J2 has 2 big teams this season who surprised many by being relegated from J1 last season, but are surprising few by already being clear at the top of the division in the automatic promotion spots.
Avispa welcome the first of these to Level-5 Stadium today as Vissel Kobe travel down.
They have been the best team of the division so far having won 8 of their games to be in 1st place, scoring the most goals in the process.
Avispa’s defence has shown some improvements in recent games, but still gives up easy chances which will surely be punished by the attack of Popo and Majino who have each already scored 5 times this season.
Popo in particular should be someone the Avispa players are watching. He is a fairly limited player, but has a directness and willingness to shoot at all times which makes him a handful, a little bit like Osmar (and nothing like the rest of our team).
It would seem that it will be a clear Kobe win, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we got something. We are a team set up to exploit spaces, and whereas other teams come to Level-5 and sit back there will be a pressure on Kobe to push forward which may help us.
Koga was out last match due to a family bereavement, but should be back for this game. He is likely to come back today in place of Kazuki.
It is possible that Tsutsumi might move across to left-back in place of Minje as we have a more defensive outlook despite playing at home. Omata will be back soon, but a first game against Kobe might be asking too much.
Jogo has played in midfield at home recently, but didn’t do as well last week as he has previously there, and is likely to be back as a forward to start this game with Okada, Funayama or Park in midfield to add a little bite.
Vissel Kobe News
Vissel kobe had a bit of a shock last week as the conceded 3 goals in the last 5 minutes to draw with Okayama, but will likely keep the same starting line-up which has served them so well so far this season.
That includes 3 strikers in a similar formation to what Pusnik is trying to do at Avispa, and having scored more goals than anyone else so far this season will probably show the Avispa strikers what they should be doing.
Avispa 0 – 2 Vissel
Vissel’s strikers aren’t going to miss the easy chances our defence has been giving every game.
After going an early goal up they can control the game and probably get a late goal as we struggle to break down their defence.