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.
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.
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.
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.