Things should start getting easier for Avispa now. We have had a very hard August and early September which meant we played all of the teams in the top 6 places of the table in a row.
You could look at it and say that if we want to sneak into the play-off places then those are the teams we need to beat, and apart from a home game against Nagasaki we lost all of them.
The club have now had 2 weeks rest time due to the Emperor’s Cup game where a lot of the squad players got a chance to play (and were beaten 5-1 by Tochigi, a scoreline which looks worse than it was after initially taking the lead and then conceding 2 goals in the last minute).
We play Yokohama FC, a team who seem to be capable of beating anyone in the division on their day, but also of losing to anyone.
The arrival of Yokohama also has 2 side attractions. Will Kaz Miura be coming along (at 46 still one of the most famous footballers in the country), and will Jumbo be playing (an ex-Avispa player still very popular at the club).
I hope to see a team very similar to the one which did well in the last game against JEF. We ended up losing the game, but dominated it for large parts and could easily have won.
Kazuki will likely stay in the team because Park is still suspended but would fare a lot better in an aerial battle with Jumbo than he did in a footrace against Kempes.
Omata might be back to add height at left-back, and Mishima will probably play right-back after a welcome break.
The biggest change to the team is with Nakahara suspended from the midfield anchor role. This ‘conductor’ position is really important for us as someone to play between the lines, and pull an opposition midfielder towards him and leave 2 vs. 1 higher up the pitch in midfield.
I would like to see Okada played there as I think it is the only role on the pitch he really fits into, especially if given a focus on protecting the back 4.
Kanakubo has to play as 1 of the midfield as he is our only player who steps and and presses midfield behind the forwards, with possibly Jogo alongside him.
I think we should play with Sakata on the left, collecting knock-downs from Punosevac as he cuts inside, but could Ishizu then play on the right? Punosevac more likely to start on the bench.
My Prediction : Avispa 2 – 0 Yokohama FC
The start of a late surge to over-take Nagasaki as they start to tire and sneak into 6th place.