Avispa are reaching the end of their tough run of games as JEF travel down to Level-5 tomorrow. It is a run which has seen Avispa only get 4 points from the last 6 games which has seen us drop away from the play-off places.
There have been a mixture of performances across those games with the worst being last week against Kobe when we played a new formation and were totally outclassed to finish being beaten 4-0. I expect us to return to the 433 formation against JEF, but there may still be some surprises coming.
It had looked like this game may end up being cancelled due to Typhoon 15 hitting Fukuoka on the 1st, but at the moment it doesn’t seem too bad and I expect the game to go ahead as normal, albeit with a quite wet pitch from 3 days of solid rain.
Avispa have some problems in team selection for the game as players are out injured and suspended, and face a JEF team who have made a big signing in bringing Morimoto back from Italy in an effort to get promotion back to J1. JEF are a big club, with a large fan-base and should be in J1 with the budget they have at their disposal.
It will be a difficult test for Avispa but we should have beaten them in the away game earlier in the season, only having to settle for a draw after the referee had allowed a JEF defender to knock the ball out of Mizutani’s hands and into the goal after a last minute long kick up field.
Avispa have some team changes to make as Kamiyama is suspended after his red card (probably for 2 games after then gesturing to the Kobe bench as he walked off) and will be replaced by Kasagawa who did well as a sub, but will now have his first start.
They also need to change the central defence after Park also picked up a suspension for 4 yellow cards. With Koga probably still out I expect Kazuki to come in. The full back positions may be where there are some surprises. I’d go with Miyamoto and Min Je as experienced full-backs playing in position, but Pusnik might use Mishima and/or Kanemori and try to push up. I’d be a bit worried about this facing someone like Yusuke Tanaka coming back to his old team.
Midfield should be straight forward with Nakahara, Kanakubo and Funayama playing, but may be changed with the forward line having some new changes.
We have signed a tall Serbian striker Bratislav Punosevac who seems to be very good at holding the ball up and bringing others into the play, exactly what we need, but where will he play. It would seem he should play in the middle, but where does that then leave our best player Sakata?
Sakata has previously played on the left, and is a position I think he would do well in playing off a target man, but I don’t know if he would be happy to play there and where does that leave Ishizu?
Jogo could do with a break, but I don’t think he is the sort of player who ever really wants a game off and the supporters want to see Jogo so there may be some outside pressure to keep playing him.
I’d expect Punosevac to play off the bench for this game at least.
The most interesting team news for Avispa fans will be whether Yusuke plays. He was a good servant for Avispa and in contrast to Suzuki Jun has kept a good respect for the club since leaving. I hope he plays and gets a good reception, but didn’t seem to be received well last time he came back.
He has been playing as a striker recently (quite a difference from when he ended at Avispa as a right-back), but is likely to lose that spot to Morimoto.
Yazawa is a good attacking midfielder and is out suspended so Tanaka may fall back and take his spot for this game.
JEF were the best team in the division in July and the start of Ausgust but have seen their performances drop a little as they have lost to Matsumoto and Kitakyushu and drawn with Gifu and Gunma in the last 4 weeks. Hopefully we will meet them at a good time rather than when they bounce back from those results.
My prediction – Avispa 2 : 2 JEF
A socre draw would probably suit both teams at the moment as they are both in a bad run of games. A JEF win is much more likely in my opinion, but I’ll try and be optimistic and think we might be due a bit of luck after being robbed of a win in the away game.