An away draw against Yokohama would not be seen as a bad result under normal circumstances, but we need to start winning games instead of drawing them if we are in with a chance of getting into the play-offs.
The play-off places are now looking quite solid, with only Oita the semi-surprise team in the top 6 with Kyoto poised to replace them after any slip-ups. It will take a very good second half of the season to overcome the 10 point deficit to 6th, with our many draws turned into wins.
We start the 2nd half of the season with 2 home games in a row, a good way to try and build momentum. the first of these is against Ehime.
Traditionally a mid-table J2 side they beat us at home in a very open game which ended up finishing 4-2. It was Naruoka’s best game of the season, scoring both our goals, and hopefully their quite deep defence will again allow Naruoka and Jogo to find space to play.
The biggest worry for me is that I expect Ehime to come with a 5 man midfield, which will totally flood our problem area of only having a central 2.
If we allow the midfield to be dominated then Koki Arita is a good enough young striker to take the chances falling his way.
Will Maeda be brave enough to find a way to play Ishizu from the start?
he came on against Yokohama and looked a level higher than everyone else in energy and intent, but to play him it would mean dropping Naruoka or Yutaka. More than likely he will be on the bench.
Kobara should stay in defence despite giving away 2 penalties which have cost us 4 points in 2 weeks. Both penalties were very harsh, and against his old club he will hopefully be up for the game. But plaese, pass the ball forward early; let Jogo and Naruoka try to dictate the play.
Really want Kim back, but Omata has done nothing wrong at left back.
Ehime FC news
Ehime don’t seem to have any suspension or injury problems and are coming off the back of a big win against league leaders Tokyo Verdy.
They are still using their 5 man midfield, and after beating Tokyo will remain an unchanged team.
Their big Brazilian defender is good in the air, but not very quick so I’d be hoping for Sakata to play on his shoulder, and the winegrs to be trying to hit the byline and pull balls back rather than cross to the back post.
Koki Arita is the main threat up front, playing as a lone striker and using good movement to break the offside trap.
Avispa 2 – 0 Ehime FC
May as well give up on predictions this season as I have been wrong so often, but an Avispa win offers the best money as we are lower in the table, but on paper should be beating teams like Ehime.