As I have mentioned earlier, any players still not announced whether they are staying or going, or returning back from their loan are going to be staying at Avispa (or staying at Kobe in the case of Ishizu, I was surprised to see that some people were still wondering if he was coming back to Avispa).
With this is mind Kanamori, Lee Kwang Seon, Park Gun and Takumi Abe all had it confirmed that they would be at Avispa next season.
There is the chance that we might bring in a player more if someone gets close to the end of the off-season with no club, and we still only have 2 foreigners (Seon and Park) so may se a Brazilian turn up, but basically I think that our squad is close to being full.
With that in mind I think we can start to think about what the team will look like on the first game of the season, but before that…
Takashi Kanamori : Owes his career thus far to having a manager in Pusnik who threw him into the team at 18 years old and allowed him to have no fear and just do what came naturally to him. He took that chance with both hands and quickly became a player which the team needed because of his energetic running and ability to make things happen.
Unfortunately last season he slipped a little bit because of an affliction which seems to affect Japanese players a lot, he seemed to believe the hype and the banners calling him ‘Prince’ and stopped doing what had got him there in the first place.
He can still make it, but he needs to realise that the things which make him a good player is the running and energy, and that if he starts to think he is ‘above’ that then he isn’t really much better than half a dozen other young players in J2.
Things won’ always go smoothly for him, inconsistency is a key feature of young players, but the one thing which he can control is always making sure he tries his best and doesn’t stop running.
Park Gun : I think this season could be a tough one for him. Looking at the players recruited so far he is now quite a long way down the pecking order as a centre-back, especially if we play with 4 at the back.
Where he does fit into the squad is that we still don’t have a player who can play as a defensive midfielder and shield the back 4. His best game last season was early on against Kyoto at home when he was played in midfield, and to get games this season I think he needs to look at that as his main position and offer the manager something different to what he already has.
In this position his passing and running with the ball is actually quite good, but he needs to improve his dynamism and make sure he is in the right place at the right time. Watch Nemanja Matic and aim for a heat map which looks the same as his.
Formation choices 4231 narrow
The management team can now start to think about what the team will look like for the first game.
I suspect that we might see a back 4 as this is what Ihara has played in as a defender himself, and towards the end of last season it is what we looked better with . The problem being that there are now several central defenders in the squad who are going to be putting a lot of pressure onto being in the team.
There is also a goal-keeper who is fairly hopeless at crosses and will want to have bodie in the middle to offer him more protection for when he flaps at crosses, or parries shots back onto the penalty spot.
Personally I would insist on a back 4 as the main starting formation and play it narrow with the full-backs being asked to provide width and crosses into the box. We now have a target striker who should be able to hold the ball up, so can benefit from attacking midfielders cutting in and supporting behind him.
It also provides a fairly easy strategy. With so many new players we need to have a strategy which at the start at least is quite easy to work within, even if other teams can see through it fairly easily there needs to be a starting point to try and be difficult to beat and build upon in the first few weeks of the season.
Kamekawa………..Hamada………Kwang Seon……..Hokuto (c)
Subs: Nakamura, Mitsunaga, Tsutsumi, Park, Suzuki, Mishima, Sakai
The obvious decisions would be dropping Tsutsumi to the bench; I think the guy needs a kick up the backside and this might be what he needs. I think Hamada will be one of the better players this season.
Suzuki Jun is on the bench. Nothing he has done in the last 3 seasons suggests he should be in the team ahead of Nakahara (or Park).
Left-back is a problem, as is striker where we still only really have Nakahara. I’d like to see a big 21 year old Brazilian come in (not Ramazzotti).
Nobody (including himself) really knows where Jogo should play, but he has scored goals ghosting in from the right, but doesn’t like it when he is called a right-back. The irony being that he would end up playing in exactly the same position which he did last season (and scored goals from) then complained about, but would be happier because the commentators think that he is in a different position because that’s what it says on the graphic on TV.
There is a very basic tactic with this formation: aim balls at Nakahara’s head.
If this is done from wide positions on the break by either a winger or full-back then fire them fast into the box and hope he can head on target, if this is done when the opposition are sitting back then he should try to sheild the ball or head down for one of the 3 players behind him to run onto and into the box.
If teams sit really deep then Sueyoshi should be trying to get at least 1 shot from range in on goal each game. Suzuki Jun can also do this, but it seems Nakahara can’t.