the wing who has probably been the best import so far this season.

Despite this I think we have a real chance of getting something from the game, and can imagine you can get some attractive odds from a bookmaker for this.
Having played them in J2 last season we shouldn’t be scared of them despite their start to the season, and Shinoda should have some experience of their defensive movement and be coming up with a plan to deal with it.
Their fullbacks like to push up and supplement midfield, with the centre-backs going wider and the defensive midfielder dropping deeper. This movement worked very well last time they came, but has a big potential to be disrupted if we can get behind it. Shigematsu may well be an ideal player for this with his energetic running.

While we got our first points of the season mid-week Kashiwa were taken apart by Jubilo losing 3-0 and may have some lingering doubts about a few things.

I don’t expect Avsiap alumni Nakajima to be playing.

Key match-ups

Shigematsu vs. Central defence
The defence pair can get a little separated as they try to cover the full-backs pushing up. If Shigematsu can exploit some of the space between them then the whole defence may be forced to stay deeper.

Sueyoshi vs Leandro Dominguez
I think Sueyoshi has to stay a little deeper, and give Leandro a bit of a kick. I thought he was lucky to stay on the pitch last time he came, and could be rattled. Staying closer to Leandro gives Jogo an extra job of coming deeper to help midfield and letting Shigematsu be a little more isolated.

My prediction
Avispa 3 – 1 Kashiwa Reysol

I’m going to be very bold and predict a win for Avispa. I can’t imagine many other pundits will, but we have played them recently, we’re hopefully in better spirits than in recent games, and if we get a couple of early goals can make things difficult for their defence.

Posted June 18, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Preview