Archive for May 2012
Toyama 0 – 1 Avispa
This will never be looked back upon as a great match, but in terms of this season it could be a very important one.
Facing the club 2nd from bottom in the league we would always hope to win, even away from home, but it took an 87th minute winner after going long periods of the game without looking like scoring to seal the points.
How we get the win isn’t all that important, and I hope that club can feel a little more relaxed to play a bit better in the coming games and give the fans something more to cheer.
The game was always looking like Avispa could win after Suzuki and Sueyoshi were managing to control midfield and get to the 2nd ball quite regularly; something they have failed to do in many games this season.
Unfortunately having got the ball we didn’t have quite enough quality to unlock a determined Toyama defence with only half chances being created for Jogo, who again was playing with great energy and trying to get beyond the last defender.
Alongside him Nishida Go really isn’t that good a player, but he tries hard and helps to make space with his running.
It was on the wings where I thought we should have a good chance to break the Toyama defence, but Naruoka was really quite poor on the left and Kihara seems to run down blind alleys quite often, perhaps trying a bit too hard.
At the back Tsutsumi had been brought in for new father Wada, and was solid defensively and seems very calm. He is very good at putting in long diagonal balls across the field, but isn’t as fast as I would normally expect from a full-back.
Toyama did have a couple of chances to score themselves. Most notably from a long bouncing ball similar to what Yamagata scored with last week, but this time the attacker managed to head over Kamiyama and just wide.
It looked like for all Avispa’s possession we would only get a draw, until late on when Sakata came on and we piled forward to have 6 players in the box. Omata came forward to fill the left wing spot which Naruoka had avoided all game and crossed for Koga to head across goal in his strikers role from midweek against Tochigi.
Repeating the finish against Yamagata, Jogo made a difficult volley look easy to take all three points.
Generally it wasn’t a great attacking performance, but we were much better in defence; almost entirely because we have finally dropped the hopeless zone defence at corners and despite facing a team with many tall defenders looked pretty good: especially kamiyama who came out for several crosses well.
Man of the Match
Close run thing with Koga at the back, but he has come in when we needed a striker and scored goals. A strikeforce of Jogo and Sakata? I’m not sure how it works.
This is the point at which Avispa have to do something with their season. Having played Shonan, Kyoto and Ventforet away, and JEF, Verdy and Yamagata at home you could say we have played some tough teams in our poor opening to the season.
Despite this we are still not a huge gap away from the play-off zone and have a sequence of games which are much easier (on paper).
The first of these games is Toyama away, and following this we have 7 games that I think the club should be disappointed to get anything except a win from (Fagiano, Thespa, Giravanz, Matsumoto, Gifu, Yokohama, Ehime). They are clubs our 2 man midfield should be able to play against and if we can put a great run together now we would be firmly in the play-offs by the summer.
I don’t know what will have happened with the travel this week. The club were up in Tochigi on Thursday night and it would seem easier to stay up there for the game 3 days later.
I think Sakata should be ready for a return to the starting squad this week after warming up against Tochigi, but that then asks who doesn’t play.
Nishida has worked very hard after being given his chance. Jogo was fantastic as striker against Yamagata. Kihara did well on the wing given a starting place. I suspect that Kihara might drop down to the bench.
Suzuki and Sueyoshi will play in the middle, Naruoka will float around after nominally being on the left wing.
Kim is definitely out, Omata plays. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tsutsumi come into the middle for Hatamoto. Hatamoto has been great, but he is 19 years old and shouldn’t be pushed too hard.
Quite good news for Avispa as experienced defender Yosuke Ikehata is out suspended. Being a fast played with a giant leap he would have been a big problem at our terrible corner defending.
Elsewhere Kihara might be able to help with information about Korean midfielder Seo Yong-Duk as a colleague from Omiya, who will play with fellow loan player Hiraide from FC Tokyo in a team otherwise made up of players I’d hope we ere able to beat.
Toyama 0 – 2 Avispa
The start of a winning run to give us confidence and save our awful season. Jogo to score again.
Tochigi 2 – 0 Avispa
I was drinking in a bar and left to watch the last 20 minutes of this game and was pissed off at the sorry performance from Avispa.
I can’t imagine how pissed off the 30-odd fans who had gone to watch the game had been.
Going from Fukuoka to Tochigi on a week-day to see us concede a second goal to the same old bull-shit of a corner being crossed into the 6-yard box and met unchallenged by our hopeless zone defence within 2 minutes.
We played 3 up front as Koga became an auxillary striker, but our strikers are not the problem. We have scored a lot of goals this season.
We have no midfield and even a 5 year old can see that. We should have been playing a 2-5-3 formation, and hoping for the best; but instead were still being beaten to the second ball every time in midfield.
It has reached the stage that Maeda is probably going to be looking for a new job.
We have an awesome squad, but his formation of the team and bizarre maintenance of zone defence at corners mean we would lose games to a well organised amateur team.
Avispa Fukuoka 1 : 1 Montedio Yamagata
18′ Akiba, 52′ Jogo
Things didn’t look to be getting any easier for Avispa after their terrible April as they played the league leaders Montedio Yamagata at Level-5 Stadium.
Worse than playing the form team of the moment was that half of all Yamagata’s goals this season have come from set-pieces; something which Avispa have shown they cannot defend with their ineffective zone defence.
Despite the hard task ahead of them Avispa started well with Jogo playing as striker alongside Nishida Go, which is a hard-working strike-force which helps our problem midfield. It also allowed Kihara to start who has been our best player in recent games, and full of energy.
With some crisp passing around midfield it looked like we were gaining some much needed confidence, but without ever really threatening the Yamagata penalty box. Times the ball were going into the box it was from head level crosses, which were never likely to trouble the very big Yamagata defence.
At the other end we weren’t really being troubled but then conceded a sloppy goal which characterizes our new defence and the lack of communication between them.
A long hopeful ball through the middle was allowed to bounce and then Hatamoto and Wada were both weak in the challenge and Yamagata’s striker Akiba must have thought himself very lucky to lift the ball over Kamiyama to score.
Avispa lost some confidence, but still tried to pass the ball when they could. Naruoka was again trying to be a little clever, but one of these moves did nearly come off as a dummy to Omata was crossed well low into the box where Naruoka came within centimetres of connecting to equalise.
In the second half Avispa kept pushing for an equaliser, but were always in danger of being caught on the counter, and from corners.
Bizarrely Avispa then did equalise through a set piece of their own. A throw from the left wing was headed backwards by Koga from the front of the box and bounced at the far post where Jogo managed to beat Tokio to the ball and finish with a high volley which he made to look easier than it was.
Jogo was playing really, really well. On his return to striker he could have gone missing, but after gaining some confidence on the wing he was incredible as striker. Hard-working, and dangerous. He went off with cramp late on, but if he can give 70 minutes like this and go off with cramp then that is better than 90 minutes at a slower pace.
Kihara flashed a shot across goal which the Yamagata keeper parried wide, while at the other end Yamagata should have scored from a free header at a set piece sent wide by #3 and then somehow managed to not score when it seemed impossible not to.
After an Avispa attack was countered quickly by Yamagata there were 4 attackers running down on Wada defending alone. He slowed the attack a little, but it was still crossed to #19 1m out of goal and faced with an open goal. That he didn’t score can probably be put down to him only having 1 foot, but it would have cost Avispa the game 99% of the time.
The game ended with Kim Min Je pulling a muscle on an Avispa attack and then refusing to go off after we used all our substitutes. It showed real heart, and I hope he didn’t make his injury worse by playing on, but despite leaving in tears his effort was appreciated by the fans.
A good result in the end, let’s confirm it by scoring 2 in 20 minutes against Tochigi tomorrow.
After a terrible 6 weeks of losses and draws, in which the only highlight was an away win against Tokushima (looking more and more like a freak result against a poor team), we now welcome the league leaders Montedio Yamagata to Level-5 stadium.
At a time when our top-scorer may still be injured, and we are unable to defend a corner without conceding a goal it could be seen as the worst possible time to be facing a team who have historicaly looked something a little bit like J-League’s answer to Stoke City.
Added to this a possible feeling of revenge after we beat them 6-1 away at the end of last season and things could get a little uncomfortable.
That 6-1 win last season had Ushinohama scoring 2 goals, a player who hasn’t got near the squad this year, but sums up that young players should at least be given a chance. I wonder how Yoshihara, Son, Ishizu feel as they watch the team lose or draw every week and not even be considered for the bench.
The biggest question for Avispa will be whether Sakata has shaken off his ankle injury and can return. He played on it for 25 minutes against Oita, and even set up the goal, so I’m hoping it’s not too bad. If he can’t make it i would play Samir and Nishida, but expect Maeda to go with Yutaka and Nishida if we stick with 442.
The second question is whether against one of the division’s best teams we address our midfield problem. We are at a big risk of totally losing midfield, even at home. For this reason I would go with a change in formation to 451/433, 4231 or 4411 with Naruoka playing through the middle (as he seems to want to) and Kihara and Kim having their very effective left wing combination.
Defence should stay unchanged.
Kamiyama to stay in goal, but has to start coming for crosses.
Montedio have traditionally played with some strong defenders and a couple of big target men to cause problems at set pieces and with a quite direct game. They seem to be trying to move away from this a bit this season, but probably still have enough knowledge around our Achille’s heel of corners to cause real problems.
They are made up of a bunch of experienced journey-men type players rather than any new wonderkids and Brazilian imports, but this gives them advantages in playing as a unit, and not over-complicating things.
I expect a hard game against a team who will be able to identify our serious weaknesses in midfield and set-pieces very quickly, and have the knowledge to be able to exploit these unless something is done about it.
Avispa 1 – 3 Montedio
If Maeda doesn’t change the formation we could be in for a hard afternoon. If he hasn’t dropped the terrible zone defence it could be even worse.
We have a whole lot of easier games after this one, but if we lose today we could be called a club in a bit of a crisis.
After our game was abandoned on Sunday there were three possible options about what could happen next.
i) Let the result stand and Tochigi win 1-0.
ii) Play the last 21 minutes at a later date with Tochigi leading 1-0.
iii) Replay the whole game from 0-0, 90 minutes.
Option i) is probably what Tochigi would like, option iii) is almost certainly best for Avispa, and option ii) is fairest but has loads of problems associated with it.
To complicate matters there are instances in history of all three having happened around the world, with the FIFA guidelines seeming to sit on the fence by saying standard rules of the competition will be followed.
The J-League have made their decision and it is that the final 21 minutes will be played with Tochigi leading 1-0.
There are lots more questions which come up from this:
1) When is it going to be played? I guess it will be mid-week which means it is even more difficult for fans to see the end of the match and Tochigi have to arrange and pay for their stadium for 231 minutes.
2) Does the team have to be the same? If Sakata is fit can he play? If the team has to stay the same what happens if one of the players who is supposed to play is injured?
3) Can a player who had previously been substituted off come back on?
4) If one of the players who is on a yellow card gets another then will he be sent off?
Personally I think the nicest solution would have been to replay the game from the start, but for Avispa to deliberately score an own goal at the start to be fairer for Tochigi.
As with all the other scenarios there is a precedent for this!
I think FIFA should probably make one confirmed rule to avoid future confusion.