Avispa 1 : 2 Kamatamare Sanuki
Avispa reached a new low for this season as we picked up our 3rd Home defeat in a row. It means we have got nothing from Tokyo Verdy (20th), Mito (16th), and Sanuki (21st). The only points we have got since Ishizu was allowed to leave and Sakata got injured was a freak result against Kitakyushu and a win against bottom team Toyama with a goal in the last 5 minutes.
Had we won these last 3 home games against teams in the bottom 5 places of the division we would be on 56 points, and 5th in the table; an amazing result for this season.
As it is we are stuck in mid-table with no realistic hope of achieving anything this season.
It begs the question of who to blame?
Do we blame the manager? Personally I don’t think so. Pusnik picks the players to go out on the pitch, but just looking at our bench shows that he doesn’t really have any options other than the players who played today. If you took away Kanamori and Mishima who probably still wouldn’t have played a game in their career had they had a Japanese manager then we’d have even fewer options.
Without Pusnik we wouldn’t be playing Sakai as a striker to get 7 goals so far this season. Most importantly we have started to look threatening from set pieces this season, something we haven’t done for 4 seasons before now. This is real work which comes from the training pitches.
Pusnik looks visibly frustrated by what is going on on the pitch, but realistically can only affect things to a small degree when the players step onto the pitch (this is something I’ve heard from several top flight managers, probably most notably Jose Mourinho).
I don’t believe it is correct to point the finger at the manager; and in fact think we’d be somewhere near Tokyo Verdy in the table without Pusnik.
How about the players? Rather than a report of the match this is what I thought of each player today:
Kamiyama : Rated as the best keeper in J2 for 2 seasons. If that really is true then the League has serious problems. Was diving in slow motion today and got caught in no-man’s land by a striker who has faced him in training enough times to know he comes off his line and makes himself big but leaves space behind.
Mishima : Actually had better crossing today, but just couldn’t reach diagonal balls sent his way. Pushed off the ball embarrassingly easy after 75 minutes. Needs to hit the weights if he wants a career in football.
Abe: Awful. He looks like he is relaxed to the stage of barely conscious sometimes. Quite good when you need a calm head to hold the ball in the last 10 minutes, but gave the ball away again and again in the first half, including right on the edge of the box to gift Sanuki their first goal.
Kwang : Looks a bit lost recently. I think he’s been told he really can’t pick up any more bookings, and looks like he’s about to cry at almost every refereeing decision.
Tsutsumi: He likes to pull his shorts up and show how big his quads are, but didn’t win a 50:50 ball all day today. Jumped out of tackles, playing like a man who doesn’t want to get injured before December.
Takeda: Good endeavor, but isn’t the man you need alongside a passer like Nakahara. Should be doing everything he can to stay at Avispa next season because he can never get a game at Yokohama.
Nakahara: The only player I’d want to keep for the team next season, and play him as Captain. Unfortunately his shooting is awful, he tried a chip today which looked like he’d watched De Maria score against Leicester and try it himself when he can’t even get a basic shot on target. He plays a neat passing game, but has to realise that there is no point passing to the people around him, they can’t pass it back.
Jogo: Anonymous. Total passenger in the game and really looked like he just doesn’t care. The supporters deserve more for the idoltry they send his way.
Sakai: Another player who should be begging to stay next season. I don’t know what his normal position is. He can’t control a ball, can’t pass, and can’t shoot. What he has been able to do is head the ball at corners and get his name known. A strnage name to mention but I think he should be watching tapes of a player like Paul Dickov, a small ‘target man’ striker who just upset defenders and played as a pressing striker.
Kanamori: Spoilt child. Not sure if he thinks he is a finished player but he did almost nothing today against a fairly awful Sanuki team. He should remember why he is anywhere right now. He used to run like a maniac, throw himself into tackles, and do whatever his manager told him to. The petulance he showed when coming off the pitch today was pathetic. He couldn’t get into an U-21 team which lost to Syria. Don’t believe the hype.
Hirai: Has come down from J1 and thought he would score goals, useless.
Nabeta: Is this who we brought to try to replace Ishizu? I’ve not seen him look like scoring yet, or even do anything at all of interest.
Morimura: Chews gum, runs around and falls over. Wants 10 seconds on the ball every time he gets the ball. Plays like someone has been given the controller of a computer game and keeps mixing up the pass, shoot and cross buttons.
So do I blame the players? Yes.
But more than that I blame the structure at the club which has allowed us to enter the 3rd season in a row with no players who can play in midfield.
The structure who bought a 36 year old central defender to the club who cannot run, jump, or organise the team.
The structure which allowed the biggest goal threat leave on loan to go and sit on the bench at Kobe when if we had scored a goal in the 1st half and beaten Verdy, Mito and Sanuki we would be in 5th place in the table right now.