Tokyo Verdy 1 : 1 Avispa Fukuoka
An away win against Tokyo verdy, that’s a pretty good result right?
I’m not so sure. While it would be a fantastic result if we were in 6th place and trying to hang onto a playoff place, and even down at the bottom it is better than results we have had for a long time, but it didn’t feel like a very good result.
Maybe that was because we were 10 minutes away from getting a win. Maybe because Tokyo didn’t look all that good, and had still managed to hit the bar twice before scoring.
Mainly just because it offered no real hope that things are going to be a lot different next season.
The starting line-up did at least have something of a change, with Sakata being asked to play on the left wing to accomodate Yutaka up front, and Tsutsumi having his 3rd position of the season making his first attempt at playing as a central midfielder.
I like the fact that Maeda was trying to change things, but so what if Tsutsumi turned out to be amazing as a volante, he isn’t going to be here next season (probably).
I thought I would try to collect some stats on the game in an OPTA style way, and while these are definitely not 100% accurate due to camera angles, drinking 3 cans of super strength Chu-hi and an interuption from the postman they should show roughly what happened.
Now make what you will of my Friday night where I thought it would be fun to collect all that data, but it does actually tell the story of the game quite well.
We started the game quite well with Tsutsumi in midfield certainly adding some defensive muscle and height, and with Sakata on the left wing it added more attacking threat down that side.
High balls were being aimed up towards Yutaka returning to the team, and despite being quite small he does fairly well at getting his head to the ball.
Tsutsumis had been put onto set piece duty in the absence of Sueyoshi and Suzuki, and it paid dividends as a corner was taken towards the penalty spot (rather than hard at the back post) where Koga finally managed to get a header on target, with a classy flick into the far corner.
Avispa were looking quite comfortable, and Verdy found that Koga and Kazuki on the edge of the box were doing quite well at tackling and heading anything which came there way.
Kazuki is so funny to watch, he has no obvious skill, but does have an ability to get in the way.
Unfortunately being good at getting in the way doesn’t help too much at free-kicks and Avispa were lucky to see a well curled free-kick hit the bar, with Kawata doing very well to block the rebound from that guy who head-butted Kihara.
Osmar was looking lively up front again. He isn’t the fastest player in the world, but seems to be able to beat defenders with a very direct running style which was providing a good outlet for Avispa.
Going into the second half things stayed much the same. Even in as much as repeating the free-kick against the bar after a foul from some desperate defending on the edge of the box.
having stumbled upon a quite good makeshift defensive midfielder in Tsutsumi, he was then substituted for Sueyoshi (maybe he was tired) and we effectively started playing with 10 men.
For about the first 10 minutes he was on the pitch Sueyoshi got nowhere near the ball, and by the end has still done less of note than Ishizu and Kihara who were on the pitch for 20 minutes less than him.
Another player who didn’t get high stats is Jogo, who did everything he tried very well (as always) but drifted out of the game at times so has half the number of passes and tackles of Sakata on the opposite wing.
This was combined with Wada behind him who also didn’t do much, but when he did have a meaningful impact on the game it was to slip when a deep ball was played across the penalty area allowing some 18 year old to control the ball and place it for Tokyo’s equaliser with 10 minutes to play.
Neither team looked like scoring a winner, and while neither will have been happy to draw, they won’t have minded too much either.