After an away draw last weekend Avispa have to make it count this week at home by getting a win. We7ve shown we can beat anyone in the division when we are playig well, and if we can sneak into 6th place at the end of the season then there won’t be many teams looking forward to playing us.
Today we welcome Gifu to Level-5 Stadium, a team who have consistently been around the bottom places of J2 since entering the League, but have this year had a bigger investment of cash into the players and have some really dangerous players.
I think the match is likely to be won and lost in midfield, not because both clubs have a quality line-up ready to battle there, but because both clubs have quality elsewhere on the pitch but something of a hole in the middle.
Gifu have conceded a lot of goals this season (41; only Toyama and Sanuki have conceded more), but have also scored a lot of goals (41; 4th best in the division) and this tells Avispa how they need to approach the game.
If we sit back and try to defend against their attack then we’re likely to have some troubles as their young Colombian Nazarit can beat our defenders in the air and on the floor, and players like Alex Santos have the delivery to pick him out.
If we try to press the game high up the pitch, with the team moving up to collect the ball as the Gifu defence is pressured then our attackers will have chances to score.
Lee Kwang Seon is suspended again after picking up a yellow (it turns out by getting a red previously he took 1 match for that, and was still then still on 7 yellows rather than just getting a longer suspension), but this will probably solve one selection issue as Park can drop back into defence alongside Koga and Tsutsumi.
Park dropping back makes another problem as we have no-one to play in midfield with Nakahara. The 2 choices availble would be to move Takeda back their from left-back and recall Abe, or to pull Jogo back into midfield as has happened in home matches before.
Of these 2 options I’d play Takeda in the middle. Jogo has shown with his effort as forward in recent weeks that he wants to play in that position and is going to work if he is selected there.
I liked how we lined up in the last home match against Jubilo with Hirai leading the line and Sakai on the bench, but think it is more likely that Sakai will play.
Team I’d play…
FC Gifu News
Nazarit is the key player for Gifu, and if he is allowed to muscle or pace against Koga then we saw in the U-21 friendly that Koga is going to have to foul him early or get embarrassed.
A better option for Avispa is to try to stop the supply line. If Alex plays then I’d like to see the players try to get under his skin, but he has been injured recently and may not be sending crosses into the box.
Elsewhere in midfield Gifu have had their problems exacerbated by a set on injuries, but may throw new players into the match (like when we played them last season and 3 players made their debuts), but as with last season it is something of an unknown quantity how new players will perform.
For better information check out the Gifu fan-page at …We Are Gifu
Avispa 3 – 1 FC Gifu
I can’t see us being able to stop Nazarit from scoring, but hope that we have enough in attack to score a few goals of our own.