Archive for August 2011

vs. Kashima Antlers (ratings)   Leave a comment

Can’t find any highlights from the game this week, but it is pretty painful viewing anyway.

Rokutan –5 Didn’t actually do too much wrong, was just horribly exposed. Still let in 6 goals and can’t be too thrilled about that.

Wada – 4 Has done alright recently, but the time must have come for Kim Min Je after being too narrow. Was till trying, but his crossing is poor.

Miyaji – 3 His first opportunity to show what he can do in J1 and was totally out of his depth. Bottom half J2 player.

Daiki – 3 Hopeless. Looked to have given up at times, and may as well go back to Gamba if he has. On totally different lines to Kobara at times and muscled off the ball embarassingly for the 6th goal.

Kobara – 4 Still looked to be trying, but not got the quality on his own if Daiki is playing really badly.

Suzuki Jun – 5 Didn’t take the opportunity to show he should be first choice to play alongside Nakamachi. Poor delivery on set pieces.

Nakamachi – 5 Needed to be playing 10m ahead of where he was to move the play higher up the pitch and give options from defence. Should be banned from taking 3 touches in his own half, it puts too much pressure on the shaky defence.

Naruoka – 6 Was asked to play right wing and couldn’t do it. Looked better in the middle, and made one good chance for himself with a piece of individual skill but snatched at it a bit.

Matsuura – 7 The one thing learned from the game against Kobe was to have him playing centrally. Worked hard, forced fouls and was generally our best player.

Hideya – 4 We were playing with 10 players at times as Hideya strolled around waiting for the ball while we headed towards 3-0 down.

Jogo – 4 If Hideya made it like playing with 10, Jogo made it like playing with 9. His head has gone and he needs time off if he isn’t able to run through it.

Shigematsu – 6 Was trying at least, but not getting any help and sometimes trying to do too much.

Yusuke – 6 gave us a better option on the right, but when we bring on a 1.9m striker that is the time to put in crosses in the air. At a time when it would have been useful he stopped doing this.

Ramazotti – 5 Good to see him come on, but I think he is still a long way from match fitness. Looked slow and didn7t hold the ball up well. Not a good match to have a debut.

Asano – 3 Did the match against Kobe count for nothing? Going 2-0 down and then letting your defence pass the ball around among themselves. Letting Nakamachi come back into the half to try and get the ball. Leaving Shigematsu and Kim Min Je on the bench. Needs to learn fast from mistakes.

Posted August 30, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs Kashima Antlers (report)   Leave a comment

Kashima Antlers 6 – 0 Avispa Fukuoka
19′ Tashiro, 45′ Endo, 48′ Iwamasa, 57′ Tanaka, 80′ Endo, 88′ Tashiro

I wasn’t expecting Avispa to do anything except lose tonight; they were up against the form team in the division, away from home, and only 4 days after the exertions of the Kobe game.
What I was expecting was some sort of a fight, not least for the away fans who had traveled all the way up to Ibaraki and have supported the team really well all season in quite difficult circumstances.

The performance today was terrible. The first half against Kobe had been the worst I had seen this season, this match was worse than that.

The first concern for me was that having found a slightly different formation, and direct attacking mentality in the 2nd half against Kobe the team which took to the field was closer to the same one which performed terribly in the 1st half of that game.
Matsuura was kept in the central attacking position, and he was the one player tonight who I thought did quite well. Other than that Naruoka was playing on the right wing (for the first time in his career?), Miyaji came in for his first game of the season at right-back, and the two players who did most to turn things around against Kobe (Kim Min Je and Shigematsu) stayed on the bench.

The style of play was much like the ineffective faux-tikitaka crap which has been served up all season. Short passes building from defence towards one of the wings, usually intercepted along the way due to someone trying to do a flick pass behind their back. The result then being the opposition team runs direct at the big spaces left open and has a shot on goal after 3-4 passes.
This meant that despite having about 65% of the possession in the first half, and probably way more successful passes, Avispa managed 1 off-target shot in the entire half.

Facing hard-working strikers who help out in defence before being willing to run the length of the pitch to try and support an attack we have guys like Hideya, Jogo and Naruoka who will try a few 1-2 passes and reverse balls when they have the ball, but make next to no effort most of the time to try and get possession back.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for players like Shigematsu, Kim Min Je, and Yusuke to be left on the bench and see these guys who don’t seem willing to leave their skin out there. Shigematsu isn’t even an Avispa player and he works his heart out, picking up a yellow card today for having the heart to dispute a line-call when we were already 5-0 down.
From the players who started today only Matsuura seemed to be putting in as much as he could, and he isn’t even an Avispa player either.

Kashima were decent, they play incisive quick balls, direct and not too fussy. They weren’t they best team we have played this season even though they have inflicted our biggest loss. 6-0 doesn’t flatter them; in fact if they hadn’t spent a bit of time in the last 20 minutes with every player seemingly trying to score they could have had 8 or 9.

Posted August 28, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Kashiwa Antlers (preview)   Leave a comment

After the second half heroics against Kobe the Avispa team are going to heading up to Ibaraki to play J=League heavyweights Kashiwa Antlers.

Antlers had a tough start to the season under some difficult circumstances, but in the second half of the season have been playing up to expectations and risen up the table after going on an 8 game unbeaten streak in which they have won 6.

Known for being quite an expansive team they will be the strong favorites for the win and it will be up to Avispa to try and deal with their short passing game.

The big question for me will be is if Asano saw enough in the 2nd half against Kobe to be brave enough to tweak the starting formation.
After keeping the 4231 formation all season, with few positive results, there seemed a marked switch to a stricter 4141 in the 2nd half against Kobe and the results were obvious.

While 4141 might seem more defensive on paper it certainly wasn’t on the pitch. Our problem all season has been the big space in the middle of the pitch which allowed opposition teams to build attacks under no pressure, and crosses into the box being cleared under no pressure in attack.






I believe this is our best team, and think something needs to change if we are to pull off a great escape. It isn’t a huge change, but one which addresses our biggest problem about space in midfield.

My Prediction

Kashiwa 2 : 0 Avispa

This is probably the hardest game we have between now and the end of the season, and anything we get from this game is a bonus to me. We still need 8 wins, and this isn’t one I am really hoping for.

Posted August 27, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Vissel Kobe (ratings)   Leave a comment

These ratings are an average for the whole match. You could subtract 2 for almost all players to get their first half ratings, and add 2 for their second half.

Rokutan – 7 Everyone will remember the goal from Shigematsu to get the draw, but if Rokutan hadn’t done a great point-blank save in the 92nd minute the match would have been over.

Tatsunori – 6 Has done well so far this season, and always puts in an honest performance. Average tonight.

Wada – 7 Least to blame for the passing aruond defence in the first half. Switched to right fullback and continued to do well. Provided assist for 2nd goal.

Daiki – 5 The main culprit in trying to pass the ball around defence. If he wants to get involved in attack then he should break forward and supplement midfield, not try to act as some sort of playmaker.

Kobara – 6 Needs to stop passing around defence, was hopefully embarrassed enough by first half he will have learned. Great tackle on Okubo breaking into the box.

Jun Suzuki – 7 Re-invented himself for me tonight. I’ve been wanting him to build dynamism in attack, but put in some solid tackles in a defensive role tonight. I’ve always thought he is better than Sueyoshi in attack, tonight he was better in defence too.

Nakamachi – 6 Wanted too much time against a team playing a pressing game, responsible for the 2nd goal. Excellent in the 2nd half in a more advanced role, this is where he must play.

Yusuke – 6 Disappointing first touch at times. When Avispa have the ball I want to see him using his pace and breaking beyond the fullback for someone to try and find him with the ball in front of him.

Hideya – 5 Anonymous again. When he sees players coming on and doing better than him in his position what is he thinking? Must work harder when not in possession.

Matsuura – 7 Total difference from 1st half to 2nd half. Couldn’t beat his man in the first half, but with his ability to go either way and willingness to break he was great in a central role.

Jogo – 5 Didn’t get a touch in the first half. Flashed a difficult shot in the second, but the team looked far better after he went off.

Kim Min Je – 8 The best crosser in the team. They have to find a way of getting this guy in the team, whether it is left-back or left wing he has been one of the best players every time he has played.

Shigematsu – 8 With more time on the pitch probably would have got a 9 or 10. Fantastic energy, scares defenders every time he gets the ball, and scored an incredible goal.

Yutaka – 5 Hasn’t proved me wrong by scoring a goal this season, still hasn’t looked like scoring.

Asano – 7 Sorted the team out at half-time with what I assume must have been a strong half-time talk. Needs to make sure he learns from tonight and never sends a team out like in the first half.

Posted August 26, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Vissel Kobe (youtube)   Leave a comment

Can’t find full highlights this week, but the 2 goals conceded were so bad it would make quite uncomfortable viewing anyway.

Thanks to the reliable cocktails15 who always uploads the Avispa goals we can see them. I especially like the way the team ran to get the ball after Shigematsu scores thinking that maybe they can still get a winner with 20 seconds left to play!

Matsuura’s first goal for the club. The key being him and Nakamachi both playing in more advanced central positions then usual.

The late equalising goal from Shigematsu. A great piece of individual forward play rather than trying to play 3 passes inside the box.
Matsuura again in the right place to collect the second ball.

Posted August 25, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Vissel Kobe (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa Fukuoka 2 – 2 Vissel Kobe
6′ Popo, 24’Yoshida – 60′ Matsuura, 90+3 Shigematsu

I’d said before the game that I thought Avispa needed 8 wins between now and the end of the season to pull off a miracle escape from relegation, and that this was a game they should be winning to bring that total down to 7 more needed.

Having drawn the game I should be disappointed, and I am, but i also hope that the team learned something about themselves tonight and can use that positively in the remaining games.

It is impossible to really talk about the game unless you look at the 1st and 2nd halves seperately.

1st Half
Avispa were as bad as I have seen them this season.

They started without addressing the problems seen against Kashiwa with both Suzuki Jun and Nakamachi staying within 5m of the central defenders and leaving a big hole in the middle of the pitch.
Sending long balls out to the wingers these were usually easily dealt with by defenders who could watch the ball onto their heads and knock it down for the 2nd ball to be picked up with next to no problems.

Playing in this style they were also limiting Kobe, but then gave away the first goal in ridiculous circumstances. After winning a throw-in on the right wing just outside the Kobe box the ball was passed all the way back to the defence because of the limited options available. Pressed quickly by the Kobe attackers Popo and Yoshida they gave the ball away just outside the box to concede from a throw-in just outside the opposition box.

Sadly it was a fairly typical goal to concede for Avispa, and they didn’t seem to learn from it in any way. There seems to be some confusion in the Avispa defence that they are all Paulo Maldini and can pass the ball around freely to start attacks. There is a reason we have conceded 50-something goals this season, that’s because none of you are Paulo Maldini.

15 minutes later the mistake was repeated as Nakamachi chose to try and pass the ball back to the defence from within his half where it was again intercepted and easily converted in a second 1-on-1 situation by the lively Yoshida.

Fukuoka had had no chances to score in the entire half, and had rarely got the ball out of their own half after deciding it would be a good idea to repeatedly pass the ball along the defensive line while Nakamachi and Suzuki Jun came back to join in the fun.

Despite losing so many games and conceding so many goals this season it was the first time I’ve heard the fans booing during the game.

2nd half
I was considering going home if they started the 2nd half in the same way, but within 2 minutes it was clear that they had had a strong talking to at half-time and things looked very different.

The front 4 started to try and run beyond defenders when we had the ball, and close Kobe down when they had it. Nakamachi was playing in the opposition half with Suzuki Jun trusted to play a more defensive role alone. With attackers making runs the defenders started trying to pick out players in the opponents half rather than play between themselves. Perhaps most significantly the previously ineffective Matsuura played in a central position.

The difference was immediate. While playing in a more attacking way may have been seen as more of a risk the chances for Kobe totally dried up.
Yusuke started to have some luck down his wing, and with Matsuura’s ability to go either way he started to beat a player occasionally. The biggest change was Nakamachi playing in a more advanced position. Previously the ball was always crossed into the box where no-one could meet it. With Nakamachi on the edge of the box it produced an option for a low cross, and meant that someone was there for the 2nd ball if it was cleared.

Jogo sent a shot flashing past the near post with a difficult volley from the right wing, Matsuura was found in the box after some neat play by Nakamachi and Hideya, and before too long Avispa had pulled one back.

Yusuke touched a bobbling ball past the left-back and crossed along the floor to Jogo where the Kobe defender Kitamoto (who had been dominant in the air until then) touched it back to the edge of the box. With the tweak in formation Matsuura was waiting on the D where he danced away from a couple of players and shot into the corner through a crowded box.

The game was on, with Avispa only looking better after Shigematsu and Kim Min Je had come on for Tatsunori and Hideya. I’m still convinced that Kim Min Je is the best crosser at the club and they need to have him in the team.
Nakamachi continued to make problems with his more advanced position with crosses being aimed along the floor at him and he won and wasted a free-kick on the edge of the box, before Suzuki Jun hit a wild shot from his left foot well over the bar after Shigematsu had opened up some space.

With 5 minutes remaining Kobe were looking to waste time in the corner, and it was starting to look like this would pay dividends as the clock ticked well into injury time.
After 3 of 4 minutes had been played the big Korean substitue from Kobe bundled Daiki over for one last attack. Avispa piled forward and a deep cross by Takumi was controlled sublimely by Shigematsu at the back of the box. Cutting inside to be closed down by 4 defenders he rifled the ball home to complete a great comeback.

We needed the 3 points, but maybe a lesson has been learned about not sitting back and trying to be too patient from defence which may be a bigger help in the long run.

Posted August 24, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Vissel kobe (preview)   Leave a comment

A midweek game coming up tonight against Vissel Kobe who will be arriving at Level-5 Stadium on a 4 game winning streak. This is probably their best run of form in the last couple of seasons and while that could be a big concern, I’m also optimistic when I see things like that as these runs have to end somewhere.

The away match against Kobe was when we broke our losing streak at the start of the season, coming away with a 0-0 draw where we had some chances to win.
In that game Okubo lived up to his billing as star player for Kobe with a great performance playing all over the pitch and pulling the strings, but was let down by some fairly ineffective front play. We will get punished if we allow the big gaps outside the penalty boxes as we did against Kashiwa.

Naruoka and Ramazotti were both injured against Kashiwa, and Suzuki Jun was suspended. I don’t know if any of these players are likely to play, but wouldn’t be opposed to Suzuki Jun coming back in as Sueyoshi isn’t tackling enough for someone who is in the team primarily as a defensive screen so we may as well go for the goals which Suzuki can pull out of nowhere.

I’m hoping the defence have a decent game against the loan striker Popo who isn’t the tallest striker in the League which is something our small team can struggle against.

My Prediction
Avispa 3 – 1 Vissel

Positive prediction. We need to win 8 games between now and the end of the season, this is one of them. I’m hoping that the team push up and attack with the fullbacks providing the width for others to crowd midfield and fill the gaps which opened up in the last game.

Posted August 24, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Kashiwa (ratings)   Leave a comment

Rokutan – 8 Let in 3 goals, but pulled off 2-3 great saves during the match which with a little more help from his defence could have won points.

Wada – 5 Dragged out of position for the first goal, and at other times. Had a good run, maybe time for a change.

Tatsunori – 6 Can’t fault his effort, but left isolated quite often.

Daiki – 6 Needed to organise the defence much better. Was being caught out by the movement of strikers and guile of Leandro over and over again.

Kobara – 5 Has done well in the middle of the season, nut got caught out a bit today. Last man for the 3rd goal.

Sueyoshi – 5 Got the early assist and I thought things were going to go well, but then dropped out of the game almost entirely. When my satellite dish came back on after missing 10 miuntes I wondered if he had been sent off as I didn’t see him for 10 minutes.

Nakamachi – 7 Did well when he had the ball, but needs to work something out in the middle of the pitch to fill the giant holes just outside each penalty box.

Shimizu – 5 Really ineffective. Not an answer for anything really. Plays ok, but offers nothing special.

Hideya – 7 Got the goal, and nearly scored a second which would have changed things a bit. The most dangerous player in the final third at the moment, but does little to help when not in possession. Turning into a bit of a luxury player.

Matsuura – 4 Thought he was terrible. Gave the ball away nearly every time he got the ball. Couldn’t beat his man, and didn’t hold the ball up when the defence needed a break.

Jogo – 7 Did well today, although I think he took a bit of a liberty with his extra touch for the goal. Running much better, and deserves his place if he keeps running.

Yusuke – 6 Should have started. Would have been on the bench due to needing to work on helping midfield and defence, which I totally agree with.

Kim Min Je – 6 Brought energy into the team which is the only thing which might keep us up. The team must be picked on players willing to run their skin off now.

Shigematsu – 7 Another who brings energy into the team. I think he should have been playing all season as he makes the whole team start to harry and run a lot more.

Asano – 7 I think the team was set up well again, but he really needs to sort out the defence, and more importantly the big space in midfield.

Posted August 24, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Kashiwa Reysol (youtube)   Leave a comment

Nice long highlights from this week with all the chances I described and more.

Posted August 21, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Kashiwa Reysol (report)   Leave a comment

Kashiwa 3 – 2 Avispa
19′ Leandro Dominguez, 42′ Kudo, 67′ Hayashi – 6′ Hideya, 73′ Jogo

After the heroics against Kawasaki last weekend it looked like Avispa might be able to carry on the great escape with a goal within the first 7 minutes on their first attack of the game. At that point I thought that maybe we would be able to grind out a gritty 0-1 win and get another of the 8 wins I think we need to stay up.

Getting the ball in the middle of the pitch Sueyoshi put in a lofted diagonal ball towards Hideya who superbly struck it first time past a defender and goalkeeper both closing him down.
It needed Avispa to take 15 minutes of solid defending and keeping the ball to try and frustrate Kashiwa and the home fans, but instead the game remained open and chance after chance fell for Kashiwa.

The key to Kashiwa’s success is their great movement off the ball. The full-backs push up, the strikers run diagonals off the shoulders of defenders, and in Leandro Dominguez they have a playmaker who they know will find their runs.
The equalising goal came from a run by the right back Takai after Wada had been drawn into the centre. He muscled past Sueyoshi who needed to stop the run even if it meant he picked up a yellow card and could easily pick out Dominguez in the box. As teh stand-out player from J2 last season, and one of the best in J1 this, you can’t give him a chance like that and he calmly found a space in the goal and scored.

It didn’t seem like the scores would stay level as the defence was being pulled out of shape by the forwards movement and it took 2 really good saves from Rokutan to keep the scores level.

Avispa did have a really good chance to take the lead again after a handball on the edge of the box by Kondo from Kashiwa led to a terrible back-pass as he tried to get rid of the ball before the referee noticed. Hideya ran onto the pass, and should have scored but in going around the keeper allowed a defender to get back and clear his shot off the line.

Avispa were let off the hook at the other end after the referee called back a quick free-kick after Hayashi had been played clean through on goal, but in a nearly identical move later Dominguez lifted a ball perfectly onto a run by Kudo who shot into the left corned with Rokutan helpless. Kobara looked for an offside call, but he was easily onside, and was simply undone by the movement.

I missed the start of the second half as it started to pour down in Fukuoka and killed my satellite dish, but managed to get things sorted in time for Avispa to go further behind. With Dominguez again as the architect a clever first time ball caught out the whole defence as Hayashi ran off the shoulder and had the Avispa backline needing to turn and try to catch him. Kobara sort of did, but in a bundle with Hayashi, Kobara and Rokutan the Kashiwa striker managed to force the ball in for a third goal.

At that point it seemed the game was over. In face of a demonstration of attacking movement the Avispa players were playing with their backs to goal, trying to play 25 pass moves, and only ever having 1 man forward. Then out of nothing another straight direct ball found Shigematsu in space and able to slide a ball through to Jogo. He tried to do too much with the ball, but took advantage of some weak defending to score his 3rd in 2 games and get Avispa back in it.

The game was calling out for a desperate last 15 minutes where Avispa threw all their players forward, while risking that they might lost 4-2. Instead they continued in the same patient way which had got them only 5 shots in the whole game.
There was a time with 3 minutes left when Avispa had 6 players in their own half as they went on an attack. The ball was headed clear from the Kashiwa box to land just outside the D and there wasn’t an Avispa player in shot.

I’d said that Sueyoshi was the key player for Avispa in this game. He showed this in making the first goal with his pass, and then in missing his tackle for the Kashiwa equaliser. Leandro Dominguez scored one and made 2 goals and didn’t get a kick all game (apart from some pretty shameful simulation at the end when he pretended Kim Min Je had hit him in the face). When Avispa needed a goal with 5 minutes to play the central 2 were still in their own half.

Posted August 20, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports