Wednesday 17 July 2019

Vs FC Tokyo (away) 14/7/19 - J League match 19

FC Tokyo 0 - 3 Kawasaki Frontale

And relax..... I’m sure that plenty of people, myself included are feeling a lot better about Frontale after this game. Of course that doesn’t include FC Tokyo fans who probably have a lower opinion of us now. I’d been saying that this was a make or break game for us and thankfully we made rather than broke. That phrase really doesn’t work as well in the past tense, does it? Such was the tension and excitement leading up to this game, a large amount of alcohol was consumed. Such was the atmosphere, very few notes or photographs were taken. Such was the delay between attending the game and writing this, much has been forgotten. But we’ll see, I’ll do my best to write something of interest in this post. Here is the little I can remember:

Oniki, tactical genius -

I don’t know if he has been hiding his talents thus far this season or whether he got lucky, or whether FC Tokyo finally ran out of luck, but we controlled this game for pretty much the whole 90 minutes. We looked dangerous in attack and solid at the back. It says a lot that Sung-Ryong only had one save to make in the whole match. Whether this says more about our defensive solidity or Tokyo’s blunt attack, I don’t know. Their usual tactic of hoofing it forward to the two big guys up front didn’t work. Diego and Nagai seemed to spend most of the match on the ground. I’ve read that we were putting in some meaty tackles, but I can’t remember them particularly. In fact in the few notes I wrote I said that FC Tokyo were playing hard and dirty. Take everything I remember from this game with a pinch of salt though as emotions were running high and booze was freely flowing. To get back to the point, it’s a question as to whether the big change in our fortunes came about through Oniki’s changes to the line-up or something else. Kengo was back starting, Ienaga and Hasegawa were replaced with Abe and Saito and Shimoda started alongside Ao. Oh, and I can’t believe I didn’t mention this first, but Kurumaya was back at left back and Nobori was at right back as many of us have been calling for recently. Well done Oniki for finally realising that would be a better way to line us up. My opinion, however, is that perhaps the change in fortunes was more down to a change in approach. We looked a lot more positive for once and weren’t afraid to actually attack incisively instead of ponderously. Whether Oniki chose to do this or whether the personnel caused this to happen I don’t know. But either way it was very welcome. The fact that two of our goals were scored by these changes and two were assisted by these changes points towards them making the difference. Ienaga hasn’t been at his best so far this year and whilst I thought it was unlucky for Wakizaka to not start, Kengo is the kind of player you want to play in this kind of intense match so you could say the changes were justified. Anyway, all of this excitement and positivity and the great result will be for nothing if we don’t get results in our following league matches. Our next game is actually the friendly against Chelsea, which to be honest, I’m not particularly bothered about. As long as we put in a decent showing in that game, (but not decent enough to have any of our players attract any attention from other clubs), and then we carry on the positivity in the league, I’ll be happy. We’ve got a real chance now. The boost this convincing win has done to our confidence can only be equalled by the knock FC Tokyo’s confidence should have taken. Plenty of people have been saying that perhaps they are in a false position, doing better than they maybe should be, but as long as no-one is challenging them for consistency, it won’t matter to what extent they are over-achieving. Hopefully, this victory will provide a tactical blueprint for other J League teams who are playing them soon and prove that they are far from invincible.

The heart of the team was the heart of the victory -

Recently it has seemed that we have been spoilt for choice on who to play in the defensive midfield spots. Morita is currently our only national team player but he’s probably been the one who’s playing the worst in that position for us this year. I guess me and Moriyasu aren’t seeing the same things. He’s clearly a big talent but has only shown flashes of that this year for some reason. In this match, possibly due to Morita’s driving indiscretion and certainly due to Oshima’s injury, Shimoda got a rare start and he was awesome. As I said in the game against Meiji University, his set pieces are much better than anyone else’s in the squad and that was where our first goal came from. Alongside him, Ao had another awesome game, belying his age. Both of them were totally solid in the tackle and distributed the ball beautifully. Ahead of them, Kengo was really involved too. Before his injury he’d been a bit rubbish this year. Much like last year in fact when the first half of the season for him was pretty mediocre. It seems that many things are repeating from last year in fact, with us having a very similar record so far. Perhaps it’s significant that our first great result of the year coincided with Kengo having his first decent game of the year. I think this would be a bit tough on Wakizaka though who has really surprised me this season. In any case these are all welcome developments. I shouldn’t forget Manabu and Abe either. They both are very attacking players and maybe their directness was also a big factor in this game. It’s unusual recently that there’s not really anyone to single out as having a dodgy game. Long may that continue!

Damiaout? -

Rumors were circulating last week that a Chinese club had offered a significant amount for Damiao. I’m not sure the rumours have either been confirmed or quashed to be honest. The situation is a bit of a weird one. I can’t imagine there would be much keeping Damiao with us. Oniki clearly doesn’t rate him. Or perhaps he’s playing a really rough game of ‘treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen’. I really wouldn’t blame him if he decided that he was wasting his time with us as his chances have been severely limited with no chance to play himself into some form. Kobayashi had a shocking last league game in front of goal but started this game (and admittedly scored a nice goal…). Damiao didn’t even get off the bench. Perhaps Oniki has too many options in this position, particularly if we are only playing one player up front. But Damaio does seem to really like playing for us. Not sure why given his limited opportunities but perhaps it’s because he realises the fans really like him. The mystery seems set to bubble along and it was perhaps slightly strange to not even give him any time on the pitch in this game to show that we want him to stay. But, he was on the bench, which seems like it would suggest that he’s not going anywhere. But, we do always seem to have a few players on the bench with zero chance of actually coming on, so maybe that is not significant. But, Miyashiro has just been loaned out to Renofa Yamaguchi which is not something a team who are about to lose a striker would do. (Good luck to him, by the way. Hope he’s not going to be the new Miyoshi in that respect). So, basically who knows? As usual there’s so little clarity in stuff going on behind the scenes and in this case there are a lot of contradicting factors so maybe I should just stop speculating about this.

I’ve lost my focus a bit with this post. I’ll blame the alcohol again. I’ll finish things up here with a load of little points backed up with no explanation or evidence and leave them hanging. Jesiel was great and I was gutted that he hit the bar rather than got his first goal for us. Their pitch started cutting up pretty badly early on, maybe due to the weather, but for once a dodgy pitch didn’t seem to stop us. Loved Manabu’s celebration for Abe’s goal (check it out on the highlights video) and what a shocking clearance that was by the FC Tokyo defender. Oh, and our second goal (I think it was the second) was total justice as we were attacking, put the ball out for an injury to one of their players and they didn’t give it back. We promptly went back down their end and scored. Oh, and whilst 3-0 was very welcome, it could easily have been more. We hit the post a few times. But let’s not get too greedy, eh? A deeply unsatisfying structure to this post, but as you can probably tell, I’m trying to get this finished after leaving things too late. Next up, Chelsea but that’s not very important. Really next up, Oita at home which we need to win to get a run going. No more draws please. And of course, no more defeats. I’ll be on my summer holidays for that game and a few after so these posts will become mercifully short. Hopefully, before then, I’ll manage to get my usual mid-season stats post up. Will be interesting to make some comparisons between this year and last year and probably find that they are almost identical. Until then, I will bid you farewell with a rejuvenated and hopefully long lasting VAMO FRONTALE!


GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (Yellow card 40')
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki (Yellow card 44')
MF 19. SAITO Manabu

GK 21. ARAI Shota
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for SAITO 78')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for KOBAYASHI 85')
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya  (on for NOBORIZATO 90+1')
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro

My Frontale Man Of The Match

This could go to any of the midfield really. It could also go to Jesiel at the back who I though was pretty great. In fact, pretty much anyone could get it. The fans deserved it too, as we totally outsung FC Tokyo and it was really loud and a great atmosphere. I cop out on this too often by either not bothering to award it or awarding it too many players at once. Must stop doing that I guess, but today it will go to….

SHIMODA Hokuto & TANAKA Ao - copped out again, didn’t I? But you couldn’t really separate these two. Perhaps Ao had the better match in the middle, but Hokuto’s set pieces were crucial. So both of them can share it. Cheers!


KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 20' 0-1
SAITO (Frontale) 55' 0-2
ABE (Frontale) 69' 0-3

No comments:

Post a Comment