Archive for October 2012

Maeda gone   Leave a comment

Just as there were some worrying rumours that he would be staying for another season the board finally dropped the axe onto Maeda, and he has now left the club.

After doing so poorly this season, especially at the end of the season it was no surprise; this has been the worst season in Avispa’s history, with the best position we can probably hope for being 17th.

From the disaster which was zonal defence, to a total inability to sort out midfield or defence, and finally seemingly losing the support of the players this has been a horrible time for Maeda.

I wish he had thrown in the towel mid-season when it was obvious things weren’t working and he could have kept his reputation as ‘The Man’ and a hero for Avispa fans, but his pride meant he stayed to try (and fail) to turn things around.

I fully expect the team to have a much better performance against Kyoto, and they have to take some of the responsibility for this. While they may have grown disillusioned with Maeda they are still having their salaries paid by the fans, and can’t justify getting 5 points from the last 10 games however much they disagreed with formations and tactics.

The new manager has a lot of work to do in the off season, I’ll be posting the things he needs to sort out at the end of the season.

Until then, here is a rough translation of Maeda’s parting comments… “To all the fans, sponsors and supporters of Avispa Fukuoka, thank-you for your support for this short time. I am grateful, and apologise for this situation. I look forward to the future growth and development of Avispa Fukuoka”.

Posted October 29, 2012 by avispafukuoka in News

vs. Oita Trinita (report)   Leave a comment

Oita Trinita 1 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka

I’m a little bit annoyed that I spent my Sunday watching this terrible, boring game on the TV, I can’t imagnie how the couple of hundred fans who spent their time and money travelling across to Oita are feeling.

In 90 minutes of football we managed 3 shots, none of which were on target. This includes Suzuki Jun lobbing a shot from 45 metres away, and 15 minutes at the end playing with 3 strikers and both central defenders trying to play as striker.

The team has no ideas in attack. They can’t hold a formation which might make a passing game be effective in any way, and have close to zero movement whether they have the ball or don’t have the ball.
Only Ishizu seems to move with the ball, and he was trying to do way too much when he did have the ball, mostly because I guess he know that if he tries to pass it then whoever he passes it to will give it away anyway.

The score ended up 1-0, but realistically should have been 3 or 4-0. Oita had numerous chances to score from crosses into the box where our central defenders were having some trouble getting off the ground, hit the bar with a free kick, and had an attacker ruled off-side incorrectly when running through on goal.

The goal they did score came directly from the free-kick against the bar. With the whole Avispa team in the box they managed to allow Oita top scorer Morishima to be totally unmarked for a cross into the box for him to hit first time into the corner of the net.
The defending at Avispa really is Elementary School standard, and so is the theatrics from players like Suzuki Jun and Naruoka Sho when they get tackled after spending too long on the ball and fall to the floor squealing thing they should have a free-kick because someone took the ball off them.

I hope this season has been a wake up call for some of these players, and they don’t feel entitled to have time to pass and not work as they probably have through being told how great they are coming up through various University and High School teams.
I don’t think they will. I think that in Maeda they have an easy target to blame and in many cases will move onto a new club thinking they did no wrong this season.

Not that Maeda doesn’t deserve a lot of blame for the poorly organised, ridiculous inept tactics on show from Avispa this season.
The only positive I’ve taken from the last 3 months is that it has been so bad that there is no way Maeda can stay. Unfortunately rumours are now floating around saying he has a 2 year contract and will be here next year too.

If him or the board need any extra help in deciding whether another season like this is a good idea, here is a league table for the last 10 games:

Ventforet Kofu ………24 points
Matsumoto Yamaga……..21 points
Roasso Kumamoto………19 points
Yokohama FC …………17 points
Giravanz Kitakyushu…..16 points
Kateller Toyama………16 points
Kyoto Sanga………….15 points
JEF United…………..15 points
Mito Hollyhock……….14 points
Thespa Kusatsu……….14 points
Shonan Bellmare………13 points
Oita Trinita…………13 points
Fagiano Okayama………13 points
Gainare Tottori………12 points
FC Gifu……………..12 points
Tochigi SC…………..11 points
Tokyo Verdy………….10 points
Tokushima Vortis……..10 points
Ehime FC…………….10 points
Montedio Yamagata…….9 points
Machida Zelzia……….9 points
Avispa Fukuoka……….5 points

We are the worst club in the division. Not by a little bit, there are 4 points between us and the next worst.

If we had been playing as we are all season (which is still our senior players remember, no younger players have been given a chance) we would have 20 points, and already be relegated to the JFL.

The club needs a total renewal. Maeda out. Quit if they don’t sack you.

Posted October 28, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Oita Trinita (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa face the 2nd of 3 promotion chasing teams in a row (Ventforet-Oita-Kyoto) by making the short trip across Kyushu to Oita.
It is a game which the Oita players are going to care a lot more than the Avispa players as they try to hold onto the play-off place they have held for most of the season.

Avispa need to be content with their battle with Ehime to see who can secure 17th place.

These games have been quite close in recent years, with few goals and several draws, but I expect to see Oita testing the troubled Avispa defence cheered on by a crowd wanting their return to J1.

Oita should provide something of a role-model to Avispa, with their own relegation from J1 being followed by a couple of poor years before this season’s return to some form.
I hope the Avispa management see it was faith shown in young hungry players, being able to build a team together which seems to have helped them rather than 34 year old J1 imports.

Avispa News
Maeda has shown that he wants to just keep on turning out his senior players in spite of them being on loan and about to return to their parent club. Expect to see on loan Okada come in for suspended Sueyoshi in central midfield, on loan Tsutsumi walking around in an area roughly where a right-back would usually play, and possibly on loan Omata coming back into the side for a scape-goated Kim Minje.

Osmar and Sakata to start up front, and Ishizu to stay as a starting member.

Oita News
No suspensions for Oita as they chase a win which would put one foot into a guaranteed play-off spot.

I’ve been impressed with their big striker #20 (Morishima?) for several years, and expect him to dominate the battle-scarred Avispa central 2.

My Prediction
Oita 1 – 0 Avispa
The game means just too much for the Oita players, and while Avispa may have a better game than for most of this season, they won’t be able to match the intensity.

Posted October 27, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Ventforet Kofu (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa Fukuoka 2 – 3 Ventforet Kofu

So Ventforet turned up and got the win they needed to be crowned Champions. It may not have been as easy as they, and many others, may have expected, but they got the win.
There were many positives about the Avispa team today, and lots of the same old negatives, but I hope the team looked at the fans and opposition celebrating at the end of the game and realise that it should be what they are doing, and to correct the mistakes from this season so they can be there in 2013.

The biggest positive was the inclusion of Ishizu. He was our best player again, and it is crazy he has only had 2-3 starts this season. As someone who is willing to run with the ball, and shoot without concern he makes space for everyone else and causes the opposition defence to play with a little more fear.
He isn’t the finished product, his first touch is fairly terrible at the moment, and he can try to do a little too much at times but he is someone who can be proud of what he has achieved this season. I just wonder how many of the other young players could have had a similar season if given the chance.
He nearly opened the scoring after 15 minutes after dribbling through a couple of players and then feinting to shoot and going past 2 more in the box. Unfortunately he seemed to want to get back onto his left foot and gave the defence time to get back and block.

Going forward Kofu looked like they could always score, with Davy being a real class act. I’d previously seen him score a lot of headers, but was most impressed with his quick feet in build-up play today.
Alongside his Fernandinho was busy, managing to play and referee the game at the same time. I’m always a little embarrassed when I see Suzuki Jun diving and waving yellow cards at people, and hope it isn’t something which becomes more prevalent in Japanese football.

Ventforet took the lead, and fairly inevitable it came from a corner. Crossed to the back post Ventforet didn’t need a target man of their own as Kazuki headed the ball into the ground and back across goal for someone to shoot from about 5m out. Kawata made a great block, but was unfortunate the ball came out to Davy who didn’t need much of an invitation to score his 31st goal of the season.

Avispa didn’t really deserve to be behind, but are so badly equipped in defence that it is hard to not be behind in games.
The team continued to attack with an equaliser coming from a smart move and classy finish. A ball played through the middle towards Sakata was cleverly dummied and slid through to Osmar running into the box.
Under pressure from their right-back and being closed down by the keeper he dinked a finish over the keeper. I’m glad to see a finish like that as he has snatched at chances with his feet previously, but clearly has talent. Unfortunately I don’t think he will be with us next season as a return to Brazil is rumoured.

We couldn’t hold onto the draw for long as again the defence totally crumbled. It may be looked back on as a great Kofu goal with about 8 short triangular passes to bring the ball from the right wing position to Davy inside the box (and it was nicely done by a team in confidence) but the reality was that Avispa players had about 5 chances to put a strong tackle in and stop it. Davy got his 32nd goal of the season and should now be looking to try and beat the 37 that Hulk got for Verdy.

Genki had a start for Ventforet on the left, and was predictably being booed with every touch, but got his revenge with the best goal of the game at the end of the 2nd half.
The ball was played out to the right wing again where Ventforet’s full-back played a cross to the near side of the box where Genki has come across from the left wing. Hitting a first time shot across goal, Kawata had no chance and it looked like Kofu fans could start celebrating.

Into the second half Kofu switched down a gear and nearly gave Avispa a chance to spoil their party.
A double substitution saw Jogo and Yutaka brought on for Sakata and Naruoka. Naruoka went straight down the tunnel and I can’t see him playing for us next season. He has some amazing talent, but in 2 years here it hasn’t really worked out for him. I think he needs to be surrounded by better players. Sakata, I hope does stay. He won’t be happy with his 2nd half of the season but has still worked hard and just needs his luck to change.

Soon after coming on Avispa got what turned out to be a goal which did nothing but make the score look a little better. Kofu failed to clear a corner well and hit back through the box someone had the ball bounce off them and go into the net.
It may have even been an own goal, and was eaxctly the sort of scrappy goal you need to win games at times, and exactly the sort of goal Avispa hasn’t scored until now this season.

A game with a better performance, but which will only really mean something if the positives are built on so our players and fans can be the ones celebrating in 12 months time.

Posted October 21, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Ventforet Kofu (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa welcome the team who came down from J1 with them last season to Level-5 Stadium at lunch-time today, but while Avispa languish in 17th place having only won 9 games all season (most of these in the first 2 months), Kofu have set new records for dominating the division and have the chance to be crowned Champions today with a month left of the season.

The only real hope for Avispa today is if Kofu decide they want to celebrate being Champions in front of their home fans next week and somehow conspire to lose today to make that happen.

We drew in the away leg at the point when our season started to collapse, and could have had a win that day except for conceding at a corner when our zone defence was at it’s worst.
It says quite a lot for our season that in that first game Sakata was almost level on goals with Davy at the top of the scorers charts for J2. Davy went on from there to having now scored 30 goals while Sakata has only scored once since that game.

Looking at the goals we have scored within touching distance of Kofu’s total for the season ( 58 vs. 50 ) and in fact have enough goals to be somewhere near the play-off zone, but the defence has conceded 60 (Kofu: 33) with only Gainare conceding more goals.

Avispa News.
While I have been saying to play young players for 2 months now I would say we shouldn’t in today’s game (which probably means Maeda will think it is a good idea).
It is the Champions coming down, in full confidence and in party mode. Let the older players who got us into this situation take a beating and watch as the opposition players and fans celebrate in a position they should have been fighting for.

One change will be enforced with Omata suspended, so Kim Min Je will come in at left-back. I like the change, and most of any attacks we have will be through him.
Ishizu was our best player last week, and scored, so may keep his place on the left wing and it will be a chance to see how he does against top opposition.

Ventforet News.
No suspensions for Ventforet.

Davy has taken most of the headlines for the team, and is their main target up front. A tall striker, good in the air, I can’t see how he won’t score from a corner or set-piece against our defence.
If Kofu have watched any of our games they know to put him on Min Je for goal kicks, with Kazuki then being told to come out of position rather than letting Min Je deal with things.

They have more quality from Fernandinho playing in an attacking role, and doing so in a position between midfield and attack will be way to much for Sueyoshi or Suzuki to try and understand and help out with.

Ex-Avispa players will be returning with Genki Nagasato going to get a hostile reception if he travels, and I’d be very interested to see Shigematsu again. I don’t know how he has done this season, or what Tokyo’s plans are for him, but I’d love to see him back at Avispa.

My Prediction

Avispa 1 – 3 Ventforet Kofu

I think the Kofu players will want to get things wrapped up today, and in a tall powerful striker, and clever Brazilian attacker it is exactly the sort of challenge that Avispa defence can’t handle.

Posted October 20, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview

vs. Tochigi (report)   Leave a comment

Avispa 1 : 1 Tochigi

Another tiresome performance from Avispa, but one which did show the fine line between a good seasonand a bad season in J2.

The reality was that the difference between these teams was not huge, but the league table shows that while Avispa are struggling near the bottom of the table Tochigi are battling to get a play-off position.

It was a similar story in the last home game against Yokohama FC. That being said Avispa should be well ahead of both Yokohama and Tochigi on the squad they have, but with only 3500 people coming to watch the game maybe that won’t be the case for long.

The first half was a really boring start, with Maeda only playing a single changed player from previous weeks with Ishizu getting a deserved start.
Tochigi were not threatening at all, but were then gifted a penalty by the referee who spotted Sueyoshi pulling on someone’s shirt at a corner.
It was the only way Tochigi were going to score from a corner, apart from their #4 they have the smallest team I’ve seen this season. The penalty was easily converted to give them the lead with what was probably the first shot of the match.

Avispa were anaemic and boring in attack, and Tochigi looked like they would be happy taking a 1-0 win back home and sat back to defend their penalty goal.
Their defensive mentality proved to be a mistake when Avispa scored an equaliser with a deflected shot from outside the area.
Inevitably it came from Ishizu, the only Avispa player who really loooked like he had something to play for; and in reality he probably was the only player who had any reason to try and impress.

Samir and Osmar came on and both looked like improvements on what had been seen earlier, but overall it was a meaningless game and the players looked like they are just waiting for the season to finish.

Posted October 17, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Match Reports

vs. Tochigi SC (preview)   Leave a comment

Avispa face Tochigi in their 2nd to last home game of the season.

The last time Tochigi came to Level-5 I saw the worst refereeing display I’ve ever seen, which helped Tochigi snatch a win which nearly derailed out attempts at promotion to J1. On that day they played a physical game, and had the striking power of Ricardo Lobo to score a brace of goals.
The home game this year was abandoned due to lightning, but again Tochigi had the physical power and efficiency to convert some clear chances against a disorganised Avsiap team. It was that game at Tichigi which really showed the first signs of problems this year.

As I said mid-week I really think this is the perfect time to play some younger players and tell the coaching set-up something about what we have and might be able to use in rebuilding for next year.

The season is finished for us, but Tochigi will still be coming to play as they have an outside chance of making the play-offs.

Avispa News
While I really hope some new faces are given a chance I suspect that Maeda will change very little from last week loss to Fagiano. So far this season he has shown that he is entirely stubborn about his failed team, and seems to want to keep going with it so after he gets an inevitable win he can say ‘I told you we are a good team’. Unfortunately we have been waiting for that win for months.

One glimmer of hope is that most of the first team played (and lost) to Omiya mid-week, so maybe he will play new players. The alternative is to play the same failed players, but now play them tired after a game on Wednesday.

Tochigi News.
Good news for Tochigi as their midfield axis Paulinho is out suspended. He isn’t an amazing player, but he is their Captain, and most of the play goes through him so it will hopefully disrupt the team in our problem midfield area.
Up front their new Brazilian striker hasn’t been as effective as Lobo, but has a physical presence and Brazilian movement which is something our defence has struggled with often.

My Prediction

Avispa 0 – 2 Tochigi

I’ll predict a defeat in the hope that if i am wrong at least we will have got something from the game.
If the same team as has been playing for the last 5 months turns up I can’t see any way we won’t lose.
This team is better than the Fagiano team which took us apart last weekend.

Posted October 13, 2012 by avispafukuoka in Preview