After less than 10 weeks we complete the first round of Kyushu derby matches for J2 this season as Oita Trinita make the trip across the north of the island to Fukuoka.
Having win the ‘Battle of Kyushu’ last season things seem to be going worse this season as we have played Kumamoto, Nagasaki and Kitakyushu and lost every game so far.
It is a fairly damning condemnation of the spirit of the players to have capitulated in every game so far and I hope they can restore some pride in the game today.
Despite some terrible performances and bad results we are still not doing too badly this season, and a win here will likely take us back into 7th/8th and within a point of the playoffs.
We have our first suspension of the season as Lee Kwang Seon is now going to miss a game which means that compatriot Park Gon will probably play alongside Tsutsumi in defence. It is a defensive pairing which worked well at times last season, but Lee has probably been our best player so far this season and will be missed.
Keisuke Shimizu has already stated he wants to play against his parent club. It would seem harsh to drop him for this game even though he has been pretty awful.
Full-backs stay the same because we have no other options.
Midfield remains a huge problem. There is still the problem of Nakahara (our only midfielder) plus 2, with our general plan so far to be to play Jogo and Sakata or Morimura in midfield. There is a huge pressure on Jogo to get angry and perform in this role.
Up front I think you need to play Ishizu on the left. Sakata is the most obvious false 9, but might be needed in midfield where he is the only player who seems to attack the game. Hirai is incapable of helping in defence, but who else can play on the right? Ushinohama?
All we really need to to settle on a midfield defensive 2, and the other players can come in and out different positions depending on who is in form.
Oita have been generally playing the 3xx formation which we have struggled with at time in the last 3 years.
To combat the numbers it provides in midfield the inside forward positions have to push the wing-backs into defensive positions or we will get over-whelmed in midfield.
It will be a loud homecoming reception for midfielder Sueyoshi who went from being Rookie of the year playing alongside Nakamachi in 2010, to anonymous ‘finished article’ in 2012.
His career then really took off as he went to Sagan Toss and watched his team on TV as he couldn’t even get on the bench.
I am fairly optimistic as Oita have sold the big fat striker they used to have who seemed to score 2 goals every time we played against them.
Avispa 2 : 0 Oita
I’m not sure if I even believe myself, but I have to say we will win. If I don’t them I’m not sure if I can face going to the game after what I witnessed in the previous Kyushu derbies this season.