The defeat to Yokohama wasn’t pretty to watch, but in the course of a season these results will happen. We came up against a totally incompetent referee and an experienced team who were able to take control of circumstances to win through 2 corners.
It will all be forgotten if we can beat Kitakyushu at the weekend. Anyone would have taken 2 draws from the 2 away games we are now playing, but a win tomorrow will get us a point extra than if we had drawn both games.
It was not so long ago that Kitakyushu were almost cheered by Avispa fans as a try-hard younger brother doing their best in J2. Those days are now long gone as Kitakyushu are doing better than Avispa and have had a couple of notable wins against us in the last few years.
This is now a real derby and should be played at a hard pace by both teams to get bragging rights in the Fukuoka derby.
A win for Avispa takes us back to the edge of the play-offs and might help to derail the Giravanz promotion bus. A win for Kitakyushu and I think we can give up on the play-offs for this season.
The best news for Avispa is that our best defender in Kwang Seon comes back from suspension and will give us much needed strength in the air. He might replace Koga who picked up an injury against Yokohama, or Park. Whoever he replaces he will go straight back into the team as our best defender.
Midfield remains our huge problem, and against a team who have combative defenders playing in an almost long ball style by getting the ball back and hitting the box early. Much with a 90s era Wimbledon it is their midfielders making late runs into the box who are scoring winning goals; often just 1-0 goals having only scored 31 goals all season while remaining in 4th place in the table.
Nakahara is one of the first names on the team sheet, but we still have the problem of who plays alongside him. Is there an argument to play Morimura against his old team. Personally I would play a very combative midfield knowing that up front we have strikers who should be able to convert chances.
Kanamori has his last game before leaving on international duty, and Hirai has 3 months to prove he isn’t a total flop. I don’t expect Sakata to play; he picked up an injury and hasn’t been in full training this week.
Team I’d play…
First choice defender Maeda is out suspended for this game, and should give Avispa some encouragemnet against what is otherwise one of J2’s strongest defences. They don’t have anyone near his level to bring in from their squad to fill the gap and we should be looking to attack through the middle early.
In attack they have experienced forward Hara who always seems to do well against us, but isn’t the main threat from this game. Kitakyushu have players who get the ball forward quickly and make late runs from between lines to midfield midfield like Kotegawa and Ikemoto.
This is why I would play both Park and Takeda in midfield to give us a strong base as I think our attack should be able to score if we can stop Kitakyushu making chances.
The other player which I would be telling Park and Takeda to get very close to in Kazuma, who likes to hit the box directly and shoot whenever close to the box. Everyone knows Kamiyama can play amazingly, or can make mistakes and I expect Kazuma to test him early in the game to see which Kamiyama has turned up.
Kitakyushu 0 – 1 Avispa
I don’t predict goals, but have to be optimistice that without one of their best defenders our attackers can get a goal while keeping things tight at the back. 0-0 wouldn’t surprise me.