Avispa Fukuoka 0 : 1 Giravanz Kitakyushu
How 1 match can change everything. After Thespa and sitting 5th in the table there was a wave of optimism going round the club. In 1 half of football the mood must now be quite desperate another yet another poor performance to record our first ever home defeat in the Fukuoka derby.
It’s a loss which leaves us in 10th place in the table. Not a disaster, but it needs the team to bounce back against Oita at the weekend to put us back on the edge of the play-offs.
So how can the team do that, and what went wrong in this match?
1) The referee
I left this match wondering why on my only day off I had spent it watching something which wasn’t close to football.
The saddest thing being it wasn’t the worst refereeing disply I have seen, but just a generally accepted awful level seen in Japan.
I don’t need to see good football, if I did I would have stayed watching English football and never set foot in a 2nd division Japanese football stadium, but what I can’t sit and watch is something where I don’t even understand the rules of the game. The referee in this game was making up his own rules.
The first half wasn’t too bad, although there was a goal ruled out for off-side by Giravanz which looked OK to me, a counter attack allowed by Giravanz where there were 3 players at least 5m off-side, and a couple of dodgy penalty decisions.
The first was probably not a penalty as Ishizu went down dramatically at the byline, and unless he was pulled down from behind I didn’t see much wrong with it. The second right on the edge of half-time (again on Ishizu) looked a certain penalty. I think the referee bottled it because it was literally the last kick of the half.
Unfortunately worse was to come in the 2nd half. The Giravanz players seemed to be trying to get Sakata sent off, and the referee was falling for it. Avispa players were getting fouled but having fould go against them, and most damaging of all the foreign players for Avispa (Lee and Punosevac) were having fouls given against them for being tall, and having Kitakyushu players allowed to elbow them in the head unpunished.
The Giravanz goal came after Lee went shoulder to shoulder with a Giravanz attacker, won the ball, but had a foul given against him for being strong and tall.
Giravanz hit the free-kick into the wall, but the rebound was hit through a crowded penalty area and inside the right post.
2) Ishizu and Hirai showed why they can’t really be guaranteed starters.
I’ve seen lots of commentary saying that Ishizu and Hirai should be starting, and why is Puni in the team ahead of them.
They showed why the manager has been correct today.
We started the game with a 4231 formation, similar to what I had suggested in my preview, but with Hirai on the right not Jogo.
I’d said I liked Jogo there because of the help he gives Mishima. In this game neither full-back was getting any cover in front of them at all and finding themselves up against 2 attackers time after time.
We were playing a system which allowed the front 3 attackers to rotate around. I understand the idea behind it, it allows players to break lines and lose trackers in attack.
Unfortunately it wasn’t causing a lot of damage to the Kitakyushu attack, and then in defence there was no obvious responsibility about who should be going back to help out.
Neither player is great at helping in defence, but their job was made harder by being able to shirk responsibility by thinking it ‘wasn’t their side’.
If we play the 2 together in the future like this I think we need to sacrifice the fluid front movement to say to someone they must help out in defence on a certain side.
3) Who has Jinno brought to the club?
Being English I don’t really ever believe in a Director of Football position, and the last 3 seasons at Avispa have only made me dislike it even more.
ANyone can look at the Avispa team and say we are missing people in the middle of the pitch. You could ask why Pusnik has played Jogo, or Sakata, or Takeda/Park/Morimura or anyone else as the central midfielders at the club, but obviously he doesn’t want to. Who else is there who could play in that position.
I can think of almost no formation in football which doesn’t require midfielders, but somehow Jinno has gone into the season with no midfielders at the club apart from Nakahara.
It isn’t even a new problem; we haven’t had a midfielder of any quality since Nakamachi was at the club.
If you look back at who he has brought to the club…
– Kihara : Injured for a year, now playing in Cambodia.
– Nishida : Can’t get in the Ehime team.
– Osmar : Eating burgers in Brazil.
– Oh : Not good enough.
– Omata : Never totally fit.
– Sakata : Good player.
– Tsutsumi : Had his career saved by Pusnik, garbage before that.
– Samir : Where does he find these players?
– Okada : Garbage.
– Koga : Basically given a retirement present. On huge money but can’t play.
– Jang : Pointless.
– Park : Decent enough player.
– Miyamoto : Had to quit the game and work as a kid’s coach.
– Funeyama : The only central midfielder, but can’t find a club after us.
– Kanakubo : Needed his own ball and a mirror for each game.
– Nakahara : I’m still hopeful, but he seems unable to pass forwards at the moment.
– Chris : I don’t know where he plays, I’m not sure if he does.
– Punosevac : Doesn’t seem to be able to score.
– Morimura : Might be ok, but in a position we have players.
– Sakai : Might be ok, but in a position we have players.
– Nozaki : Might be ok, but in a position we have players.
– Hirai : Decent player, but in a position we have players.
– Lee : Good signing.
– Abe : Looks useful.
– Takeda : Works hard, good squad member.
– Shimizu : Midget goal-keeper.
In that list of names there are 3 midfielders; Okada and Funeyama both not good enough, and both no longer at the club. Nakahara has had to play 45 games from being a rookie with little to no help.
He seems only capable of bringing in quick-footed, inside-forwards with half-decent technique.
What exactly is he expecting us to play?
You could give the players he has brought to the club to Jose Mourinho and we would still end up outside the play-offs.
During his time at the club he has also seen the only midfielders we did have (Suzuki Jun and Sueyoshi) leave the club.
I wasn’t their biggest fans, but they could both still pass the ball with some accuracy(and by passing I don’t mean sideways or backwards).
Sadly I also think that Pusnik would have been very good for both those players, but they left before having the chance to be played in a team which gave them more numbers and options around them.