After consecutive away defeats to Kyoto and Ehime Avispa return to Level-5 Stadium where they are undefeated this season having got 2 wins and a draw.
The team really need to kick-start their season which started pretty well, but after 2 poor performances is in danger of coming off the rails.
I don’t know what it is about Avispa, maybe the team being rebuilt each season, but they always seem to have problems in the second month of the season. After the initial buzz of playing together perhaps they struggle with unfamiliar team-mates at the start of seasons.
Mito are one of the smaller teams in the division, but are something of a conundrum. Each season they seem to start amazingly, but then tail off to such an extent they finish closer to the bottom than the top.
I’ve seen them dominate Kyoto, and then lose to Kitakyushu. Last time they came to Fukuoka they lost 5-0 without really registering a challenge and I hope it is that team which turns up tomorrow, not the one which is capable of beating anyone in the division.
Maeda needs to sort the team out. By dropping and substituting players like Yutaka and Sakata he is in danger of losing parts of the squad when we really need them together and working out a plan.
At the moment we look like we don’t know how we are playing. The ball gets passed around defence and then punted forward or given away.
Midfield is the weakest area where our central 2 (from Sueyoshi/Okada/Suzuki) are not dynamic enough to control the middle, especially when facing teams playing 3 in the middle.
I want Maeda to come up with his strategy, and not just try changing things and hoping that one of them will come good. Define how the team plays and make it work rather than panicking and changing for the sake of change.
Personally I would now change to a 451/433 formation and stick with it until the players know the formation well.
It gives us more men in midfield where we are getting dominated. Our wingers are both comfortable in the middle so can both attack at the back post. Sakata holds the ball up well. We have fullbacks who are very good on the overlap. Few other teams in the division play this formation so has an element of surprise.
After 3 wins in their first 4 games Mito have dropped off the pace a bit being beaten twice and drawing recently.
Their coach was sent off last week against Chiba, and I don’t know the repercussions for that in this game.
Avispa 3 – 0 Mito
I’ve predicted Avispa wins for the last 2 weeks and been wrong, but will keep the faith for this game. We have been strong at home and the squad know that they need to perform so won’t be taking anything for granted.