Friday 23 December 2022

2022 season player round up part 2

This is the second of three parts of my 2022 player round up post. Today we're going from Yamane to Marcinho.

13. Miki YAMANE (DF)

I feel like it’s been a bit of a difficult second album of a season for Yamane. Admittedly this metaphor is let down by it not being his second season, but hopefully you get the point. To many though he’s had a great season it seems. I suspect that they haven’t been watching very closely. Much like everyone else he hasn’t scored or created as much as in previous seasons. And he’s been caught out with his defending a lot more often. I say with his defending but it’s felt more like he doesn’t really consider that part of his job anymore. There’s also the very justifiable distraction that his national team call ups have given him. Completely understandable, but for me, someone who isn’t that bothered about international football, it did feel like he didn’t care much about Frontale at times. I’m sure though that this has at least something to do with the fact that he’s been mercilessly overplayed by Oniki. Give the guy a break from time to time! The only time it hasn’t been him playing at right back for us the reason was that he was on international duty. So basically he hasn’t had a rest for ages. I hope (but I’m not holding my breath…) that we’ll have someone who can step in to give him a rest from time to time next year. I suspect that even if we do, it will still be Yamane starting unless we get a radical change of direction from Oniki.

14. Yasuto WAKIZAKA (MF)

Wakizaka has stepped in the shoes/shirt of Kengo this year and at times it did look like the pressure was weighing on him. However, I think that on the whole he’s had a pretty good year. Second most appearances, joint fifth most goals and highest number of assists means that he’s been a crucial player for us this year. Feel like Oniki hasn’t quite worked out who to play him with in midfield yet though. And perhaps maybe that we need a bit of a rethink tactically to get the most out of him and our midfield as a whole. But credit to Wakizaka, who is something of an unsung hero for me. I often don’t notice what he’s doing but when I make a conscious effort to watch him he looks great most of the time.

15. Asahi SASAKI (DF)

Rollercoaster season for Sasaki. Scored a great goal away at Kashima 17 minutes into his first start. Probably wouldn’t have got the chance if it wasn’t for injuries though. The low of his season was probably his own gaol away at Kyoto. But given that he’d come from nowhere and then was playing 90 minutes every game it’s no surprise that something had to give at some stage. As usual it’s probably a matter of us not having enough defensive cover. And our losses to Shonan and Kyoto were far from his fault. All of our players were in awful form at that stage of the year. Perhaps more damaging to his morale than the own goal was him being dropped and replaced by a midfielder for eight games in classic Oniki style. I think he’s got great potential, I hope he doesn’t suffer too much from his slight set backs in 2022 and has a great 2023.

16. Tatsuki SEKO (MF)

Classic first season under Oniki for Seko (come into the squad as an exciting transfer, but then don’t get involved much at all until the second season). Scored one amazing goal and looks good taking set pieces. His confidence took a real bashing midway through the year when he started commenting that he was on his last chance to succeed which is horrible to hear. I hope he doesn’t think that anymore. Our midfield is massively crowded so it’s difficult to break in, but I hope he gets more opportunities next year.

17. Kazuki KOZUKA (MF)

After mentioning the classic first season thing for Seko, perhaps Kozuka is having an atypical second season. Usually second season players get involved a bit more but Kozuka still seemed to be struggling for opportunities again in 2022. Like Seko, suffers from our glut of midfielders (I feel like I write this every year…). Feel like he’s never really been played in his best position and allowed to attack a bit more, but this is just a bit of a hunch as I’m not really sure where his best position is. Feel slightly worried that the writing is on the wall for him, if not before the start of next year, then maybe halfway through next season. But we haven’t got any big name midfielders in yet, so maybe he’ll be safe.

18. Chanathip SONGKRASIN (FW)

The big transfer coming into the start of last season but has had a bit of a mixed experience this year. Seems desperate to do well and I wonder sometimes if that isn’t helping him. Played well out of position a lot at the start of the season, then played in a better position and unsurprisingly did better. Then got injured just when things seem to be starting to click. Really like the look of some of the passes he was trying and maybe the more he gets to know his team mates, the better things will get. Feels a bit like a lost year for him, but hopefully he should be able to hit the ground running next year.

19. Daiya TONO (FW)

Seems to have been played more in midfield than up front this year which I would have thought wouldn’t suit him so well, but what do I know? Would have loved to see him play in the Ienaga role a bit more often, but then again Ienaga had a pretty good year, so it’s probably not a surprise. He can really shoot but the further back he plays, the fewer opportunities he gets to hit it. Was involved on 40 occasions this year, but the majority of them were from the bench. Just wish we could rotate a bit more and give him some more chances further up the pitch. Fingers crossed for 2023

20. Kei CHINEN (FW)

Our most effective central striker in 2022 much to the surprise of some. Probably made more sense as a replacement for Damiao than Kobayashi for the whole winning headers thing and did take his chances more than others. Never looked like a totally natural finisher but did have a habit of putting the ball in the net. Bit of a surprise to see him going to Kashima, but maybe fancied a new challenge and perhaps decided to move after hearing Damiao was staying, (if he is, I don’t think it has been confirmed), and Miyashiro was coming back. Good luck to him except when he’s playing us and extra good luck to him for having to spend time with Yuma Suzuki.

21. Shunsuke ANDO (GK)

A classic Ando season. Hardly any involvement but made it onto the bench a few times. Weirdly didn’t even get a chance against the Guangzhou kids in the ACL. As I always say, I hope he’s happy with his position with us as he seems like a nice guy. With the arrival of Kamifukumoto, presumably he will remain third choice keeper next year despite Tanno leaving. Highlight of the year as far as I’m concerned was him playing the drums at the fan event. Good on him!

22. Yuki HAYASAKA (GK)

One for the future with hardly no involvement at all this year until the post season Asian tour. Seem to remember him looking pretty good in that game, but it wasn’t exactly a real fixture. Was a member of the classic three keeper benches against Urawa and Cerezo. Would have loved to see him make his debut as an outfield player but it wasn’t to be. We’ll see if next year he gets a go, even just to sit on the bench. 


Definitely an option for our player of the season as for long periods he was our most potent/only attacking threat. Feel like he’s really made the left attacking spot his own now after a start where things went well but not perfectly for him. Most goals, second most assists, we would have been in a lot of trouble without him. Was very happy when he turned down a big money move to Egypt to stay with us but slightly worried that might not have been completely his decision and that the story might not be finished. With Miyagi going out on loan, you’ve got to think that we are confident that he’ll be with us next year. Check out his Instagram to see his awesome outfits. I’m not a fashion lover but I can still appreciate someone with some style!

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