A second home game in a row and we welcome Tokushima to level-5 stadium having beaten them 4-0 away from home with our 1 stand-out performance of the season.
Since that away game we have played 14 games, and only lost 3 of them (including only once in the last 8) but have drawn far too many games to be where we should be in the table.
The team will be pushing for a win in this game as any more draws are going to cost us this season. Winning 2 and losing the next 4 is as good as drawing 6, which means we have clubs like Mito, Ehime and Okayama ahead of us in the table despite losing fewer games than Tokyo Verdy in 1st place.
Recently it has been our lack of goals which has been the problem, this week we may have problems in defence.
The defence has been considerably strengthened and better organised since the abandonmentment of zone defence at corners, and introduction of Koga back from injury. Unfortunately he is suspended for this game and will be a huge loss. I would expect Hatamoto to come back in, especially as he did really well in the away game. If Miyaji plays then we lose.
The biggest issue will be the pressure on Kobara to organise the defence which causes his game to suffer. He needs to be told to play the ball forward quickly rather than put more pressure on himself.
Minje should stay at left back, and Suzuki will stay in midfield and be hoping for a better game than against Ehime.
Yutaka and Sakata to stay up front after Yutaka’s best game of the season.
Tokushima will come to the game with a 442 formation matching ours, which is good for us as it doesn’t swamp our midfield and we have better quality elsewhere on the pitch.
They will play with young Brazilian Douglas up front, who is better than compatriot Diogo, but not someone to be unduly worried about.
Elsewhere the team has no real quality in any area, and seems to be a team in decline after a couple of seasons where they would have been pushing for a playoff spot had it existed, and are now destined to finish the season bottom half.
Avispa 2 – 1 Tokushima
I think we’ll have 1 good half and 1 bad. A nervy 2nd half with Ishizu to come on and stretch them late to seal the game.