The start of the season could now be called quite bad, it’s worse than what we did last season before finishing 18th for example (we’d beaten Kumamoto, Machida, and Gainare, and lost narrowly ‘away’ to Kyoto at this point last year) but the results don’t tell the full story.
I’d predicted we’d beat Sapporo and Mito 2 & 3 – 0, and while we ended up losing and drawing the performance on the pitch should have yielded the 2 wins I’d hoped for. We held the ball well, made attack after attack, andwere just missing the little bit of quality in the final third which should have got us easy wins. The attack is still trying to find it’s feet, with Sakata in particular desperately needing a goal which may free him to get the goals he is capable of. There is also the question about when Osmar will come back into the team, he is still supposed to be low on fitness, but scored so prolifically in a bad team last season he could be exactly the cutting edge we need right now.
The crowd are frustrated at times, but still 100% behind the team and project which couldn’t be said at this time last year. Everyone can see we are getting very close, and with so many young players getting their chance can see that we are heading in the right direction.
Today we face Gainare Tottori, a team in only their 3rd season who have been something of a whipping boy for the division in their J-league history so far (albeit a team which beat us on the last day of last season). That looks to have changed so far this season as they find themselves near the top of the table having had a start which has probably surprised even themselves.
Even taking into account their good start it is still a team Avispa should be looking to beat with some ease. Playing away, against a team near the top of the league I’d say it’s. A very good match for people looking for good odds on an away win.
The starting line-up will probably tell us what Pusnik thought about Jogo in central midfield last week.Personally I thought he was great there, andforced to take part in the game, but playing away from home on our run of form he may go more conservatively with Okada in the middle and Jogo back on the right at the expense of Kanemori. I don’t disagree with this in itself as I think Kanemori is better as an impact sub at the moment, but wouyld prefer to have Funayama in the middle over Okada.
The defense and keeper should stay the same. We conceded last week due to them getting very nervous with 10 minutes left. What they need now is some belief and another game out on the pitch to hopefully gain in confidence and avoid those nerves in future games. The only choices would be one of Hatamoto or Park coming in, who would be even more nervous, or Koga back from injury which is a step backwards in my opinion even if he did improve things for one game.
Tottori play with 2 solid banks of 4, and will again be a tough team to break down defensively. They are set up to play deep, as you’d expect from a team who would have started the season expecting to concede far more than they score.
Their attack is nowhere near the quality and aggressiveness of Mito, playing with 1 up front and 1 dropping deeper, but after their good start will be playing with some confidence.
The biggest news for team selection for Avispa fans is likely to be the ansence of Genki Nagasato who is long-term injured as he continues his journey back to obscurity after leaving Avispa.
Gainare Tottori 0 – 1 Avispa Fukuoka
After predicting wins andgetting it wrong for 4 games in arow you’d think I’d stop being optimistic, but our performances have been ok, andjust need someone to get a break in attack.
It might end up being quite scrappy, and the defence will need to hold on, but this should bea gamewe can re-start the 2013 season before next week’s derby.