Monday, 5 December 2022

2022 season ref stats

Here we go with the first of my 2022 season round up posts and as always I'll start with the easiest one to do, the ref stats. I think I always say that these stats are kind of pointless as obviously every game is different and has different card worthy incidents. Therefore, if you believe that all refs apply the same rules, (and of course we always are talking about the consistency of refs in the J League, aren't we?), comparing how many cards they've given doesn't really make sense. I do think it gives us a bit of an idea though of how we should feel about various refs. I've added the 2021 totals at the bottom, not just to rub in how awful we were this year compared to last year, but also to show how many more cards we picked up in 2022. I guess this comes with the territory when you're struggling a bit. In 2021 we had four more league games as there were two extra teams in the league. We had four extra cup games too. That was because we were awful in the cups this year. Even with eight less games, we still picked up 17 more yellows and three more reds this year. It hasn't been much fun, has it? To focus a little on the refs, and ignoring those who we've only had a single game with as we should probably consider more than one game to make these kind of sweeping generalisations, our big ref buddies this year were Fukushima, Kimura, Sato and Shimizu from a points gained point of view. Conversely we should be moaning about how few points we've gained in Araki's and Matsuo's games. The most card happy refs to us were Araki and Ikeuchi. Shockingly Kasahara didn't send off any of our players this year (at least not directly, think he was involved in one VAR decision). In conclusion, Fukushima was the best and Araki was the worst (the second part of which I guess I suspected before compiling these stats, but I had some others in mind too). Let's hope Fukushima refs all of our games next year and then we'll come away with a perfect points haul and no cards all year. But let's not cheer his announcement like some did with Iemoto a few years ago turning him against us for the rest of his career. Yes, I'm still bitter.

G - Games refereed
W - Wins
D - Draws
L - Losses
Y - Yellow Cards
R - Red Cards
AVC - Average number of cards per game (yellow = 1, red = 3)
AVP - Average points for us per game

ARAKI
G 4 W 0 D 2 L 2 Y 7 R 1 
AVC 2.5 AVP 0.5

ENOMOTO
G 1 W 0 D 0 L 1 Y 0 R 0
AVC 0 AVP 0

FUKUSHIMA
G 2 W 2 D 0 L 0 Y 0 R 0
AVC 0 AVP 3

IIDA
G 3 W 2 D 0 L 1 Y 2 R 0
AVC 0.66 AVP 2

IKEUCHI
G 2 W 1 D 0 L 1 Y 7 R 0
AVC 3.5 AVP 1.5

KASAHARA
G 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 Y 0 R 0
AVC 0 AVP 3

KAWAMATA
G 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 Y 0 R 0
AVC 0 AVP3

KIMURA
G 2 W 2 D 0 L 0 Y 3 R 0
AVC 1.5 AVP 3

KOYA
G 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 Y 1 R 0
AVC 1 AVP3

MATSUO
G 2 W 0 D 1 L 1 Y 1 R 0
AVC 0.5 AVP 0.5

MIKURIYA
G 1 W 0 D 1 L 0 Y 2 R 0
AVC 2 AVP 1

NAKAMURA
G 2 W 1 D 0 L 1 Y 0 R 0
AVC 0 AVP1.5

NISHIMURA
G 1 W 0 D 1 L 0 Y 1 R 0
AVC 1 AVP 1

OKABE
G 3 W 1 D 1 L 1 Y 3 R 1
AVC 2 AVP 1.33

SATO
G 3 W 3 D 0 L 0 Y 6 R 0
AVC 2 AVP 3

SHIMIZU
G 2 W 2 D 0 L 0 Y 1 R 0
AVC 0.5 AVP 3

TANIMOTO
G 2 W 1 D 0 L 1 Y 2 R 0
AVC 1 AVP1.5

UEDA
G 2 W 1 D 1 L 0 Y 1 R 0
AVC 0.5 AVP 2

YAMAMOTO
G 3 W 2 D 1 L 0 Y 1 R 1
AVC 1.33 AVP 2.33 


TOTALS
G 38 W 21 D 8 L 9 Y 38 R 3
AVC 1.23 AVP 1.86


*2021 TOTALS FOR YOUR REFERENCE*
G 46 W 31 D 13 L 2 Y 21 R 0
AVC 0.45 AVP 2.3

Sunday, 4 December 2022

2022 Season survey questions


Here is the 6th annual Frontale Rabbit Blog survey. Totally cut and pasted from last year's one. Maybe the answers will be a bit depressing this year though... If you have any questions you think I should add, please let me know and I'll put them in. Please reply any way you want. Leave a comment on the post, send me an email to frontalefan(at)gmail(dot)com, tweet them, Instagram message me…. any way you can think of really. I'll follow up collating the answers when I've got some responses. And in the interest of getting as many replies as possible, it's in Japanese too. Thanks!

 
Frontale Rabbitブログの年末恒例アンケートも5年目になりました。質問は昨年とほぼ同じですが、これ以外にも聞いたらおもしろいと思う質問があったらお知らせください。返答方法は自由 - ブログコメント欄、メール(frontalefan(at)gmail(dot)com)、ツイート、Instagramのメッセージなど。返答が集まったら結果を報告します!

 1. Game of season
今シーズン1番良かった試合

2. Player of the season
今シーズン1番良かった選手

3. Goal of the season
今シーズン1番のゴール

4. Disappointment of the season
今シーズン1番がっかりしたこと

5. Villain of the season (anyone, from any team or an official or...)
今シーズンの悪者(他のチームの選手でも審判でも誰でも)

6. Best away trip (if you've done one)
今シーズン1番のアウェイ遠征(もし行った場合)

7. Best stadium in the J League
Jリーグで一番好きなスタジアムは?

8. Opposition J1 team you like the most
フロンターレ以外でJ1で1番好きなチーム

9. Opposition J1 team you like the least
J1で嫌いなチームを1つ選ぶなら

10. Team you're pleased to see come up
J1に昇格してうれしいチームを1つ選ぶなら

11. Best thing about the J League
Jリーグで1番良いこと

12. Worst thing about the J League
Jリーグで1番嫌なこと

13. Trophy you would like to win the most next year
来シーズン1番欲しいタイトル

14. What’s your view of Oniki?
鬼木監督についてどう思いますか?

15. If you could have any J League player sign for Frontale, who would it be?
Jリーグの選手でフロンターレに欲しい選手は?

16. Which former Frontale player would you most like to see us re-sign?
元フロンターレの選手で、1番フロンターレに戻ってきてほしいのは誰ですか?

17. What’s your prediction for next season?
来年の予想

18. How do you feel about us having lots of players leaving for Europe?
選手がヨーロッパのチームに行くことについてどう思いますか?

19. How was VAR for you?
VARについてどう思いましたか?

20. Any other comments
その他コメント

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Vs FC Tokyo (away) 5/11/22 J League match 34

FC Tokyo 2 - 3 Kawasaki Frontale

After months of saying the title is gone I can now confirm that the title has officially gone. It’s something of a miracle that it has taken so long for it to become an undeniable fact. We’ve dawdled and stumbled all year, but somehow have eked out enough results to stay in contention. When you consider some of the results we’ve got against teams near and at the bottom, it’s quite frustrating to have ended up only two points behind at the end of the season. But if we had won the league the exhilaration would have mainly come from the fact that we would not deserved it at all. As this post is supposed to be about the final game of the season, I’ll save my ‘high quality analysis’ as to where things went wrong for my season round-up posts. And as it’s no fun to think about our neighbours winning the league, let’s get this out of the way quickly and then not think about football for a while. Well apart from that Thai tour. But friendlies aren’t really that important, are they?


No real surprises in the starting line-up. Jesiel started instead of Kurumaya, presumably being completely healed after his injury and being on the bench last week. Aside from that one change, it was the same team who’d squeaked past Vissel last weekend. So again we had Tachibanada and Joao Schmidt both playing. See last week’s post and probably loads of previous ones to find out why I don’t think that’s a good thing. But it is Oniki who is in charge, so the best players/his favourite players will be squeezed into the same formation wherever he can fit them, rather than playing people in their favoured positions. It’s difficult to comment on whether it worked in this game or not, as the game as a normal contest was over after 29 minutes when Sung-Ryong got sent off. We were right behind it and to me it looked like he hadn’t even made contact and instead had kicked the ground. Definitely Adailton was looking for the foul as he was heading away from the goal. But I’m not going to say it wasn’t a red. It got referred to VAR so I’m sure they closely checked it. Don’t think the replay from the one angle on DAZN is particularly conclusive either way though if you go in with a ‘no contact’ mindset. I’m sure I’d be saying it was a definite if it was our attacker though. As I said, the red pretty much killed the game for us as an attacking force, except for giving the ball to Marcinho and getting him to run at the FC Tokyo defence and get fouled (no free kicks though, wink emoji here). Astonishingly though we scored three times. Wakizaka’s first was a lovely strike and went in whilst it was still 11 vs 11. (Or should I say 12 vs 11 as it would be stupid of me to not bore on about the ref Yamamoto being totally biased against us as is my wont. Anyway, more on him later). Our other two goals were kind of gifted to us. Morishige shepherding the ball out of play and then thinking he was much too skillful to do that and losing the ball to Tachibanada was a moment of real joy. Marcinho scuffing the finish and it looping over Slowik was either absolute genius or another big slice of fortune. The third was even better, FC Tokyo’s striker knee-ing the ball into his own net under no pressure at all. Lovely! Without these two uplifting moments in a game where we only had four shots because we spent most of it desperately defending it would have been a long afternoon and would have made useless Vissel Kobe’s failure to hand us the title extremely annoying. As it was, we had something to hang some slight happiness on to and got a little lift at the end of what has been a thoroughly underwhelming season bookended by two flukey wins against FC Tokyo. Joy!


A few words on FC Tokyo. I didn’t notice during the game, but looking at highlights I was dazzled by Adailton’s perfect and brilliant teeth. Perhaps this explains the weird face he pulls when he celebrates goals. If you’ve spent decent money at the dentist, you want to show them off with a gurn. Sadly we saw this celebration twice. Mercifully it wasn’t more than twice. Sure, they had an extra player, but they caused us a lot of problems, and if it wasn’t for that apparent innate FC Tokyo desire to shoot themselves in the foot, they probably would have had a better season. I suspect once Puig has got rid of some of the dead wood at the end of the season they’ll be in a position to make a much sterner challenge next year. He seems like a nice guy too, coming over to commiserate with us over our total title failure. At least that’s what I heard. I didn’t hang around after we’d said goodbye and kind of well done to our players at the end of the game. Tsukagawa seems like a changed man. He was at the heart of a lot of what FC Tokyo did in this game. Just shows what happens when you give a player a chance I guess. I think lots of players sink and disappear with us because they never get more than a minute or two played well out of position. But this is supposed to be the FC Tokyo section so I’ll save that talk for a later post. Tsukagawa also made the highlights reel for some extremely high and wide blasts into the stands. It’s a good thing he wasn’t on the goal scoring form that he was against YFM that saved us losing another one of our title race nine lives when we lost to Shonan. Slowik is still not good at all with the ball at his feet. We probably would have made more use of that if we hadn’t played 2/3 of the game with 10 men. The queues were horrible at this game. When looking at the make up of the crowd, which seemed to be about at least one third Frontale fans, you’ve got to imagine that they aren’t used to getting such crowds at Ajista. I met up with the FC Tokyo Kai Guys and had a nice chat in the line for the official FC Tokyo beer, which seemed to be being served at about one customer every couple of minutes, (I dunno, perhaps they were hand-squeezing the beer direct from the beer tree, rather than pouring it in the normal way so it took a bit longer?), and then had to give up on both the beer and the chat to join another really long and slow moving queue to get into the stadium before kick off. Perhaps the fact that our seats were all reserved meant that Frontale fans were all turning up at the same time to enter. But I know that other fans who were entering about an hour before had the same issues too. Oh and of course no post about a Tamagawa Classico in Chofu would be complete without the usual laughing at ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which was being blasted through the speakers in order to make up for the fact that no-one was singing it. Perhaps they only know the words to the chorus. Or perhaps it all feels a bit weird to them. I guess the Kai Guys don’t really want to sing it considering the team it is associated with in England and the teams they support in England. I think we were a bit rude to start singing our song whilst it was playing, but it is a derby and I think it was quite funny to drown their prerecorded song out.

Finally, let’s talk about Yamamoto the ref. My game notes are mainly his name and ‘absolute…’, ’total…’, 'unbelievable...' or 'absolute total unbelievable...' followed by four letter expletives. I’ve addressed the red card above so don’t think I’m moaning about that. He gave almost nothing else though. He definitely didn’t give the two fouls that lead directly to the two FC Tokyo goals. He also was quite happy to see us play for as long as possible with nine men when Taniguchi was off the field after treatment and was made to run round to the touchline at centre of the pitch, desperately trying to get back on, while the ref, with the action on the other side of the pitch did his best to not notice him. I had a bad feeling about Yamamoto before the game, which is weird as looking back on our games he’s officiated this year, I didn’t have much to moan about. He’s definitely made my shit list now though. Of course, if we’d won the league, I probably wouldn’t be moaning about the ref so much. But imagine how much I’d be moaning if we had lost this game as well as the title! Moaning at refs is a great way to let off steam, and to also cover up for the inadequacies of your own team’s play. It’s always good if you can blame someone else for your deficiencies. But in this case, well, he was just useless.


So that’s it. Next up, no-one. Ah, actually Thailand. Friendlies aside, the season is over and it’s barely November. We’ve come up short in the league whilst also failing miserably in every other competition we’ve played in this year. So not exactly a vintage year for us. I think I made 2019 comparisons at the start of the season and they have come all too true. Although this year, we came kind of close to winning the league. But could we truly have said we deserved it? I don’t think so. I also don’t think YFM did either though, so maybe we should just cancel this year. What do you reckon? I guess the next few days and weeks will be full of talk about who is leaving and who is staying. Perhaps I’m not just talking about players. I think if we’d won the league perhaps Oniki would have gone. But as we’ve come up short, maybe he’ll be here again next year. And that is apparently what the early rumours are saying. There’s a lot to do before we start next season. Once again, we’ve barely rotated all year and have absolutely no idea when it comes to having a plan B. We still can’t break down teams who just want to defend. Aside from Marcinho and penalties our attack seems to have been totally blunted. And who would have thought that not having any defenders and having one of our best players start the season with a long term injury without getting any cover in would have meant that our defence has got worse too? Anyway, I’m sure we’ll all have a nice break and will come back next year with the usual bordering on deluded optimism and niceness that we start every year with. Good luck to Taniguchi and Yamane at the World Cup (perhaps you might actually notice Yamane in a game. I don’t think I’ve spotted him in a Frontale game for a while. Wink wink, nudge nudge, eh?), and good luck to the rest of us in forgetting this year’s failure on all fronts as quickly as possible!

Team 
 
GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong (Red card 29')
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs
GK 27. TANNO Kenta (on for NOBORIZATO 33')
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for WAKIZAKA 46')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 59')
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki
MF 19. TONO Daiya
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for KOBAYASHI 59')
MF 31. YAMAMURA Kazuya (on for MARCINHO 80')
 
My Frontale Man Of The Match
 
Backs against the wall stuff and a big old mess of players playing in weird shapes due to the red card means it's a bit difficult to judge people fairly. But one player really stood out for interception after interception and tackle after tackle...

JESIEL - a bit of shame for him to have been associated with such a lacklustre season considering he was injured for so long. Was immense in this game and we would have finished the season on an even bigger downer if it hadn't been for him.
 
Goals
 
WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 19' 0-1
ADAILTON (FC Tokyo) 47' 1-1
MARCINHO (Frontale) 61' 1-2
ADAILTON (FC Tokyo) 74' 2-2
OWN GOAL (FC Tokyo) 75' 2-3
 

Highlights

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Vs Vissel Kobe (home) 29/10/22 J League match 33

Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 1 Vissel Kobe

I know that recently I’ve started every blog post with a disclaimer that I don’t have much time to write it and therefore will have to bash it out quickly. This time I might reach new heights of bashing it out quickly. I’m playing my first concert for three years next week and haven’t practiced anywhere near enough. In order to avoid proper in person embarrassment I’m going to risk online embarrassment by neglecting this post and doing even less ‘research’ than usual. This wasn’t a great performance from us but we did enough to tale the points. I do feel that this is all too little too late though and that two losses against Shonan, two draws against Jubilo and a few other dodgy games will cost us dearly. YFM sadly didn’t continue their awful form and instead gave Urawa a spanking. Now we just have to hope that Vissel Kobe’s desire to not have the trophy given out on their home ground is greater than FC Tokyo’s desire to not have a bit of card given out at their home ground. We need a Vissel win. A draw in that game will necessitate quite a big victory for us in our game. When I say quite big I think we’re talking about all time record big. So, fingers crossed Vissel can do the business. And that we also can. I’m not that confident about either of these things actually happening to be honest. A few quick words about the game before I throw out some facetious comments about the opposition. We were pretty shot shy again. And Tachibanada and Joao Schmidt playing together in the midfield once again stifled our attacking. At least that’s they way I see it. One or the other works best as far as I’m concerned. But what do I know? I was a bit confused why we were putting so many crosses into the box when our attackers aren’t that tall and their defenders were. Plenty of good opportunities were wasted that way. But you know, we won, so best not moan too much.


On to the opposition baiting. Kobe lined up in their pre-match training wear looking like they’d planned a team outing after the game to watch ‘This Is England’ and were going to go in skinhead fancy dress. Osaki complemented this with his ‘sax player in the backing band of an early 80’s white boy soul singer’ haircut. Osako is clearly looking to force his way back into the national team having perhaps heard that Moriyasu is on the lookout for the kind of player who can constantly foul from behind and whinge a lot. Vissel at the end of the 2022 season seem like a team with good footballing brains but without the footballing bodies to pull off their ideas. I guess the body deteriorates before the mind does. Certainly my mind is currently doing its best to catch up with my body. Or perhaps readers might think that both are equally degraded. It seems a little more difficult to poke fun and laugh at Vissel now that  they are trying to assemble the Japan national team of three or four years ago rather than the Barcelona team of about double that time ago. I’ve heard people saying that maybe Iniesta will perhaps be bowing out at the end of the year. Not sure if this is in any way true, but if he is, it seems only right that they go out on a big win, doesn’t it? Good luck to Vissel. We’re all supporting you!

And with this all out of the way mercifully quickly, let’s look ahead to next week at the Ajinomoto Stadium. As I’ve said, we’ve got to win. That’s it really. I’m pleased that it’s a singing game, but I suspect that our singing at the end of the game will be more of the ‘well done, you tried your best but results elsewhere mean that your efforts were in vain’ style than unbridled joy at a miracle coming true. Then after that I can get on with some end of season posts and the usual survey. Lots to look forward to, eh

 
Team 
 
GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT (Yellow card 44')
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 4. JESIEL (on for NOBORIZATO 71')
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 62')
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki
MF 18. CHANATHIP
MF 19. TONO Daiya (on for MARCINHO 87')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for WAKIZAKA 71')
 
Goals
 
MARCINHO (Frontale) 20' 1-0
KOBAYASHI (Vissel) 51' 1-1
IENAGA (Frontale) PEN 84' 2-1

Highlights

Friday, 14 October 2022

Vs Kyoto Sanga (home) 12/10/22 J League match 25


Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 1 Kyoto Sanga 

Whoever wins the league this year, one thing is for sure. The winner won’t have won due to them having played the best the most times, but more having for choked a bit less than their rivals on less occasions. Once again this was another match day for us where the more significant action was happening in a different stadium. And actually in the Nissan stadium again. I’ve never particularly been a fan of that stadium but I’m starting to quite enjoy the results that are happening there recently. And a big thank you to Jubilo Iwata. I guess they felt they owed us something as we’d given them a couple of points in two absolutely awful games this year. Looking back, maybe we should have agreed to win one each and then we’d only be one point behind YFM instead of two. All of this is a lot of fun to talk about but we’ve probably got to admit that although lightning usually doesn’t strike twice, it strikes three or four times even less often. Jubilo and Gamba have done us massive favours but now we need Urawa and Vissel to do the same. And we’re playing Vissel next so somehow we need them to be terrible in the next game and then great in the last one. And we have FC Tokyo in the final game who smashed Cerezo 4-0 in their midweek game. That’s Cerezo, a team who we have drawn three times with and lost once to this year. It’s been a weird year and although our season by all rights should have been finished at least a few matches ago, it just keeps limping on. It’s the hope that kills you, I guess. And now we have another big old break till our next game. With my optimist hat on, (a hat I rarely wear), this long break is perfect for Kevin Muscats and YFM to get good and panicky and dwell deeply on their last two defeats, their confidence crumbling, resulting in then finishing the season with four consecutive losses. With more realistic headwear in place, it will probably just give them an opportunity to draw a line under those defeats and get back into some kind of shape to take the title. I’ve been saying for months that the title was gone so surely you weren’t going to expect me to change my mind now, were you? I will say though, the last two matches have been a lot of fun, haven’t they?
 

Minimal information in this section about the match. The usual quality you’d expect from me. Tachibanada was back and Joao Schmidt was absent due to a yellow card ban, so once again we were spared the double defensive midfielder thing. I hope Oniki has noticed that we’ve won the games where we haven’t played both of them together. It’s a shame as they both play really well in the defensive midfield role. This doesn’t mean that we need to play both of them though. During his red card break it seems that Tachibanada has been talking with Damiao, as before he got his goal in this game, I couldn’t ever have imagined him scoring with an overhead. I may be making the finish sound a bit more dramatic than it actually was, but it was great to see him come back from his disappointment with a goal. Taniguchi saw Yamamura score last weekend and clearly thought he’d like to get in the action too. And it was a lovely finish from Marcinho, who seemed to direct the ball home using his privates. I’m sure no-one cares how they go in at this stage though. We probably could have had more as we were well on top in the first half. At the same time though, even though we won by two goals, the end wasn’t exactly comfortable and Kyoto hit the woodwork a couple of times. They looked terrible in the first half for the most part and I was quite shocked how a few subs really turned things round for them. I thought they had some really good ideas from set pieces, but at the same time didn’t have the players to pull them off. Delighted about that to be honest. Cho has a reputation for being a manager that can get his team out of the relegation scrap but I’m not sure he’ll be able to do it on this occasion if they start their remaining games the way they started this one. There was a big flag with his face on it in the Kyoto end which for some unknown reason seemed to have the word ‘HUNT’ written under it. No idea about that. They also had plenty of those flags that the more racist groups of fans love so much and which go down very badly in the ACL. We did alright I think, but perhaps are running mainly on confidence and form right now. We rode our luck on quite a few occasions, but got away with it. I don’t have anyone to moan about in this game, but I will say that Marcinho and Ienaga have every right to be feeling totally knackered and maybe need a rest. Marcinho kept running for the whole game but like against Shimizu when he had a late chance to put the ball in an empty net from the halfway line, he just seemed to be lacking a bit of power. And Ienaga really slowed down as the game progressed, doing his usual drifting thing but, drifting around the pitch at half speed. Recently they have been undroppable and quite rightly so. But this break has come at exactly the right time. I probably would have subbed Ienaga if I were the manager, but as I’ve said many times, if I were the manager, we’d be in big trouble. And I suspect that Oniki and Ienaga have their eyes on the top goal scorer chart. He couldn’t add to his tally on this occasion though but hopefully he can before the season ends. Marcinho is only one goal behind too though. A quick word on Tanno, who has hardly had any opportunities in his time with is. He made an absolutely amazing save in this game, but once again was denied a clean sheet. I don’t think this was his fault, but he just seems to be unlucky that when he comes in, we gift the opposition some nice and easy chances. Or perhaps the same thing happens to Sung-Ryong but he manages to stop them. Anyway, well done to Tanno. I’m not worried that his kicking isn’t as good. If I know that, I’m sure the team does and probably shouldn’t be putting him in quite so many dubious situations. But yeah, nice work, and I hope you like your new song.

 
So, yeah, this is all a bit light. But I spent a lot of time at this game checking Flashscore and hoping that YFM were still drawing, and then hoping they were still losing. We didn’t set the world on fire but we did the job, which is more than can be said in plenty of games this year. So, very satisfying. Two games to go and they are Vissel at home and Chofu away. It’s a bit of a shame that we have to wait a few weeks till we can play again but as I said, it should give some players some time to rest a bit. Kobe are usually tricky for us, but we play better against them at home so there’s that to hang on to. And FC Tokyo have a slight shot at the ACL and would no doubt be delighted to deny us if it did come done to the final day of the season. But it’s not in our hands anyway so there’s no point talking about this kind of thing. Keep those fingers crossed and I have no shame in loudly proclaiming that I’m really supporting Urawa in their next match, which will be happening at the same time as ours, so if all goes well, expect me to not be paying much attention for our next game either.
 
Team 
 
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 31. YAMAMURA Kazuya
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 18. CHANATHIP
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs
GK 21. ANDO Shunsuke
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for NOBORIZATO 79')
DF 15. SASAKI Asahi
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki (on for WAKIZAKA 79')
MF 19. TONO Daiya (on for CHANATHIP 62')
FW 24. MIYAGI Ten (on for MARCINHO 79')
FW 26. EINAGA Takatora
 
My Frontale Man Of The Match
 
A decent performance from plenty of people so it’s a difficult choice. Chanathip was back and had a good game with a great cross for the first goal. Was nice to see Tachibanada back in a more comfortable position and getting a goal but I think I’ll give it jointly to…

TANUGUCHI Shogo, YAMAMURA Kazuya and TANNO Kenta - bit weird to give it to the two centre backs and the goalie as we did concede, (I haven’t watched the replay so might be dropping a clanger here), but I thought all three of them did their bit when it came to keeping us reasonably solid at the back. And loving those Yamamura runs forward which seem to be rubbing off on Taniguchi too now.
 
Goals
 
TANIGUCHI (Frontale) 9' 1-0
TACHIBANADA (Frontale) 22' 2-0
MARCINHO (Frontale) 61' 3-0
PAULINHO (Kyoto) 70' 3-1

Highlights 
 

Monday, 10 October 2022

Vs Shimizu S Pulse (home) 8/10/22 J League match 32


Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 2 Shimizu S Pulse

So we live to fight another day! Possibly YFM want to make me look as stupid as possible as I’ve been saying we have no chance of winning the title for months now. Usually when they slip up, we do the same and fail to take advantage. And then of course there are those days and those games where they win 4-0 (away at Nagoya where we scraped a 1-1) and we either draw or lose. So now we sit here five points behind with three games to go. Of course there’s nothing more I’d like than for them to totally choke and for us to win the league. But that would require us winning our last three games, (at home against Kyoto and Vissel and away to FC Tokyo), and them slipping up twice in their last three games (at home to Jubilo and Urawa and then away at Vissel). So it’s not going to happen. And then I will be able to moan again about our horrendous results in ‘easier’ games that has totally messed us up this year. But we did win this game and it was fun. Two things that can’t be said about any of our last three games. The usual pre-game display of the league table on the big screen was met with the absolute minimum smattering of light applause, perhaps done more from muscle memory rather than actually as a reaction to what was being shown on the screen which didn’t look at all good. Perhaps the clapping might be a bit stronger on Wednesday but it’s still not really very nice viewing. Oniki’s hand was forced when it came to the starting line up as Jesiel, Sung-Ryong and Kurumaya were injured and Tachibanada was banned after his red card against Sapporo. So we were finally rid of the double defensive midfield thing, (or at least two defensive midfielders being played together anyway), which worked against YFM (just about) and has been more certain to happen recently that the inevitability of all of our eventual deaths. In the same way that we all must meet our maker one day, Oniki’s tactics too expire. But much like human beings in ghost stories or the bible but not in real life, I suspect that there will be a resurrection of the Tachibana Joao Schmidt midfield double, probably in the game after next. (Joao Schmidt is banned for the game on Wednesday). I think I always say this but I’m really busy right now and have a hell of a lot of things I need to do before the end of the month, so please excuse this post for lack of detail. And I should probably apologise to both readers and myself for the almost certain excessive length of this post. (Reading back, it doesn’t actually seem that long!) So let’s get on with it.


This was something of a weird game (and that’s not even mentioning the fact that Kozuka was back on the bench and joined there by Einaga! (Guess that really shows how short of numbers we were. I’m in favour of both of those things, but I’m pretty sure Oniki isn’t). Singing was back at Todoroki but it was a weird kind of singing. Given that we get pretty close to filling our stadium most weeks (well about 4/5 full anyway), we were never going to go for the massive revenue reduction that having stadium wide singing involves, (you need spaces between each spectator so obviously can’t get as many people in). There’s also the issue of us having a lot of season ticket holders in reserved seats. Well, we did have anyway, as a short while ago those reserved seats were canceled leading to the reintroduction of the dreaded early morning get your spot in the queue system. Thankfully our seats are on the upper tier and therefore are still reserved allowing us to stroll up as close to kick off as we want, safe in the knowledge that we will be able to get a decent spot. For some reason we still go about an hour before. Not 100% sure why, but I guess spending time at the stadium with nothing to do is an addiction it is difficult to kick. But reserved seats on the upper tier meant no singing for us, and instead we had to just clap along to the singing coming from the lower tier. And what a lot of singing there was! It sounded great to be honest and I wish I could have joined in. But I have done my fair share of singing recently at away games, so it wasn’t quite as much of a wrench as it could have been. The return of sining also brought about something I was calling for in a previous post, a song for Tanno! And as Kengo was in attendance we got a chance to sing his song too and then rolled out a few more for other players who have left without us having one final sing song for them. I think it was the first time we have sung Kozuka’s song too as he’s been invisible for a while now. It’s good that it was Shimizu visiting for a singing game as their drumming and singing is always great. To be honest though, I didn’t hear that much of it in this game. I guess I’m at the other end of the stadium though and I suppose that the limited numbers visually don’t look that different but do in fact sound quite different. The ref for this game was Shimizu so I was anticipating writing that he was biased and should not be allowed to referee his own team (funny observation, eh?), but I don’t recall him being that bad! Certainly he was a bit slow cracking down on some unbelievable time wasting for the 20 minutes Shimizu were ahead. But to be fair to him, he was equally lax when we were time wasting when we were ahead at the end of the game. 


A few words about the game itself. I think Shimizu did a pretty good job in the first half and the game was quite end to end, with a bit of a lack of quality when it came to shooting from both teams. Checking the stats I was quite shocked to see that we dominated them in the first half as it certainly didn’t feel that way. We did seem to be playing some more attacking stuff though, even if we couldn’t quite get through the Shimizu defence. One thing that was abundantly clear was that every dangerous attack for Shimizu came from them going down Yamane’s side. He was usually somewhere else though, which I guess is the reason for them focusing on that side. Yamane is a bit of an enigma for me. Sometimes he’s great, but more often than not recently he really looks like he doesn’t give a shit, particularly when it comes to anything he is supposed to do in his own half. This match was the Halloween game and we were treated to a special team line up video mentioning what the players were scared of. Taniguchi saying ‘DOGSO’ got the biggest laugh but Yamane’s ‘crows’ really should have said ‘defending’. But I suppose he’s not scared of defending, he just has no interest in doing it. I think he was at least partly to blame for both of the Shimizu goals (although I think one of them looked like it came from a foul on one of our players that wasn’t given, at least to me anyway). I haven’t watched them back as the second one in particular felt like a horror show at the time and I don’t want to be reminded of it. But the feeling as it happened was that there was acres of space where Yamane should have been and the man himself was trotting around in the centre circle waiting for someone to give him the ball. I guess this is what can happen when you have a player who is undroppable. Our utter lack of cover in that position, coupled with Oniki’s reluctance to play anyone there unless he really really has to means that Yamane can basically do what he wants. And as he’s playing so much, I guess he’s tired, and if you like scoring goals more than you like defending, I guess you’re going to scrimp when it comes to the latter. It was great to see Tono, Kobayashi and Yamamura score in this game. Of course I like it when any of our players scores, but those three scoring was extra nice. And it was also nice to see us attempting to repeat our game against Sapporo but actually managing to stop conceding after taking the lead for the second time. In order to once again show you how much I know about football, I was castigating Oniki for canceling the triple substitution he had ready to make when we scored our second. My feeling was that we’d scored from a corner but had not been creating much anyway, so just go ahead with the subs. But of course I was wrong as the lift the equaliser gave us propelled us on to score again two minutes later. So yeah, nice work Oniki, and Neil is stupid. At times the game felt like it was going to boil over, particularly when we got back into the game. There were some fruity tackles going in and the Shimizu fans were already annoyed about Taniguchi bumping in to Gonda at the end of the first half and him not returning after half time. I think they might have been clutching at straws though as there clearly wasn’t anything in it. Gonda being withdrawn meant that we once again got to see Okubo, who I have in the past said looks like an estate agent playing at being a footballer. I don’t know if they comparison translates from UK estate agents to Japanese ones, but it really works for me. With this in mind, and with the fact that the J Talk Podcast likes to translate Sagan Tosu’s home ground to ‘The Real Estate Agent In Front Of The Station’ stadium, I’d like Okubo to be referred to hereafter as ‘The Real Estate Agent In Front Of The Goal’. I think it kind of works… It’s weird that Shimizu have two former FC Tokyo keepers. It’s also weird that Okubo aped his teammate and also dropped to the floor following the lightest of contacts, as (I think) Marcinho light brushed the sticky out bit of his slicked back mullet. To be fair to him, he did get up quite quickly and I’m just using this as a way to say rude things about his haircut. Feel free to hit back at me similarly. That’s probably about it, isn’t it? Maybe I could mention that Kobayashi still doesn’t quite seem to be back and banging. He had his usual first few dodgy shots in this game but unlike a few years ago, didn’t follow it up with some top skills and goals. Well, he did score a goal and it wasn’t the easiest of finishes, but it was basically having to angle the ball into an unguarded net. But he put it in, so well done to him. I think he’s a confidence player and just needs to get some minutes and get himself back into a bit of form. It’s a shame that we only have three games left really, isn’t it?

Next up, Kyoto Sanga at home on Wednesday. The away game was one of our most ridiculous performances of the season and a real gift for both Kyoto and YFM. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a bit better in the return fixture. It would be difficult to do any worse to be honest. As I mentioned above, we’ll be spared the double defensive midfield thing for this game so maybe we’ll be attacking a bit more than we have recently. Who knows, it might even be fun! Probably not though. I’ll be keeping an eye on the YFM Jubilo game whilst we’re playing but I can’t really see lightning striking twice in a week. Jubilo probably do need to win to stay up though so hopefully that will motivate them. And then after that we have a seventeen day break before the following game. I know the schedule this season has been totally messed up by moving the World Cup to the end of the year, but we do seem to have been playing an insane amount of matches back to back and then having massive breaks. Perhaps it will be better next year, but I think I heard that everyone including ACL teams will be playing the Levain group games next year, so that probably just means even more fixture congestion and more trouble for people trying to write blog posts between matches. Good luck to us all! I want to say fingers crossed we keep on winning, and I will, but at the same time, double fingers crossed YFM keep on losing. Nice to end on some positivity!

Team 
 
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 31. YAMAMURA Kazuya
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT (Yellow card 54')
MF 19. TONO Daiya
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs
GK 21. ANDO Shunsuke
DF 15. SASAKI Asahi (on for NOBORIZATO 90+1')
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki (on for CHINEN 90+1')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for TONO 60')
FW 24. MIYAGI Ten (on for KOBAYASHI 87')
FW 26. EINAGA Takatora
 

My Frontale Man Of The Match

I think that aside from the shocking goals we conceded we generally did alright in this game, but at the same time, no-one in particular stood out, so maybe I’ll skip it again, but this time not for the usual negative reasons.

Goals
 
TONO (Frontale) 28' 1-0
SHIRASAKI (Shimizu) 49' 1-1
CARLINHOS (Shimizu) 57' 1-2
YAMAMURA (Frontale) 76' 2-2
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 78' 3-2

Highlights

Wednesday, 5 October 2022

Vs Consadole Sapporo (away) 1/10/22 J League match 31

Consadole Sapporo 4 - 3 Kawasaki Frontale

I’m sorry this post is a bit late, but… what did you expect? I guess we can be pleased that our 2022 season finally and conclusively came off the rails at a nice away game rather than with us shitting the bed at home. The great advantage of getting a terrible result away from home is that you can at least draw some consolation from the fact that you get a nice day out. Well, perhaps that doesn’t apply to Kashima actually where aside from anything that happens in the game, the best you can hope for is managing to travel the 3km from the stadium car park to the Kashimjingu station in less than an hour or making it onto the expressway in under two hours. Sapporo though is a bounty so great that even probably throwing away the championship, (for about the fourth time this year if I’m being realistic, but notably the first time when YFM actually took advantage of our hopelessness), only puts a slight dent in a nice weekend. This was such a weird game that after riding an emotional rollercoaster for the first ten insane incidents and weird decisions, any remaining setbacks could only be greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and an acceptance of the inevitability of it all. A draw wouldn’t have been any good anyway so I guess we might as well lose in a totally crazy game. Maybe it was even fun to watch a game where we didn’t limp to a 1-1 draw. A couple of weeks ago we toiled away at Nagoya and then when YFM went there whilst we were self destructing in Sapporo they cruised to a 4-0 win. As much as I would like to claim that YFM are shit and don’t deserve to win the league, it’s clear that we’re infinitely shitter and absolutely 100% don’t deserve to even be close to winning it. Right from the start of this season when we somewhat undeservedly squeaked a win against FC Tokyo in the opening game it’s hard to recall moments when we’ve actually played even slightly well. The last two years were all about excitement and attacking and goals and success! This year has been about ridiculous and undeserved good luck, mediocrity at best, blunt attacking and dull and ineffective decision making when it comes to line-ups and performances. About half way through the season when I was teetering on the edge of insanity due to the hopeless stuff that I thought Oniki was serving up I got plenty of stick from people on Twitter. Whether they now agree with what I said about perhaps Oniki not being up to the job, I don’t know. Now that I’m calm I’m not going to make any comments like that. I would say though that unless we change things seriously in the off season we’re going to be facing the same problems again next year. And to be honest Oniki doesn’t have a great record when it comes to changing things does he? If my Twitter bashers had been reading this blog in the second half of last season they would probably have lost their minds. But it’s clear the rot set in a long time ago and even though we’d got ourselves a huge advantage early on in 2021, our end of season games still somehow managed to suck the enjoyment out of winning the league by a massive margin. So what positives could there be to take forward? At least we got to sing a bit this year. It makes a big difference when it comes to how fun watching the matches is. And our season ticket seats were pretty good. It’s a massive bonus that we didn’t have to watch some of the abominations we’ve put in this year from really bad seats which we were stuck in all year. Would be lovely if we could hold on to those seats next year. And if I’m being really snooty, would be nice if our pretty much almost 100% attendance at games could count some way towards us being able to do so. Don’t think it will though as going to games doesn’t actually seem to get you any credit when it comes to getting tickets for games. Anyway, this all looks like an end of season post so far. It kind of is really as we’re definitely done now, but I guess I should talk a bit about the game so let’s do that now.
 

Pre-game transfer rumours about Marcinho being on the way to Egypt were proved wrong when he was named in the starting line up. Taniguchi and Yamane came back from international duty and got a place on the bench. This meant that Kurumaya magically appeared fit again and started in central defence alongside Jesiel. Because we don’t have any other right backs (in a way that is quite similar to how we don’t really have any other centre backs aside from the usual two) Sasaki started at right back again with Nobori on the left. So two players fresh back from injury in the defence. And two out of the back four playing out of position. Some might counter this by saying that Kurumaya wants to play at centre back rather than left back. I would counter that with the fact that I want to be a successful musician but just because I want it to be true, I can’t really argue with pretty much everyone else in the world having other ideas, particularly those who’ve heard my music. In front of the defence it was pretty much back to normal with exactly what you’d expect. There’s definitely going to be some changes in the next game though with half of our players now either being injured or suspended. But more on that later. In the previous few matches I’ve blamed us being very underwhelming on tiredness. In this game our starting line up hadn’t played for two weeks and looked just as bad. So maybe this time we’ll say… out of practice. Whichever way you look at it, it’s not title winning form. In fact at the moment I’d say we’re on ‘just about avoiding relegation’ form. It’s a good thing we got all those lucky wins earlier in the season. Our passing in this game was awful. Perhaps we weren’t out of practice but had instead been practicing with a beach ball or a hacky sack since the last game. So many of our passes dropped well short or fizzed off at weird angles. Our best chance in the first half came from a desperate hoof out of defence which Marcinho raced on to. At least his pace isn’t something that has been trained out of our team recently. Most of our other skills seem to have been. And of course confidence too. But why would we have any confidence right now anyway? It’s been a case of just about hanging on in the title race mostly. We’ve never looked like we going to have a decent stab at it. I think I said on the J Talk podcast the last time that I was on that we had no chance of winning the league as even if YFM slipped up, there’s no way we’d get to the end of the season without slipping up more. And actually I think that since I said it we’ve had three slip ups in a row. So blame me if you want. We managed somehow to score once in the first half but that was due to us winning a penalty. The replay was shown on the screen in the stadium and the Consadole fans roared thinking it was about to be overturned but it looked pretty clear cut to me. I have no idea what their players were moaning about. But perhaps that were aware of what a flaky ref we had and how likely he was to fluff decisions. Ienaga put the penalty away beautifully though and we took a highly undeserved lead. The possibility of him winning the golden boot is about the only thing we can hang on to for 2022 now. We let them back into the game just three minutes later though after more calamities all over the pitch helped them attack and then an attempted block from Kurumaya was basically the perfect cushioned pass for their unmarked player to collect and side foot home. I’m not blaming anyone in particular though. There was an equal level of shitness on display from pretty much everyone. And then six minutes later they had a penalty which looked a bit soft but was probably fair enough after a couple of quick passes from a deep defending Consadole took out pretty much all of our team and left Sasaki (who let’s not forget was playing right back but had to cover Nobori who clearly wasn’t fit enough to make it back himself) having to try not to foul a player who was definitely looking for any excuse to go down. Out of the four defenders we started with, I think Sasaki was the only one who wasn’t shite in the first half yet once gain he was the scapegoat and was the one who was removed at half time. Oniki seems to be on a one man mission to destroy his confidence as thoroughly as possible. Small margins change games though. We hit the post twice in the first half and if both of those had gone in, the game would clearly have had a different feeling. But when you’re down on confidence these things just don’t seem to go for you. My feeling at half time was that it was possibly one of the worst halves from us I’d seen in a long time. Three of our back four looked like they were on a different planet, Tachibanada and Wakizaka were not shining again. I really hope we don’t continue with playing Tachibanada further forward as it has rarely worked but the fact that it did on one occasion means that Oniki is now wedded to the idea. Well, he won’t be able to do that in the next match I guess… So a defence playing badly and a non-existent midfield… losing 2-1 at half time was probably what we deserved. Or actually probably a bit more than we deserved. 
 

I’m very conscious as I start writing this bit about the second half that it is Wednesday already and probably the reason I’ve put off writing this post for so long is that I totally can’t be bothered to do it. Well, and I’ve been a bit busy too, but it’s mainly the former if I’m being honest. So let’s get this out of the way quickly. I should also say that the second half was so packed full of incident that any attempt to go into it in any meaningful way would take thousands of words. So let’s keep it brief. Although I’ll probably fail on both accounts. Sasaki got hooked, presumably for giving away the penalty. Yamane came on and once again looked like he couldn’t really be bothered. We scored twice. Although the ref did his best to not notice us scoring about three times when we put our second goal in and we only got it after VAR presumably shouted ‘erm… are you not going to give one of those obvious goals?’ in his ear as Consadole attacked. Quite how their players had the cheek to say it wasn’t a goal, I don’t know. And whoever the petulant little shit who hurled the ball into the ground when the ref stopped the game was should have got a yellow as far as I’m concerned. I guess this brings up an interesting question about what would have happened if they’d gone up the other end and scored as it seems they were going to. That would have really heated things up a bit further. Can’t expect Okabe, a ref who is clearly underqualified for his job to know what to do in that situation. There were so many VAR calls in this game about incidents that he hadn’t seen or had given the other way. I wouldn’t have minded one of the VAR guys coming out and swapping jobs with Okabe as he didn’t seem to have a clue. When both mangers, both sets of players and both sets of fans are astounded by a ref’s shitness you’ve got to think he’s had a bit of a bad game. But to be slightly fair, there was a crazy amount of action in this game, hence his crazy amount of mistakes. If there was just a medium amount of action I guess he would have made only a medium amount of mistakes. People might say that these kind of things prove why VAR is great, but I’d say after seeing it used so many times in one game, that I might prefer it if we just had a ref who didn’t fuck up every decision and then we could all have gone home a bit earlier. Tachibanada’s red card was probably fair enough, given that if someone is ahead of you and you even skim their shirt they are going to go down and you’ll get sent off. Although Xavier, a man who is clearly trying to make up for the thinness of hair on the top of his head by cultivating as thick a beard as possible definitely left it till he was in the box before he tripped on a blade of grass and flew through the air. I guess he didn’t intend to clatter into Sung-Ryong and effectively render us keeper-less and out of the game at the end of his dive but that was the result of his theatrical tumble. Of course Okabe gave a penalty and had to once again be corrected by VAR.  At this stage we basically needed to keep Consadole from shooting as Sung-Ryong was practically immobile due to what I think was a knee injury. Of course this was the one game where we’d used all of our subs up early… This was mainly due to injuries though. Both Kurumaya and Jesiel had to leave the pitch injured. From the way they’d played I think they also might have entered the pitch injured at the start of the game. Sung-Ryong looks like he won’t be able to play the next game either. Tachibanada will be banned because of the red card. There are more talks of Marcinho going too. So finally we’ll see some ‘rotation’ from Oniki. Maybe a bit like the rotation he was doing in the second half of this game where he went with Tachibanada at left back Nobori in the middle with Taniguchi and Yamane at right back for a while. Then we conceded and he put Yamane in the middle and Nobori at right back. Weirdly we actually played alright at the end of the match though. Of course the defence was a mess, but it had been all match regardless of its make-up. We were at least attacking a bit. But we didn’t score. At least it was a bit more fun than the first half though. And with each consecutive disaster it became clearer to me that we weren’t going to get anything from the game and it actually made it a bit easier to actually just sing and support and just watch the insanity unfold. 
 

So what’s gone wrong this year? I got roundly mocked for suggesting it was Oniki but I think there’s still quite a high element of truth in that. We didn’t bother signing any defensive cover before the season and instead have been using two players who aren’t centre backs in that position repeatedly. Our fluky results in some games have apparently blinded Oniki to the absolute bluntness of our play. We’re just really boring most of the time and have creative players who are being encouraged to just pass the ball sideways and backwards. I know we’ve lost some very good players over the last few years but new players who have been brought in have barely been given a chance to show what they might be able to do. Instead it’s a few minutes here and there and Oniki’s favourites keep their place no matter how badly they are playing or how few shits they seem to give. One benefit of writing this post so late is that I got to listen to what the J Talk Podcast thought about how we’ve shit the bed this year. They said that one problem has been that no new talent has come through this year. As I said above I think this is more due to Oniki never changing than us not having any talent. Think about Seko for example. He was perhaps Yokohama FC’s best player last season but with us has been played out of position relentlessly, given only a few minutes at the end of games, sometimes when we’re desperate, causing him to lose even more confidence. I don’t know if Oniki will play him a lot more next year after he’s completed what seems to be the usual one year bedding in period that players need before Oniki notices them. I don’t know if Oniki or Seko will even be with us next year. People might say the Chanathip hasn’t produced what we expected but that’s due in the most part to him usually being played well out of position in order to preserve Oniki’s preferred midfield trio. Joao Schmidt has played well in the defensive midfield role. So has Tachibanada. So play one of them there and put the other one on the bench. They can take turns. Don’t play them both. Perhaps get some cover for the positions we don’t have any cover in. Perhaps drop Yamane occasionally when he really looks like he can’t be bothered. Perhaps don’t be so fucking conservative with team selections and tactics all the fucking time. Oniki is terrified of losing it seems, so he’ll always play who he considers to be his best players regardless of form or condition. But we’ve been losing and drawing a lot anyway, so why can’t we be a bit more exciting and lose and draw in at least a slightly more entertaining way? We now have three home games and an away game at FC Tokyo left, so the only recent benefit of watching Frontale (going to some nice and interesting places) is now over for the season. Sorry fans of Chofu, but I don’t think it really counts as a trip to an interesting place. Even if they get a horse wearing their kit on the pitch before the game and at half time it still won’t rival the delights of Sapporo. Would go some way to doing it though, I suppose.

 
Next up, Shimizu at home in what is effectively a dead rubber, but which given the massive changes we’ll need to make might actually be a fun game to watch. It will probably suck though. And we’ll most likely have to go to the pub after the game avoiding Twitter as they’ll be some jubilant YFM fans having fun. Fair play to them though. Their team doesn’t fuck up against relegation contenders anywhere near as much as we do. Right from the first game of the season it was clear that we no way deserved to win the league this year. I hope this introspection and self-awareness has got through to certain people at the club too. Many teams would love to be in our position, but with the talent we have available, to perform quite so badly as we have is something of a perverse achievement. 2022 for us has been something like a hammering in a nail race, where we’ve been holding the head of the hammer and hitting the nail with the handle. Yeah, you might be able to get it in eventually, but it won’t have been much fun, it won’t have been anywhere near as effective and you’ll probably have knackered both your hand and the hammer in the process.  

Team 
GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 15. SASAKI Asahi
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
MF 6. JOAO SCHMIDT
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento (Red Card 84')
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (Yellow card 58')
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 20. CHINEN Kei
FW 23. MARCINHO


Subs
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo (on for JESIEL 57')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for JOAO SCHMIDT 57')
DF 13. YAMANE Miki (on for SASAKI 46')
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki (on for KURUMAYA 81')
MF 19. TONO Daiya (on for CHINEN 77')
FW 24. MIYAGI Ten
 

My Frontale Man Of The Match

YAMAMURA Kazuya - had nothing to do with the game, probably wasn't even in Hokkaido, which considering how bad we were, is a great advantage.

Goals
 
IENAGA (Frontale) 30' 0-1 PEN
FERNANDES (Consadole) 33' 1-1
KOROKI (Consadole) 41' 2-1 PEN
CHINEN (Frontale) 60' 2-2
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 69' 2-3
XAVIER (Consadole) 83' 3-3
OGASHIWA (Consadole) 90+12' 4-3

Highlights