Archive for September 2011

vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima (ratings)   Leave a comment

Kamiyama – 7 Made 2 good saves, the one from Mikic late on might put him back as regular first choice.

Wada – 7 I still want Kim to play, but Wada does well and is regularly the furthest forward on the left wing. Tucks in pretty narrow when defending.

Tatsunori – 6 Had an easier game than Wada with the left winger, but was quieter in attack.

Daiki – 8 My Man of the Match. A return to form he was getting in the way of everything. Avispa conceded when he was face down on the pitch having gone down a little easily. By strict implementation of the rules the game could have been stopped for a head injury.

Kobara – 7 There was a National Team striker on the pitch and together with Daiki he kept him very quiet.

Suzuki Jun – 7 Terrible new hair-cut, OK performance. Needs to re-invent himself as a more defensive player and add harder tackling to his game.

Sueyoshi – 7 Scored a good goal, and got around the pitch well. promoising middle two for J2 if Nakamachi doesn’t commit to Avispa.

Matsuura – 7 Really helped in defence today, but still almost refuses to go past his full-back. Not sure if he has been told not to as he did it in the first game of the season but not since.

Jogo – 7 Always looks much better with a real striker in the team. Had a couple of chances but took too long on the 1-on-1 and did very well with his lob. Assist for the first goal, ran well.

Naruoka – 6 Scored quite fortuitously when he was about to be taken off. Definite class, but shouldn’t be asked to play on the wing. If he could play with 10% more energy he’d be a top player.

Shigematsu – 6 Strangely didn’t seem to have the legs he had at the start of the season. Probably should have made more of his chance at starting but was generally good.

Nakamachi – 6 On for Shigematsu. Brave but correct decision to put him on the bench. Hasn’t looked in form recently, and didn’t change much when he came on.

Yusuke – 6 On for Matsuura. Could have helped at the end by trying to break into the corners when Hiroshima had pushed up.

Hideya – 6 Held the ball up pretty well, nothing special.

Asano – 6 Should be congratulated for the win, and for the brave decisions he made with the starting line-up, but it is too late. We are already relegated. With that in mind he shouldn’t be playing loan players and guys who won’t be with us next season.

Posted September 30, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Sanfrecce (youtube)   Leave a comment

Another chance to see one of our wins.

Coming from a Sanfrecce program, but does show both the goals and one of the terrible misses by Sanfrecce #11.

Posted September 27, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match highlights

vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima (report)   5 comments

Avispa 2 : 1 Sanfrecce
40′ Sueyoshi, 75′ Naruoka – 90′ Mizumoto

With the spectre of mathematical relegation hanging over them the Avispa team pulled out their best performance of the season and get all 3 points from 7th placed Sanfrecce.

There were some surprises before the game as Nakamachi was dropped to the bench with the 2 younger players Jun and Sueyoshi coming into the middle of the pitch where they probably add a little more bite, and the very welcome addition of Shigematsu as striker. I found this a little harder to understand, not because he shouldn’t be in the team but because he should have been 5 months ago and won’t be around when we are in J2 so isn’t the best person to get experience now.

From the outset it was clear that the team had been told to play at a higher pace with a bit more bite and were sending more direct balls forward rather than playing around defence. These balls were being dealt with quite easily by the Hiroshima defence as Jogo tried to run onto balls rather than attacking the ball but Avispa were generally looking the more threatening with Daiki playing well and Sanfrecce mainly looking towards Mikic as their outlet who was getting frustrated by the tenacity of Matsuura.

Jogo started dropping a little deeper looking for the ball which didn’t look to be helping but then led directly to a goal as he allowed Sueyoshi to break past him into the box where he hit a shot on the turn which crept past the keeper sending the stadium into raptures. It also led to a bizarre goal celebration as Jogo tripped and threw Sue to the floor having possibly watched too much DREAM last night.

Avispa really needed to hold on until half time and did so well and desrved their lead. Sanfrecce came out early for the second half but carried on in a similar vein with balls headed out to Mikic while Avispa tried to set Jogo free with balls over the top.
Tadanari Lee was being kept quiet and Avispa nearly doubled their lead with Jogo doing a characteristic clever lob over the keeper from about 3m out which hit the bar, then hit the keeper and appeared to bounce over the line although when I watched it back on TV it was the correct decision to not give the goal as it bounced right on the line.

Avispa started to look abit desperate with Sue being drafted in as a makeshift centre-back to make a back 5 inviting Sanfrecce to attack. The Sanfrecce number 11 had a crazy chance to equalise from about a metre out but couldnt make contact with his head and the Avispa scored again out of almost nothing.
As Asano looked to substitute him Naruoka started to chase down the Sanfrecce defence who had inexplicably decided to pass around their penalty area. Assisted by Jogo they got the ball back and rather than take 4 touches he hit it first time to make it 2-0.

Avispa still looked very nervous and kept the 5 man defence with Kamiyama having to make a couple of great stops from Mujiri and Mikic. The save from Mikic being particularly good as he palmed a fierce shot onto the post with 5 minutes remaining.

Avispa were clearing the ball wildly, but seemed to have done enough before conceding in the last minute quite unfortunately. A corner was crossed in where it got glanced onto Daiki’s face sending him down in a heap. The ball bounced around a bit exactly where Daiki would have been standing before being forced home.
It led to 3 very nervous minutes of injury time, but Avispa did enough andpicked up another win

Posted September 25, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Sanfrecce Hiroshima (preview)   Leave a comment

It may have been blind optimism up to now but this is the first week I’m willing to say for sure ‘We are relegated’.
It still is mathematically possible to avoid relegation but it requires us to get 6 wins while 1 of Omiya, Urawa and Niigata fail to pick up a single point. After watching us against Kofu last weekend, neither of these things is going to happen.

Having accepted relegation I think the best thing the team can do is try and get the squad ready for next year.
Which players don’t want to play in J2 and will leave in December?
Which players are going to retire?
Who has wages which can’t be justified by their performances?
Which young players can prove worthy of an extra year on their contract?
If these questions can be answered and the players left grouped together now they can get some invaluable experience of J1 football in preparation for the season after next, and seeing what it will take to be a professional footballer.

It might seem like giving up, and potentially we would finish the season with no Nakamachi, Nauoka, Matsuura, Shigematsu, but in reality it is a forward thinking idea which could have huge benefits in the future.

As for the game this weekend, we’ll probably win having now been relegated, but it will mean nothing in the long run.

My Prediction

Avispa 2 – 0 Sanfrecce

I expect us to win now that it means nothing. Asano won’t give experience to the kids, rather keep playing Matsuura to get more games before he goes back to Jubilo and let Hideya get a couple of goals before he signs for one of the clubs getting promotion.

Posted September 25, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Ventforet Kofu (ratings)   Leave a comment

Kamiyama – 5 Actually pulled off some really good blocks in the game, but you can’t really look beyond the terrible mistake within the first 3 minutes which immediately changed anything Avispa may have been working towards.

Kim Min Je – 7 Still the greatest source of balls into the box. I really hope we can keep him next year, the best player at the club at the moment.

Tatsunori – 6 Not showing the energy he has done at times this season, but must be hard at times to keep that pace. Hasn’t let anyone down this season.

Daiki – 5 Level has dropped just when the team needed him most. Gone from being one of the 2 most important players at the club to someone I wouldn’t mind not being around next year.

Yamaguchi – 5 Central defence is the biggest problem to be addressed at the moment. No young players to bring in, older players likely to leave. Yamaguchi is OK for J2 level.

Suzuki – 5 Totally anonymous. Playing against the team 1 place above who were also in J2 last season he did nothing outside of set-pieces. May have lost his spot to Sueyoshi.

Nakamachi – 6 Scored 1 goal which should have stood, but generally disappointing. Whatever happened to him under the pressure at Shonan may be happening again now. When the going is tough he needs to step up, not go into hiding.

Yusuke – 5 Same comment every week. His skill is his pace, turn the defence and use balls into the corner to make space in the middle as defenders cover him.

Naruoka – 5 Not sure of I want him to stay next year. part of me thinks that he may be able to show his class against lower opposition, part of me thinks he’ll never be anything beyond a luxury.

Matsuura – 6 One of the better players, and shows some heart, but doesn’t really ever achieve anything. Has won fouls holding the ball up, and scored 1 goal, but does he have any other assists this season?

Hideya – 6 Put the ball at his feet in or around the box and he can score. That happened once in this game, did almost nothing else.

Jogo – 6 correctly dropped, but dropped for the wrong player. Did OK when he came on making a goal immediately, but had other chances where he thought too much.

Sueyoshi – 6 An improvement on Suzuki Jun, and probably did enough to get a start against Sanfrecce.

Miyaji – 6 Did nothing good or bad, may be at the club next season due to our problems in defence and his versatility.

Asano – 5 Any plan he may have had went out of the window after 3 minutes due to Kamiyama. That said, his plan was wrong in the first place. Playing in the pouring rain he kept short game players like Naruoka and Hideya in the team, while having access to the more direct Ramazotti/Shigematsu combination.

Posted September 21, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Opinion

vs. Ventforet Kofu (report)   1 comment

Ventforet Kofu 2 – 1 Avispa Fukuoka
3′ Havenaar, 28′ Paulinho, 47′ Hideya

It may have been blind optimism but I had geniunely believed that there was a way out of relegation for Avispa, and at each home game there is a big banner saying much the same. That belief for me evaporated today.
We’ll be playing in J2 next season having finished our season back in the top flight in last place.

The writing was on the wall as soon as I saw the team-sheet. Returning to the team was Kamiyama in goal who has been a total wreck this season, and true to form let in another howler to put in a youtube compilation video somewhere as he tried to run out as sweeper and reach a ball on the right before Mike Havenaar. Failing miserably to do so Mike tipped the ball past him to roll into the net agonisingly slowly.

At the other end Asano had dropped Jogo but retained Naruoka and Hideya when the rainy conditions would seem to be ideal for Ramazotti and Shigematsu. Between them they managed the total of zero shots on target in the first half, although there was what looked like a perfectly good goal by Nakamachi ruled out for offside from a suzuki setpiece just before half time.

By that time Avispa were already 2 down after a neat turn in the box by Mike had drawn a foul from Daikifor a penalty which Paulinho calmly converted.

Asano changed things for the 2nd half with like for like substitutions as Jogo and Sueyoshi came on. It seemed like a total waste of time but those two players combined to lay a chance on a plate for Hideya.
They seemed to then spend the rest of the half trying to do the same with short passes and knockdowns in the box when it really needed a selfish striker to show a bit of confidence and test the keeper.

At times it may have looked like there was a way back into the match for Avispa, but the reality is that against the team in 17th position they werent ever really in any danger of getting any points.

Posted September 17, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Ventforet Kofu (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa’s incredible run of victories needs to start today if they are to complete one of the most remarkable escapes from relegation anywhere in history.
They probably couldn’t have picked a better set of teams for their run-in, but anything less than a victory today will see them relegated in every way except mathematically.

In an archetypal 6-pointer they travel to fellow promotees and relegation strugglers Ventforet hoping to turn last week’s decent performance against Yokohama into 3 points.

I expect the team to be unchanged from last week, which I think is a huge mistake with Jogo and Naruoka trying to over-complicate things in attack, but Jogo did score 2 goals away to Ventforet last season so maybe he will be in good spirits.
I’d prefer to see a classic big man-little man combination brought in with Ramazotti and Shigematsu as the team needs some sort of tide change if they are to pull off a sudden miracle.

Yamaguchi may well hold his spot in the team even if Kobara is available again after performing well against Yokohama and being matched better physically with Mike.

Ventforet have also had their problems this season and have a new manager from the summer. The new manager has seen them adopt a slightly more offensive approach with Paulinho getting more time on the pitch, which is a worry for Avispa as we have struggled with his movement more than Havenaar.
The sub-text to the match will be Avispa’s abuse towards Genki, but this may have to wait as I think there is a good chance he won’t play.

My Prediction

Ventforet 3 – 2 Avispa
Both teams should be playing as it their lives depend on it, and I am particularly looking towards Nakamachi and Daiki to step up. unfortunately I think Jogo and Naruoka will start and we might go down a couple of goals before leaving it too late for a big come-back.
A draw isn’t good enough for either team.

Posted September 16, 2011 by avispafukuoka in Preview