The game on Sunday will have one issue perhaps above all others; the return of Jumbo Okubo. After playing for us for 3 seasons, and scoring goals at times when no-one else was he was released by Avispa at the end of last season and promptly went on to sign for relegation rivals Yamagata.
I wasn’t his biggest fan, and was quite pleased when he left, but having then started the season without replacing him and playing with no penalty box presence for most of this season there are times I’ve wanted him back.
I don’t know the exact reasons for his departure, but expect him to get a very good welcome from the Avispa fans on his return rather than the mauling that Genki got.
The actual match is a full on relegation dog-fight with both teams cut adrift at the bottom of the table. I’d be inclined to call it a 6-pointer, but that implies that either team has something to gain by winning the match when in all likelihood they’ll still both get relegated 17th and 18th at the end of the season regardless of results.
If Avispa are to get out of their trouble then they must win games like this. A win here would lift them off the bottom of the table, and they are probably clear favorites for the first time this season. While Avispa are on a run of their best form of the season, Montedio are in free-fall and playing like a team bereft of ideas (pretty much what I would expect from a team with Jumbo as the striker).
Avispa will be able to win if they can get behind a very strong, but not particularly mobile backline and force Yamagata to open up a bit in search of a goal. Defensively they are likely to be under a whole raft of high balls and need to be able to take the advantage in these.
Avispa 2 : 0 Yamagata
Unfortunately it will be the first home game of the season I will miss as I have to work. I expect us to win this with our current form with the two wingers being crucial. Jogo and Matsuura to score after getting beyond the full backs and pulling balls back.