The stadium is starting to fee a very optimistic place. The team look like they know what they are supposed to be doing, and believe in the plan.
Having a settled team and formation helps, but we can now be looked at as one of the form teams in the division.
It will all count for zero if we can’t maintain this form until the end of the year.
Goalkeeper is a position where confidence plays such a huge role. Kamiyama is now playing full of it after a month of good displays, standing 4-5m further forward than he has, and meeting balls with his size. The save to his right in the last 10 minutes was as good as it gets in the J-League.
Abe : 8
His crossing has got much better in recent weeks. The ball along the 6-yard box for the first goal was exactly the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ which he should be aiming for.
Jogo : 8
A good day for the full-backs. I really want Jogo to fall in love with being a right-back, he could be amazing there. He has now scored as many goals from right-back as playing as a forward, he gets the space he wants and can drift in unmarked.
Tsutsumi : 7
Solid, no nonsense performance. I still feel he has more to offer by stepping into midfield at times, but if he feels more comfortable concentrating on defence then the clean sheet is more important.
Lee : 8
There might be more noticeable people on the pitch this season, but he is probably the Player of the Season so far for me. So important for our defence, and has managed to stay fit.
Park : 7.5
Whether he is in midfield or central defence he has become undroppable. Does a lot of ‘quiet’ work. Seeing him put in a big ‘moderating’ tackle on an opposition forward is still my favorite moment of any match. One day he will get sent off by an over-zealous referee, but he’ll get no complaints from anyone because we’ll get so much from him in the games before that point.
Takeda : 7.5
Similar to Park, I think one of the big ‘unseen’ reasons for our recent run of form is the tackling and fight of Takeda in midfield. He does the running and tackling for Nakahara, and like all good midfield terriers knows exactly how to walk the line between hard tackles and picking up yellow or red cards.
Nakahara : 7.5
Having Takeda alongside him has opened up his game. He can now concentrate on his forward passing, and has also been encouraged in the tackling side of his game.
Kanemori : 7
Really wanted to get his 4th goal in 4 games, and came very close with a placed shot against the bar. Idolises Neymar, and it may be his similarity in attitude around the other players which is his biggest asset.
Ishizu : 7
Got a start after scoring last week and did ok without ever really showing he should be in the team every week. He could be our biggest star, but isn’t right now.
Sakai : 7.5
Not sure if he ever envisioned himself as a striker leading the line, but by adding energy and physique to his game he has become a much better player. The best think he could do is try and sign for Avispa and keep getting starts.
Hirai : 6.5
Should be our best player, but there is something still missing. Needs confidence.
Sakata : 7
Very good to see him back, he will certainly make the team better. Now has serious competition for his place.
Morimura : 6
Needs to do something to show why he should be in the team. Getting lots of chances, and looks like he has all the attributes to do well, but needs to start putting it together.