After a fantastic win last week we have our first home game of the season and there is something of a buzz around the club.
Whether by coincidence or design bringing in a foreign manager has totally detached this season from last season, and if the results keep being positive then we could get on a real roll (and after 4 seasons of very slow starts that would be a nice change).
On Sunday we welcome Montedio Yamagata to Level-5, a club who got relegated from J1 in 2011 like we did.
They have been a little better in J2, putting together in workman-like team who have ground out results without ever really looking spectacular.
It may mean something to a couple of players out on the pitch as Funayama and Miyamoto will be facing their old team, and presumably trying very hard to get one over their previous employers.
For anyone who has primary school aged kids it’s only 100yen for a ticket this weekend so get down to the stadium.
After a win last weekend, with all the players seeming to follow the game-plan well I’d expect few changes to the players this weekend, but playing at home I think we should have more attacking intent.
Montedio are still one of the top 5-6 teams in the division so not much needs to change, but using Jogo as a pseudo-striker/volante marker at home is not going to inspire much, so the 4141 will probably (hopefully) slide forward to a 4231 with Funayama taking a more advance role and Nakahara joining Okada in midfield.
I’d still sooner go to a straight out 433, but after a win last week the side deserves to have another go and get some applause from the home crowd.
Players looking to quickly come on if things don’t work from the start are Sakata and Nishida after doing well last weekend, and Kim Min Je who needs to start being used as a key attacking weapon.
I’d like to see Ushinohama on the bench. Montedio won’t have forgotten him since we scored 6 past them in J1.
Montedio did not have a good opening weekend, losing to Ehime and being generally out-played in midfield.
This extends a run of bad form from last season; they have only won once in 12 games (losing 7 of those), and while last weekend has hopefully helped the Avispa players forget last season it can’t have done Yamagata much good.
They have new signing Romero Frank (who I have never rated but then went on to score against us for Mito last year) playing in the midfield as part of a 2, and if we play with Okada-Nakahara-Funayama I think we should be able to control that area.
Previously they have always made the most of set-pieces and corners, and I expect them to again, but maybe Funayama and Miyamoto can let the rest of the squad know a few training ground tricks and try to stop some of these.
The Avispa defence looked solid against corners and free-kicks last weekend, and it will need to be again.
Montedio have played a flat 4, with 2 in the middle and if we play anything with 3 bodies available I expect us to be able to hold the ball and try to set free a runner behind what is likely to be a well-organised defence.
They might feel the need to change things and come to pack midfield and try to keep things goal-less. Either way, the match will be won and lost in midfield.
Avispa 3 – 0 Montedio
Any time we win midfield we have the quality up front (whether from starting members or from the bench) to score goals.