I’ve heard people say that the English Championship is the hardest division to get out of in the world (to get promotion to the Premier League) because it is so competitive between so many teams.
I’m now thinking that promotion from J2 might be even harder.
Each year there seem to be 1-2 teams who have a budget and squad which is far superior to every other team in the division, and then another 20 teams who are of a similar sort of standard fighting to get into the play-offs.
Tomorrow Avispa travel away to play 1 of those 2 teams which are far superior to everyone else as they go to Shonan Bellmare.
Shonan have started the season on fire. After putting together 13 consecutive victories they have the chance to equal the J-League record with a 14th win to start the season.
Avispa have the chance to spoil the party.
Bizarrely I think it might help Avispa. The players shouldn’t need any more encouraging than to know that they have the chance to be on the front of every web-page on Sunday night by stopping the record, and showing that they are some of the best players in the division.
I also think we have a chance with the referee. Referees in this country like to be the centre of attention, and what better way than to be in the middle in a game everyone is watching to see if a record can be broken.
I think Avispa have 2 clear options for this game after 2 matches where they have performed quite well at times.
In the match against Okayama we did 343, and against Toyama we did 4141.
Personally I preferred the 4141, with Takeda and Morimura running and battling. But it needs all the players to be working hard. If we play it and they get scared of the occasion then it could turn into another Nagasaki.
343 is perhaps a little safer with bodies in the middle.
Either formation works better with Jogo at right-back. If he is happy to continue to work there then he can really help the team and continue to show he is a complete player.
Shonan Bellmare 0 : 0 Avispa Fukuoka
I guess few people would predict no goals, and it would be an excellent result for Avispa which made the rest of the division take notice.
I think we will be set up to defend and play on the counter and it will suit us well.