I’m banging this blog post out quickly for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don’t want to ever think about this awful game again if I can help it. Also, I’m going on holiday on Friday so can’t do my usual procrastination (in other words, delay writing it endlessly due to being both busy and lazy). This game came the day after my birthday and I was hoping for a massive victory against a nasty team late birthday present. Sadly, it was more a kick in the guts to remind me that I’m getting old and life is often a bit crap. I’m not going to go into detail as I can’t be bothered. Instead, I’ll break it down into a series of bullet pointed moans. Here we go.
- This was almost a copy of last year’s Levain Cup final in the same stadium. Error gives them an early goal, which was pretty much their only shot for most of the game. We huff and puff and never manage to score due to a combination of them having eleven men behind the ball and rotten finishing from us. And then they grab a breakaway goal near the end as we sling players forward. Sure, it was against a different team, but it was very much a familiar story.
- Urawa have gone from being a team who tried to play some nice football to a kind of 'this season’s classic J League team'/Brazil 2018 World Cup hybrid. Defending in numbers and occasionally hitting on the counter attack whilst taking every opportunity to roll around on the floor feigning injury. There was a ridiculous amount of time wasting in this game. Urawa did a job on us. We again couldn’t deal with it.
- DAZN seemed to know the Urawa line up and formation whilst Oniki only seemed to spot it around the 70th minute. Our lone striker was totally isolated up front against three centre backs. When we finally put two up front with Chinen on, we started creating a few better chances. But some horrible finishing from a lot of off-form players meant we were destined to end up goalless. I’ve no idea why we left it so late to try to put a bit more pressure on their defence by giving the rest of the team a couple of options to pass to, instead of trying to get it to Kobayashi who seemed a lot smaller than the three centre backs.
- There were a lot of anonymous performances, Kengo, Ienaga, Hasegawa. Kobayashi missed a lot of good chances. Morita had a bit of a dodgy game. Kurumaya seems to have lost the ability to play football since he had the one storming game after not being selected for the World Cup squad. Taniguchi had a bit of a nightmare, particularly for the first goal. The penalty was a catalogue of disasters with blunder after blunder from numerous players. The player who created the most chances was probably Nara with his through balls. I love Nara, but that’s not really how we’re supposed to be playing. Suzuki really made a difference when he came on, and then Oniki moved him to right back with ten minutes to go. Elsinho didn’t look very happy when he was taken off and who can blame him. Manabu made a great run as soon as he came on and then hardly got the ball afterwards. Can’t help but feel something is very wrong behind the scenes at the moment.
This is the kind of result we’ve been building towards really. I can’t believe we got four wins in a row before this. The only half decent performance was Sapporo away and even there we still didn’t take full advantage of a lot of good chances. Every team in the league is strengthening their squad at the moment and we are weakening ours. We’re totally inflexible and in danger of really being found out, particularly if we get a few injuries. I’ve probably made my feelings fairly clear on the matter, but Oniki isn’t helping us, he’s hindering us. I can’t help but feel that we’d be doing a lot better without him. Think I am probably in the minority in thinking this though. But things are looking pretty bleak. Yeah, plenty of players didn’t play well, but they are following the instructions of a manager who has only one idea, and right now, it’s not a good one.
Next up, my holiday and a blessed break from having to watch this rubbish. For the team, the easy task of a local derby against Yokohama at Todoroki on Sunday. Even though they’ve generally been pretty dreadful aside from one game, you can almost guarantee that they have that one good game of the month against us. Go Frontale? Actually, (I may have used this line already, but please allow me to use it again), Go Oniki! Go away, please!
GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 18. ELSINHO
DF 3. NARA Tatsuki
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
MF 25. MORITA Hidemasa
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro
MF 14. NAKAMURA Kengo
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya
GK 30. ARAI Shota
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei
DF 17. TAKEOKA Yuto
MF 19. MORIYA Kentaro
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for NAKAMURA 70')
MF 27. SUZUKI Yuto (on for HASEGAWA 57')
MF 37. SAITO Manabu (on for ELSINHO 78')
My Frontale Man Of The Match
My Frontale Man Of The Match
KOROKI (Urawa) 67' 1-0
FABRICIO (Urawa) 90+3' (PEN) 2-0
The Frontale youtube channel usually has longer highlights provided by DAZN, but given that a previous year's highlights got wiped when the broadcaster got changed, I'm going to stick with the official J League ones. But you can watch the longer highlights here if you want.
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