After an excellent 3 points, and one of the best performances of the season so far last weekend it would seem we have an easy 3 points this weekend against bottom club Gifu.
I wouldn’t say I’d be happy with a draw, but certainly don’t expect the game to be an easy win. We’ve not had an easy ride against Gifu in the 3-4 years I’ve seen us play them. I’ve seen us lose and draw against them at home, and were very fortunate to get a win this season after they were harshly reduced to 10 men and still ended up only losing 2-1.
While they are still bottom of the table they have closed the gap to the teams above them with some good results in recent weeks and will be looking to get off the bottom with a win this week.
Having said all that we did have our best result last weekend with a midfield which looked a lot more dynamic with Funeyama brought in to start, and then also have Kanakubo back from suspension to add to that attacking threat.
An added dimension will be another chance for us to try and cope with a back-3 which we have struggled with at times this season.
Kanakubo is back from suspension and should be in contention for a starting spot. His ability to play in almost any of the front 5 positions helps with Avispa’s fluid attacking trident formation. Pusnik might keep the same middle 3 as last weekend after their good performance.
The back 4 is likely to stay the same with Mishima growing into the right-back spot, and against one of the ‘weaker’ teams who could be pushed back by playing a midfielder there. I still think Miyamoto has been very unlucky to not be playing every week as he was our best player at the start of the season.
The central 2 should stay Tsutsumi and Park after a good performance and clean sheet last week.
The front 3 get rotated so much it is almost impossible to pick yo is going to get a game one week from the next but would guess we’ll have Sakata, Kanemori and Ishizu up front, with Jogo in midfield. After his goal last week Nishida might get the nod ahead of Kanemori.
He seems to attract criticism from time to time, but I’ve been impressed with Desmond every time I’ve seen him. He’ll be key for Gifu at the back, and whether the 2 younger players can drag him about and attract attention while Sakata provides a central target.
Gifu have signed a few new players in a bid to boost their survival hopes, but I think it is likely to come a little too late to come into contention for this game. If they do manage to get registered and trained in time then it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll rise to an amazing debut or take time to bed in.
FC Gifu 1 : 3 Avispa Fukuoka
Gifu are good enough, and playing differently to the start of the season when the shipped goals and I can see them fighting to get a goal.
Beyond that I do hope that we have the attacking quality to score a couple and then make the game safe as they chase at the end.
Make sure you check the excellent We are Gifu blog to see things from the opposing view.