Avispa face what on paper looks like their toughest game of the season on Sunday as they face almost all pundit’s pre-season favorites Kyoto Sanga away.
Fortunately there are a couple of factors which may mean that Avispa end the weekend as the happier team.
Firstly, Kyoto have not been in sparkling form so far with a couple of defeats, including to Gainare Tottori who we then beat 4-0 the following weekend.
Secondly, although the game is a home game for Kyoto they are playing it in Kagoshima so it will end up being closer to Fukuoka than Kyoto and may well have more Avispa fans than Sanga fans at the stadium. Neutral fans will probably out-number both. The reason for this strange choice of ground being that the founder of their sponsor (Kyocera, Kazuo Inamori) is from Kagoshima so wants the team to play a game there. If I was a season-ticket holding Kyoto fan I’d be pissed off.
The team should stay exactly the same as the last couple of weeks, with Hatamoto in central defence being the only possible change.
Tsutsumi is back from suspension and could come back in, but Hatamoto has played so well in his two games he deserves to maintain his place. I also think he is a better match to Kyoto’s wonderkid striker Yuya Kubo as Tsutsumi isn’t the most mobile and would only really work if they wanted to bully Kubo out of the game.
Okada and Sueyoshi to keep their fruitful midfield partnership, but if things are looking difficult I would like to see Maeda be brave enough to change things to a 451 by bringing a 3rd midfielder to control the centre.
Would be nice to see Oh get another sub appearance. Kim should stay after last week, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Omata play in a percieved defensive move.
Kyoto have played well in patches this season, and had a lot of shots, but have seemed to hit the bar as much as they have scored.
Hopefully it won’t be the game against Avispa where things click, especially for their highly rated young striker Kubo who at 18 is already being touted as someone who is headed to Europe.
The game will be decided by Avispa’s defence being able to cope with his movement, and the midfield being able to hold possession.
Nakayama and Jung may be back from suspension.
Kyoto 0 – 1 Avispa
I don’t think Kyoto players are going to be happy about having to travel all the way to Kagoshima for their home game, and then not getting a huge reception when they get there. More likely to be a home atmosphere for Avispa hopefully, with a long range shot deciding it in a scrappy game for both teams in unfamiliar surroundings.
More importantly you’d get good odds on an Avispa win by bookies who are looking at the teams and not knowing the circumstances.