Thee poor result against Mito last weekend will quickly be forgotten about if we can spring a surprise away win on Oita. Ordinarily I would say that an away win here would be great, but having set a target of 4 points from every 2 weeks (win at home / draw away) we are now on catch-up to reach the target I think will get us a play-off place.
Oita is a team which we have seemed to struggle against in recent years. I seem to remember a lot of draws in these games, and a lot of 0-0 draws in particular, with Oita occasionally scraping a 1-0 win. I can see much the same again in this game as a single goal could win the game for either team (when I last said that we shard 8 goals with Giravanz).
The game is likely to be decided by whether Avispa’s forward line can start to look a little more threatening and make Oita’s defence get out of shape and cause the wing-backs to sit deeper than they would like.
There are no suspension or new injury problems at the club from last week to this week and with the squad now so depleted there are few options available to Pusnik in terms of changing the team.
The performance last week wasn’t so bad, and had we scored in the first half would be looked back on as one of our better games, but the lack of a cuting edge up front or creativity in midfield is something which must be causing a headache for the manager.
Looking at the squad there is not much he can do. Squad players Chris, Nozaki, Tam are clearly not good enough to play for the first team. Taku has had a couple of good cameos as sub but isn’t going to really strike fear into the opposition. The only other option is Nabeta who has just come to the club and is the only change which I could see as possible.
The Avispa squad is really looking quite bare right now.
The only change which I could see is one which sees the players on the pitch moved around. This was done in the second half against Yokohama which we drew 0-0, and to desvestating effect against Giravanz where we scored 5 goals in the second half.
It relies almost entirely on the mentality of the players. With just 10 games left to play then a change in formation from wheat they are used to could do one of two things. It could damage their confidence and make them less sure on how they are playing, or it could give them a fresh start to try something new which if it works out against teams not expecting it could see us reach the play-offs.
Personally I would explain to the players that it’s a roll of the dice. Finishing 7th or 11th means nothing to the club; if we can find some way to sneak over the line with a high risk strategy it is worth it.
High Risk Formation I’d play…
This formation looks like a 4xx on paper, but in reality could switch very fluidly into the 3xx they have been playing since June as Park can remain in an anchor role between midfield and defence and drop back as soon as Abe or Mishima push forward.
Despite being one of the first teams to play with 3 at the back in J2 they are now sometimes switching to a 4141 formation with bodies in midfield. This heavy formation is one reason why I think we need to try and match them with tacklers Park and Takeda in midfield. When asked to cover too much ground Takeda has to rush tackles and picks up bookings.
They have Sueyoshi in midfield who hasn’t been an automatic starter, but I think is likely to play against his old club. Avispa know what he is good and bad at. If balls are play past him is is very slow to turn and track back, but if given time and space around the box he is able to hit shots into the top corner from open and set play.
They like to work the ball around the box with short passing sequences (which can be seen as over-playing like with Avispa at times) and have players who like to dribble with the ball. If we allow them time and space around the box then they are likely to make problems.
Their best player is defender Takagi who keeps the defence well organised, especially at set-pieces. In attack they have few real weapons.
Oita 0 : 0 Avispa
Ordinarily a really good away point, but I think that at this stage of the season we need wins (and for Oita to be getting beaten).