The biggest problem Avispa had last season was in central midfield.
The defence may have caught the eye more because of the number of goals we conceded, but a large part of this was the almost total lack of anyone playing in the middle of the pitch which allowed opposition teams to make attack after attack.
It also meant that when we did hold possession it was inside our own half, and with players not good enough to keep the ball when we did give it away we were doing so in our own half.
This was caused by having just 2 central midfielders (2 from Okada, Suzuki, Sueyoshi) who all wanted to play a deep-lying, Hollywood pass making volante type role. It didn’t work as they weren’t good enough to make the passes, and weren’t dynamic enough to cover the ground and make tackles when we didn’t have the ball.
The enduring image of the season for me will be an image of Sueyoshi or Suzuki running back towards the Avispa goal, head down chasing an opposition player after continually giving the ball away on halfway.
The choices are: a) play with a midfield 2, but those 2 must be able to cover the ground and quickly distribute the ball to the wings or strikers.
b) play with 3 in midfield to reduce the distance they are trying to pass, and cut the space for opposition to play through.
Option A. Midfield 2. (442)
Suzuki and Sueyoshi cannot do this together. They do not have the energy, ability or dynamism. Maybe 1 could do it next to a very good more experienced midfielder.
Of the 2 I’d take Suzuki Jun, but if rumours of him going to Verdy are true then let him go.
In this formation the team needs to be using the corners more, with good wing play trying to hit the byline, or pull 2 players into the full-back position.
We have players who can do this in Ishizu, Osmar, Taku, Minje. Last year we played with Naruoka and Jogo who weren’t suited to the role so the ball was staying in the middle where we were out numbered.
Might work, but needs a very good experienced central midfielder who the team will depend upon (a bit like Nakamachi).
Option B. Midfield 3 (4231,4141,433,352,etc.)
A much more modern formation, and in my opinion a much better option.
As part of this there could be a role for Suzuki and Sueyoshi playing as they have this season, but contains a 3rd midfielder to take some of the pressure off and hopefully provide a passing option which doesn’t involve them trying to do something they saw Steven Gerrard once do on TV.
I still think 2 new midfielders would be better than keeping with Suzuki and Sueyoshi, but there is less pressure to be the key player on whoever comes in.
The big losers in this woud be Naruoka and Jogo as I don’t really see where they would fit. Jogo has played as a lone striker, but I’m not sure how much he liked it, Naruoka doesn’t have the discipline to stay on the wing, Jogo scored a lot of goals from the wing in the season just gone…
Personally I still think 433 is the way to go. Ishizu can be a star this season coming in from the left in front of a confident Minje, 3 midfielders is important to stay competitive in all games in this tough division, we have a rotation of strikers who can be told to go and give 60 minutes of hard running every game.
Tricky winger……………..Tricky winger
Attacking FB….Solid CB….Solid CB…Attacking RB