The halfway point of the season has been quite eventful for Avispa as the promotion winning manager Shinoda has departed, with the possibility of a change in tactics and favoured players as Head Coach Asano is promoted.
There is also the chance for new boy Ramazzotti to get a game as I believe this is now after the transfer window has opened.
The 2 big questions for me will be 1) Does the team change from 4231? and 2) Does Jogo start as striker?
I suspect that the team will remain playing 4231. I don’t think the formation is the problem, and think that is is something which Nakamachi plays well in and his influence is only going to grow from here.
I am not so sure if Jogo (or Naruoka) is going to play. The big problem for me this season has been that we are trying to do the very difficult thing of playing with no striker. Jogo and Naruoka are both good players, but more of a Trequartista than a penalty box presence. I’d be surprised if Ramazotti is thrown straight into action so suspect Shigematsu will play with Ramazzotti given time as a substitute.
They are playing up against a Gamba Osaka team who we gave a real scare when they came to Level-5 Stadium, and that was a Gamba side playing at full strength. Since then they have lost Adriano to Qatar and Usami to Bayern Munich, but have been playing much better as a team.
Avispa have to press them hard in midfield and go on the offensive, using Shigematsu or Ramazzotti to hassle their sometimes suspect defence.
If we sit back and try to play on the counter they have enough good players to break down our defence, or smash a couple of long shots past Rokutan.
Gamba 1 – 0 Avispa
I think we’ll play well again, but can’t see us getting a result against a buoyant Gamba team.
Having said that I expect the bookmakers will be giving Vegas-odds on a Gamba win and wouldn’t be at all surprised if we got a couple of goals and then anything could happen.