Whatever happens in this game Avispa have had a great start to the season. The fixture list wasn’t nice to us with our first 3 games being Tokyo Verdy, Montedio Yamagata, and Kyoto Sanga, but after 2 wins and 6 points everyone must be very pleased.
Having said that, let’s make it 3 wins in a row and against clubs which would mean everyone has to take us seriously this season.
Kyoto were the big favorites for promotion last season but messed it up on the last day of the year, and then failed in the play-offs.
They have a young team with a quick passing game, and will be another good test for our new counter-attacking game-plan.
It is one of the few occasions in the division this season when I would advocate trying to ‘unsettle’ the opposition and would hope that Okada and Nakahara have been told to make sure the young Kyoto players don’t have a lot of time on the ball and know they are in a game (if this is all too subtle I’m saying they need to give Kyoto a bit of a kick).
The good thing about facing 3 strong teams in a row is that we can keep the team fairly similar each week.
I think we will have the same 4141/433 line-up as last week, possibly with Kanakubo coming into the middle after coming on late and looking very good.
The only other changes might be to the two players who picked up knocks late on in the game (Koga and Omata), with Tsutsumi and Minje the most likely replacements (although I’d go with Hatamoto).
At some point we need to re-introduce Osmar. He missed much of pre-season, but was such a threat last season in a team playing badly that he needs to get back in the team some time. He might be on the bench in place of Mishima.
Kyoto weren’t helped last season by the constant speculation about their star youngster Kubo and whether he was going to be going to Europe.
Common sense prevailed in the end and he has stayed in Japan for now (he wouldn’t have been good enough, or big enough to get a first team spot in Switzerland), and is likely to be a big threat on Sunday.
He is a well-rounded striker, but will particularly trouble our defence with his movement.
Their midfield and defence supports the attack well, they restricted Tokyo Verdy to a single shot last week, but they team should be made aware that they couldn’t beat the Verdy team we beat away from home in week 1.
Key Match-up – Kanamori vs. right-back
I think the game could be kept very tight and be settled by a moment of brilliance.
We aren’t going to get a runaway win, and can hopefully restrict them before bringing on the quick youngster (or Ushinohama is due a game) who might be able to surprise an old, tired defender and create something out of nothing.
Avispa 1 – 1 Kyoto Sanga
I’m trying to be optimistic; this is a team who finished 18th vs. the one which finished 3rd. A draw would be a great result.
A lot will be down to the defence, and Okada/Nakahara playing in front of them and if we can stop Kyoto from playing.