vs. Ehime FC (preview)   Leave a comment

After last week’s excellent win against Kyoto the squad must have been buzzing in training this week, and will hopefully have had their eyes opened a little about what they can achieve if they are all willing to put in 90 minutes worth of effort and stick to what they have planned pre-match.
Having said that the 3 points from last weekend must now be forgotten because it will mean nothing if they don’t get a result against Ehime this week. Looking at the fixtures pre-season I think that the manager would be fairly happy with 6 points from the first 3 games (getting them against Kumamoto and Ehime would have been the easiest way; but draws with Kumamoto and Kyoto, and a win against Ehime would be seen as quite good and only get us 5 points). A draw or defeat here to get 4 or 3 points isn’t a great start whatever happened against Sanga.

The result is entirely in Avispa’s hands. If they can match the intensity and aggression of the match last weekend we will be quite easy winners. If we go into the match thinking that we beat Kyoto so Ehime will be easy, and our players go back to expecting someone else to do their running then we could get caught out by an Ehime team who have had a bad start to the season and will be looking to battle for a draw.

The reality is that we probably won’t be able to match the intensity of last weekend for an entire season against all opposition (if we can then we’ll be likely Champions), but what we can do is put in bursts of controlled aggression in phases and hopefully be too much for the ‘weaker’ teams in the division.

I’d like to see us play at full tempo for at least the first 25 minutes, and against what looks a fairly poor Ehime squad we may well score 2 goals and be able to coast a little until half-time.
There were no games in all of last season where we opened up a 2-3 goal lead and the players were able to enjoy themselves a little more. It does happen in this division at times, but not since our promotion season in Level-5 have we seen 5/6 goal scorelines.

Avispa team news.
I’d change very little from the team for last week. The back-4 in particular were very good and should now be given more games to play alongside each other to build more understanding.
There could be an argument that against an Ehime team who are going to put men behind the ball we don’t really need Park as anchor so much, but I’d disagree and think he is the most important part of the formation allowing the forwards to play (in a manner like when Zidane said Makalele was the most important player in Real’s galacticos team because he allowed the others to play).

The forward line is a very dynamic beast and does allow some players to be switched, but after the performance of last weekend I don’t think anyone should now sit out.
I think Pusnik’s only real decision (unless there are injuries) is what to do with Hirai. He did very well after he came on last weekend. The goal was top quality, but he is also the player who picked out Jogo for the run into the box for what eventually led to our penalty. I like what Punosevac gives to the team, and can’t say he deserves to be dropped for his performances and running, but Hirai has shown that he will score a lot of goals given service.
Potentailly Punosevac gives an option from the bench and newproblem for defenders.

Ehime team news.
Whoever is in charge of transfers at Ehime seems to share a contact book with whoever is doing it at Avispa. There is a list of players who have moved between the clubs in the last 3 years (Kobara (twice), Shigematsu, Osmar, Takahashi) and they currently have Nishida Go and Kim Min Je at the club.
Both players will receive a good reception from the fans as players who always tried hard, but are also players we know (along with everyone else on the list) isn’t really someone we need to fear.

Nishida Go has gone straight into their starting team, their other main option a new Korean who has been injured, but plays as part of a team who have failed to score a goal so far this season.

They play a wing-backs type system with 3 at the back and full-backs in the wing positions rather than wingers. It is a position which I always thought suited Min Je, but he is yet to get on the pitch. They have 2 central midfielders with veteran Yoshimura trying to impose himself in the middle in place of the departed Mikic alongside Murakami. Both these players like time on the ball to try and pick out their forwards and should be pressed at all opportunities as they will give up possession and kick balls straight into touch.

Ahead of them they have a decent attacking midfielder in Harakawa, the most dangerous player in their team, alonside another central attacker. It means they have little width and try to narrow the game and put men in behind the ball. Any width will come from the wing-backs, but they are likely to be able to be pushed back by our attackers and put into 2 on 1 situations.

As they pack in behind the ball it isolates Nishida Go up front and we know how he is going to play, working for every ball, lots of endeavor, but not a great deal of quality. He will run for 60 minutes before being replaced tired late on.

My Prediction.

Avispa 3 : 0 Ehime

I think we will be too good for what I thought was the worst team in the division last season, and may have got a little weaker.
If we start with some pace, drive and aggression we could open up a gap in the score and Ehime might start thinking about their 2 home games coming up.
They’ll be very happy with a point and be making themselves hard to break down with numbers in the box.

Posted March 15, 2014 by avispafukuoka in Preview

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