The international break came at a good time for Avispa as they needed some serious organisation after the 6-0 humiliation against Kashima Antlers and can hopefully come back full of energy and looking to get the 8 wins I think they need.
Having said that playing against J-League heavyweights Yokohama Marinos isn’t the easiest game they could have had to kickstart the final spurt towards the end of the season and will have a tough challenge to get any points.
In the away leg earlier this season they gave Yokohama a real scare by opening up a 2-0 lead in the first half, only to end up losing the match after a late Yuji Ono inspired comeback. They lost the game but I hope they have the confidence to know they can score against Yokohama, and Jogo in particular who got both goals that day.
Yokohama won’t have their star player Shunsuke Nakamura playing after he injured himself against Cerezo before the break, but this might just mean that Ono starts and he took us apart in the earlier match. They also have Oguro who isn’t having a good season, but seems to enjoy playing against us and is a good bet to get a goal at some point.
The Avispa team which plays is a bit of a mystery. I think Asano has to make wholescale changes to the one which started against Kobe and Kashima, but a big part of me thinks he will keep it the same and give them another chance to get the result. I hope he at least brings Kim Min Je in at left-back and Shigematsu for more than the last 15 minutes.
There is a chance that Ramazotti will get his home debut, but I can’t see it as a starting member, more likely as a late substitute if we need a desperation tactic.
Avispa 1 – 2 Yokohama F Marinos
A better performance than in recent games, but Yokohama have too much strength for us at the moment and should get the win to keep their place near the top of the table.
A defeat isn’t a total disaster, it is the games after this one where we need to try to get wins.