The off-season has so far been very quiet for Avispa as they try to sort out their Presidency, but when the new guy has been put in place we need to start moving quickly to fill the many gaps in the squad.
The players brought in last season were a disaster with only Park Gun having any success (Miyamoto and Funayama have already left, Mizutani crocked, Jang didn’t play a game, Kanakubo plays like a man who looks like he’s always looking for the closest mirror).
The players brought in the year before that have not done much better (Kihara, Okada, Nishida, Omata all gone, Koga an expensive liability, Oh left and came back) with only Sakata and Tsutsumi having any success, and for Tsutsumi that was only this season.
That means that from the players Jinno has brought to the club only 2 1/2 could be seen as positive signings for the club. 11 others have not been good enough, a 15% success rate for a club in financial difficulty isn’t good enough.
We need to get it right this year and get the right players for the right positions, not just something which looks like it might be good because Montedio or Omiya offer us 2 players at the same time.
To do this I will think about how I’d like us to line up for next season:
A fluid 433 formation.
We have been playing a style which allows the players to play in a fluid style and switch position and formation within the game depending on what is going on on the pitch. It is a difficult transition for the players, but something which if they watch a club like Bayern Munich can see is something top clubs in Europe are doing and have got better at as the season went on.
The forwards were much more successful in this transition, and it is looking at the defence where I believe we need to get a certain type of player in and build the same flexibility at the back.
While formations become less important while playing a flexible game (not quite total football, but with an element of it) I still think it is important to have a basic structure, where players understand what their role is for the start of games and times when we need some defensive solidity.
I believe this team should look like this…. (player names are those signed to the club or I hope to sign).
The obvious absence here is Kanamori who could play in one of the forward roles any time, and the big unknown is Jogo. Everyone else (Tsutsumi?) is fairly sure to be here I think.
The big positional change is with Shuto Nakahara no longer playing in his role between lines as the deepest midfielder, but is now pushed a little further forward.
Is style of play is much more of a regista-type creator, rather than a destroyer, and I think that he needs to be given more time to do this by taking away some of his destroying responsibilities.
He has good stamina, and in the second half of the season was hitting the edge of the box and taking shots, something I’d like to see more of.
By having a dedicated Makalele-type destroyer behind him (a Mascherano to his Alonso) it allows us the flexibility in defence which the forwards have already been quite successful with in 2013.
For much of the time I believe this formation would switch to something looking like a 4231 when we had possession of the ball as Jogo made himself available in and around the penalty area and with Nakahara then able to play between the lines of defence and midfield, and Jogo playing between midfield and attack it should open up space while knowing they have the defensive shield in place should possession be lost.
The biggest advantage for me in utilising this player is that it also frees up the full-backs. We have Mishima at right-back who wants to get forward, and will hopefully bring somebody else in to do the same on the left.
By having a dedicated defensive shield player then the 4xx formation can slide straight into a 343 as the full-backs are able to join the attack.
To make the formation work we need to have central defenders who are comfortable on the ball and able to provide a pass into midfield or the wing.
Too many times last season Nakahara was dropping deep to collect the ball from alonside the central defenders. This is a total waste of the player; all it means is that the passing of the defenders isn’t good enough.
The furthest back midfielder needs to play in space between lines, not as part of the back line when building attacks.
If he takes a player with him then that should leave a player free ahead of him (Jogo/Nakahara or one of the wingers in the model I wrote above).
If no player goes with him then he can collect the ball further up the pitch and look to play in a forward.
If the opposition team sit back and choose not to press the defender with the ball then the defender himself has time to conduct the play.
By Nakahara dropping back to standing alongside Tsutsumi or Park last season it is just allowing one player (usually a striker too) to press both players and leave midfield fully marked behind them.
So which players do I think we need?
So if I was the manager and was about to do all of the above then who do I need?
#1 – A defensive midfielder.
Biggest requirement is someone who can sit in front of the centre-backs, and drop back at times when the full-backs bomb on.
This is the one position where I would get some-one with a bit of experience. If it can be someone quite shouty and good at organising then that’s even better, maybe you could attract someone you couldn’t otherwise do by offering the captaincy.
I believe both Tsutsumi and Park could be very good at this role, but not now when they are needed at centre-back, and could have a season of watching someone else.
#2 – A left-back.
We made our right-back last year by showing Mishima’s versatility. We also tried it with Kanamori, but that isn’t going to work.
Oh did ok when asked to fill in at left-back, but we really need a dedicated left-back who can cross the ball and has the engine and pace to get up and down the line all game.
#3 – Central midfielders.
2, probably 3 if Jogo does leave, midfielders with pace, energy, and the ability to control and pass a ball.
Of these 1 should be able to go striaght into the team now and be one of our best players, the other 2 can be 20/21 year olds with the potential to get better.
#4 – A tall central defender.
We are doing ok at centre-back with Tsutsumi, Park, Koga, Kazuki, Hatamoto, but I would like one of Park or Tsutsumi to move up into this destroyer role at some point which leaves some gap at the back (especially as the back-up is Koga and Kazuki).