Monday 17 June 2024

Vs Vissel Kobe (away) 16/6/24 J League match 18


Vissel Kobe 1 - 0 Kawasaki Frontale 

I’m sure you’ll understand why I want to keep this brief. Not only is there nothing new to say as the fact that we keep taking the exact same approach to every game with almost exactly the same players, unsurprisingly keeps yielding the same results, but also because this match was so unrelentingly shit from both teams and there are only so many synonyms that I can find for terrible. Yeah, of course we’ve been poor all year, but blimey, this was a new level of shitness. Not the worst we’ve played all year, but definitely the most boringly we’ve played and the game which most felt like an utter waste of time. And we didn’t even get the consolation of traveling to a different part of the country for an away game. Instead we could ‘enjoy’ the ‘LOVE KOBE FESTIVAL’ just the 500 or so kilometres from the city it was celebrating. Or perhaps I’m wrong and this was supposed to be a ‘LOVE (VISSEL) KOBE FESTIVAL’. I’d say that was equally misplaced logic, as even from a Vissel point of view, in spite of getting the win, there probably wasn’t that much to enjoy about this stinking turd of a game. Perhaps the one small crumb of comfort we could hang on to after this match was that thanks to how bad Vissel were at shooting, we could come away with a defeat by just the one goal. If they could hit the target we probably could have conceded four or five so absent was the concept of defending from Oniki’s match plan. Perhaps it’s unfair to blame Oniki for the defence being shit, but blimey it was terrible. I saw someone on Twitter saying that the 'J2 level defenders' Ominami, Jesiel and Sasaki were hindering Takai’s development. On the evidence of this game, I’d say that was generous to the extreme to Takai who had another one of his increasingly frequent absolute stinkers. It always seems that after he’s had a good few games or has achieved something he has a series of horrible performances. He couldn’t pass to save his life in this match. And much like some of his teammates in spite of playing horribly this year he still seems to be so full of confidence that the idea of making a simple pass without attempting some kind of trick shot at the same time seems to be complete anathema. It was by no means Takai only who wasn’t at their best in this game. Once again Tachibanada, Wakizaka and Ienaga were almost anonymous apart from when they were fucking up. Gomis didn’t do much, but how was he supposed to do anything when the only time the ball came anywhere near him was when it was hoofed from a goal kick to him? Yamauchi had another quiet game, but it was still kind of baffling to see Oniki change him at half time when you probably could have made a better case for changing almost anyone else on our team. Certainly anyone in the midfield or the attack.

Just how big are those technical areas?
Guess you can tell how bored I was from the fact
that I took this photo

But you know, that's the mystery of Oniki, eh? And by mystery, I don’t mean the mystery that he is still in the manager's job. The mystery is just that his tactics are at such a high level that mere mortals like us can’t understand them. Two examples so perfectly encapsulated this game that I will state them here to show you how Oniki is working and thinking on a higher plain that we can. The first was when Wakizaka chased across the field to deftly steal the ball from a Kobe player. He won the ball, beat the player and then proceeded to boot the ball directly off the pitch. I’m only a mere fan, but if I can speculate, perhaps the idea was that giving Kobe the ball in their own half would allow us to ‘draw them out’. And as we all know, drawing the opposition out is the pinnacle of football as far as the mighty O is concerned. In fact so important is it that usually after successfully drawing them out we put our foot on the ball and allow them to regroup so we can attempt to draw them out again. The second noteworthy moment was when Yamada got the ball in the box with the goal gaping and only a pretty dodgy looking keeper to beat and instead of shooting decided to cut back and play the ball out to the wing. I have to admit, Oniki has foxed me with this one. I can’t work out any reason why this might be a good idea. However, it certainly helps to explain why we didn’t have a shot for the first 31 minutes and even then that was off target. In the next 30 minutes we managed just the one more shot. Also off target. So no work for their keeper in the first hour. The last 30 minutes was blistering though, with us doubling our shot count for the match, unsurprising I guess as we were behind and were chasing the game. We even got those shots on target. Perhaps it’s a bit of an exaggeration to call a ball gently rolled towards the opposition keeper a shot on target, but I think we should really hang on to that positivity and claim them as near misses. After all, if the keeper and all of his defenders hadn't been there it would definitely have been a goal. Well definitely unless the ‘shot’ ran out of oomph before it managed to trickle over the line. Four shots in ninety minutes. You can’t really say we didn’t deserve to lose. With our cutting edge right now, it’s pretty certain that the best result we can hope for is a 0-0. Oniki found his level when he outfoxed a team three leagues below us with a pretty average at best performance. It’s just a shame that we can’t play amateur teams every week really. Well, I shouldn’t wish too much for that as that clearly lies in the future for us if we renew Oniki’s contract again. In three years we can play in the JFL! Plenty of new grounds to visit. Presumably he’ll still be using the same tactics to the same effect.


So, anything good to come out of this game? Well one thing might be the fact that so many of our players have shown themselves to be so out of form that they shouldn’t start the next game. Unfortunately most of the players who’ve been rubbish also fall into the 'Oniki’s favourites' camp and therefore will continue to be played, no matter how bad they become. I reckon even a serious muscle injury or a broken bone might not be enough to change Oniki’s mind about how one of his favourites will be much better to play than any other player in the squad. As we can’t hope for any real changes in personnel it seems pointless to say that Ze Ricardo came on and had his best (part of a) game for us. Would love to see him and Seko start the next game. I don’t know who else I’d want in midfield but I know it wouldn’t be Wakizaka or Tachibanada. Erm… that’s it. Ze Ricardo had a good 20 minutes, That’s all I have to say apart from the fact that I avoided disappointment after the match by resigning myself to that fact that we’d lose before the game had started. But even this mental prep didn’t help me avoid the absolute boredom and frustration of watching such a terrible performance. And the bewilderment of reading Oniki’s post match comments where he followed the same tactical instructions he’d given the team perfectly and repeated exactly the same bollocks he says every week, somehow thinking that it might make sense this time. Of course, it didn’t. It seems he thinks we need to increase the variation of our attacks. Jeez, no shit. That’s why he gets the big bucks, I guess. Presumably not big enough bucks though to able to find the solution to the problem which is staring most people apart from him in the face, which is TRY TO SCORE A FUCKING GOAL INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON PRACTICING SIDEWAYS PASSING IN OUR OWN HALF FOR NINETY FUCKING MINUTES.


Wow. A post that is so pissed off that I didn't even bother to make fun of the opposition. I normally try to be pretty supportive (to the players at least) even when things aren't going well, but I can't put up with much more of this absolutely awful stuff. It's taken the fun out of even making a joke about Furuhashi doing well to stay on his feet during his half time appearance in contrast to all of the times he's played against us. Next up Niigata away on Saturday, a game which when it occurs in the league even when we’re having a good season is pretty much always a disappointment with us performing terribly and coming away with nothing. Not sure what that means will happen this year. I don’t think there’s any further we could sink. Perhaps just the one shot in the whole game maybe? Anyone expecting anything exciting from this match is clearly a more positive person that I am! At least it’s a fun city to visit. 
 
Team

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 2. TAKAI Kota
DF 5. SASAKI Asahi
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
(Yellow card 14')
MF 17. TONO Daiya
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

FW 18. Bafetimbi GOMIS
FW 26. YAMAUCHI Hinata

Subs


GK 99. KAMIFUKUMOTO Naoto

MF 6. ZE RICARDO
(on for YAMAUCHI 46')
DF 15. TANABE Shuto
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki (on for JESIEL 72')
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (on for GOMIS 61')
FW 23. MARCINHO (on for TONO 61')
MF 30. SEGAWA Yusuke
(on for IENAGA 80')

Goals

MUTO (Vissel) 43' 1-0


My Frontale Man Of The Match
 
It’s a bit of a shock that I’m doing this for such an awful game, but I guess I’m grasping at any kind of positive. There’s only one option, (aside from giving to Sung-Ryong again who managed to stop all but one of the shots Vissel managed to get on target), and it’s…

ZE RICARDO - give this man a start and give certain other players a rest. His brief appearance resulted in what I guess were probably the only forward passes in the entire game for us. 

Highlights
 

Friday 14 June 2024

Vs Sony Sendai (home) 12/6/24 Emperor's Cup 2nd round


Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 0 Sony Sendai 

So, our first involvement in the Emperor’s Cup in 2024, giving us a chance to set a pretty poor (hang on, that’s a massive understatement, isn’t it? Perhaps, utterly terrible) league campaign aside and concentrate on maybe trying something a little different against new opposition. Definitely something to get excited about. I don’t really understand why people don’t want to go to these games. I think it’s much more interesting to see us play a university team  than slug out a 0-0 against a team we play at least twice every year. New! Excitement! Different stuff! Oh, hang on, it was Sony Sendai again. I’m not sure why we seem to play the same few teams every few years in this tournament. And I guess in the ACL too. We’ll almost certainly get Ulsan in our group when the draw is made for the 2024/25 edition. But at least we’d have the excitement of seeing some unfamiliar faces on the pitch, right? Wrong. I think this was pretty much the strongest team we could have put out, given injuries or lack of fitness (more on that later). Presumably Oniki saw us having last weekend off as the perfect justification to try absolutely nothing new. The only experiment Oniki is interested in is one designed to determine the length of people’s tolerance for exactly the same stuff every game. Still, with the first team out and playing a JFL team, we were bound to see some exciting attacking play and plenty of goals, right? Wrong again. This game showed the effectiveness of Oniki’s pass pass pass plan, which hasn’t really worked against most teams this year, and doesn’t work either against a JFL side. Not saying we looked like we might lose. There weren’t that many occasions when Sony Sendai came close to scoring. But I am definitely saying that the same could be said about us. Even when the opposition don’t really threaten and don’t have much of the ball we still can’t really make many chances. In his post match comments Oniki noted that he was pleased we could tighten things up at the back and not concede. I think we can all agree with this, but probably at the same time should acknowledge that the opposition were from three leagues below. With a game against Vissel Kobe coming up on Sunday, you’ve got to wonder quite how wise it was to play so many first team regulars. But at the same time it was utterly predictable that we would do so. Perhaps we’ll put the reserves out against Kobe again like we did in the Super Cup. Although to be honest, they played a lot better in that game than the first team have in most matches this year. Does this mean that Oniki has given up on the league and is basically focussing on getting a cup? Well, the first part probably makes sense as we’ve fucked up the first half of our league campaign so badly that we’re extremely unlikely to get anything out of it. But the second part is a bit dangerous as we all know that if you’re looking for the true weak point of Oniki’s management you’ll find that it is that he’s pretty bad in knockout games. I guess we’ll see when the team lineup is announced on Sunday whether there will be any changes. I’m guessing there won’t be. But we probably still won’t be able to assess things too clearly as we almost never find out about injuries and Oniki doesn’t rotate unless he really has to. So basically I haven’t got a clue what’s going on, so am not sure why I wasted your time speculating over these kind of things.

Cup fever burns bright at Todoroki!

Let’s talk briefly about players and this match. Perhaps this was the closest Oniki could reasonably get to his dream of playing a whole team of midfielders with Tachibanada at left back and Segawa at right back. Perhaps this is a tactical masterstroke as it leaves the opposition unsure which side of our defence to target as both look equally appealing. It worked better in this game, but once again, I think that was mostly due to the level of the opposition. Not sure where Erison has gone. Haven’t heard anything about an injury. Hope he’s not pissed off. Could understand if he was. Guess we’ll see if he has any involvement on Sunday. Miyagi was back making his first appearance (from the bench) for quite a while after a series of J2 loans with mixed success. It seems like he’s still the same kind of player, offering something a little more direct than our other players who play in that position, but that directness often meaning that he doesn’t pass, and tries to shoot instead, but to not much success. I don’t want to have a go at him though as these were his first few minutes for us for a long time. He had some genuinely exciting moments, but I wonder if these were exciting in comparison to Marcinho, who in this match, like in many previous matches proved himself to be very good at running fast and dribbling but pretty bad at passing, crossing or shooting. Of course this all sounds ridiculous as he assisted for the first goal and scored the second. But he’s definitely not at his best at the moment. It’s been a weird season for him with the two red cards probably affecting his game quite a lot. Hopefully he can get back to his best soon.


I think we had our first shot on target in this game in the 38th minute. That was our first goal. I think that’s something we need to take into consideration when we think about this game. The first 37 minutes were pretty much a waste of time and if we were playing a team from a higher league we could easily have been made to pay before we in any way troubled their keeper. Fair play to Sony Sendai who stifled our attack, but the truth is a lot of the stifling of our attacks was done by our approach and tactics. I wonder if we might even struggle to break down a team of mannequins with our 2024 version incisive attacking play. In previous years we’ve squeaked through our first match in this competition and then come unstuck in the next round when we came up against a J2 team in mediocre to poor form. So who have we got next? Ah, Oita, who before last night’s win against Kagoshima had lost one and drawn four of their last four games. The omens aren’t very good, are they? To be honest, there’s not much else to say. As I mentioned above, Marcinho scored and assisted and both were very nice, but maybe slightly undermined by  our bluntness for the rest of the game. Yamada got the other goal, and it was basically a tap in. I feel a little like playing him up front in the middle from the start is the same as playing Kobayashi there. It’s where they want to play, but never seems to have as good an effect as playing them either on the wing or introducing them up front from the bench. Guess that’s a problem with the system again. But the system won’t be changed, so I guess we should just get used to it if we aren’t already. I can’t imagine anyone who’s watched more than a couple of our games ever won’t be used to our system by now. This week’s J Talk Podcast said that things have been improving for us a bit in recent weeks. I guess we were starting from a pretty low level so improvement was probably the only way. However, I’d say that you shouldn’t ignore the fact that aside from the times we’ve managed to score, we’re still pretty crap and the last two results have papered over the cracks somewhat. I’d be delighted if the win over Nagoya and this win were the start of a great winning run, but I wouldn’t exactly say that we’ve been playing like we should be winning. At the same time, if we go on a massive winning streak whilst playing terribly and getting very lucky, that would also be quite amusing. And perhaps even more enjoyable than playing mediocrely and getting the same results. I would have no objections to this monstrous luck taking to the field with us on Sunday. That would be quite nice indeed.

So, yeah, next up Vissel Kobe away on Sunday, but away in the National Stadium. The Kobe players can wave at Todoroki from the Shinkansen as they pass en route from Kobe to their ‘home’ game against us. After that we’re away in Niigata the following weekend. Now that is always a fun trip and given that we’ll be returning home on the last train after the game, we’ll have to get plenty of ‘sightseeing’ in the evening before and on the day of the game. I expect to turn up to the game suitably refreshed. It really is the best way to enjoy our matches at the moment. Lovely!


Team

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 30. SEGAWA Yusuke
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma

DF 5. SASAKI Asahi
DF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki
MF 77. YAMAMOTO Yuki
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

FW 20. YAMADA Shin
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs


GK 99. KAMIFUKUMOTO Naoto

MF 6. ZE RICARDO
(on for YAMAMOTO 83')
DF 15. TANABE Shuto
(on for SEGAWA 83')

MF 17. TONO Daiya
(on for IENAGA 70')
FW 18. Bafetimbi GOMIS
FW 24. MIYAGI Ten
(on for WAKIZAKA 83')
FW 26. YAMAUCHI Hinata (on for MARCINHO 65')

Goals

YAMADA (Frontale) 39' 1-0
MARCINHO (Frontale) 58' 2-0


My Frontale Man Of The Match

I'll skip this again this time.

Highlights 

Saturday 8 June 2024

Vs Nagoya Grampus (home) 25/5/24 J League match 17


Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 1 Nagoya Grampus

This blog post is almost a week late. Praise the lord for international breaks! But don’t think my slowness is all down to laziness. Sure, there’s an element of that, but we’ve also just moved house. How many weeks do you think I’ll be able to use the ‘moving house’ excuse for the poor quality and tardiness of these posts? And as a follow up question, what excuse will I use after the moving house excuse doesn’t work anymore? Anyway, you don’t come here to read about my personal life, do you? (In case you were wondering, the move is finished but the new place is still a bit of a tip). So, on to Nagoya at home then. Our first win in five! A marginally shorter winless run than the one that was killed off by us beating Urawa. Not exactly a thing to rejoice, but perhaps a sign that we’re heading in the right direction. If we’re really lucky perhaps the next winless run will only be three games long! Before the game we were promised big changes at the back. The team line up seemed to suggest nothing of the sort. Although there was a slight chance that we might be seeing three at the back and the club were being tricky with the team line up announcement graphic. But naturally nothing of the sort. It was the same old stuff with Tachibanada moving back into defence, but this time on the left hand side. Not sure what happened to Sasaki, who I thought was the only one of our defenders who hadn’t made a horrendous cock up in recent games. Perhaps he’s injured. Or maybe Oniki sees his lack of mistakes as a weakness, or something that is causing him to be isolated from his teammates who are sharing the cock ups around. So in spite of the teaser of big changes the only change was moving Ominami to right back and bringing Takai in. And given that Ominami has played at right back on previous occasions it was hardly a change. There was no sign of Segawa in the squad, so maybe he’s injured. I guess the surprise if there was one was Marcinho being dropped to the bench. Can’t say it’s a big shock as he hasn’t been at his best recently. Although we were going with the same formation and broadly speaking the same tactics, there did seem to be a bit more confidence flowing through the team than there has been recently. Perhaps the rain delay at the start of the match helped with that. By the time the players finally made it onto the pitch, perhaps Oniki’s team talk had drifted out of their minds and that’s why we started a bit better than we normally do. Hang on, a bit better? What am I saying? We scored after six minutes! And we didn’t concede immediately afterwards! This was a lot better! Should probably say here that I am not surprised we scored from a corner as in this match Seko was taking all of the ones from the right. A nice start anyway, and one which got even nicer after 18 minutes when we were absolutely gifted a goal from a Nagoya defensive cock up. The crucial thing was that on this occasion we didn’t snatch at the chance and actually scored. Perhaps this was because it was Ienaga who had the opportunity. Were we going to get another Ienaga hat-trick game? It seems that he definitely thought so as he was trying to shoot with every half chance he had. His best chance to get to take home the match ball was early in the second half but it went just wide. Well maybe a little wider than just wide, but it was kind of close. It’s a bit of luck that he had his scoring boots on in the first half though (actually one goal was a header, so should I say scoring boots and head?), as we were pretty blunt in the second half. 


Of course we weren’t as blunt in the second half as we had been against Kashiwa (one shot, off target), as it would be extremely difficult to get blunter than that, but we did only have four shots (none on target) in the second half of this match. I guess these stats don’t include the two goals Gomis had ruled out for offside though, which changed the feel of the second half, but strictly speaking, probably shouldn’t as the fact remains we didn’t hit the target. After the second one was ruled out I thought that we were in a hat-trick race, Would it be Ienaga scoring a hat-trick of goals first or Gomis having a hat-trick of VAR denied goals? Certainly something to get excited about, eh? As it was, neither happened and the second half was instead dominated by us hanging on for dear life. Jesiel was taken off at half time after once again looking like he was half-injured for the whole of the first half. Credit to Oniki for (hopefully) taking him off before he injured himself further. This saw Takai and Ominami reunited in central defence, (remember, the pairing that conceded five against both Sagan Tosu and Jubilo Iwata), with Tanabe at left back and Tqchibanada being moved to the right. Maruyama was back on the bench, so maybe it was a bit of a surprise that Oniki didn’t bring him on instead. Perhaps he’s not really fit enough. (As it is so long between writing this and posting it, I can now say that Maruyama got injured whilst warming up… we never tire of coming up with new ways to get our players injured). Our bench certainly looked a bit weird. I wonder if we’re going through another injury crisis at the moment. Don’t expect that we’ll hear anything about it. I thought Tanabe did a decent job and avoided getting booked almost immediately on entering the field like he has done in previous appearances. According to the player scores on Flashscore, which I usually think are absolute nonsense but will sometimes use to back up what I think if they agree with me, Tanabe did much better than Tachibanada. The same scores have Gomis as our second worst player though, which I think shows just how ridiculous they are as he had a really good game winning and keeping the ball. Somewhat amusingly the same scores have Langerak as Nagoya’s worst player by a mile. Can’t imagine he’ll agree as the defender who tripped over the ball giving us our second goal got a much better score. It’s almost… as if… these scores… are given by someone who’s just had a quick glance at the highlights and the match data. Or as I believe they sometimes call themselves an ‘analyst’ or an ‘expert’. Who needs to watch the game with any kind of enthusiasm or excitement when you can count passes instead. (In case you were wondering, this is all a thinly veiled bitch at someone I had a row with on Twitter a few months ago). I would urge any Frontale fans who are reading this and haven’t seen the game to not get too excited about this win. Once again Sung-Ryong saved us on quite a few occasions, once with yet another amazing save with his feet. We looked a bit of a mess at the back for long periods of the game and when you combine this with our second half lack of a cutting edge, it all suggested that we were probably going to concede and then concede two more times in quick succession. Somehow we managed to avoid doing so though! I will point out that once again we conceded whilst preparing a sub. Does this happen to all teams? I think it happens with every goal we let in. Any swagger that we built up in the first half was long gone by the end of the second and we were lucky to hang on. But hang on we did, and on the final whistle there was quite some emotional outpouring, both in the stands and on the pitch. Of course, it’s only one win, but given how bad things have been recently, it’s hopefully an important one. Fingers crossed we don’t take two steps backwards in our next game.


As I’d like to finish this blog post quickly so I can get back to sorting out the new apartment and finding places to stash all the ridiculous things I have accumulated over the years, I’ll lump Nagoya and the ref into one section. Nagoya had a rotten start to the year despite some people thinking they’d do well. They didn’t beat us which I guess means that they had a pretty rotten game here. I feel like they think they are better and more skillful than they actually are which resulted in them cocking up a few times and one of those occasions giving us a goal for free. Junker is an unbelievable moaner. Nothing much else to say about that. It was quite delightful to beat them as we haven’t had a great relationship with them in recent years. Probably even nicer given that their fans were very annoyed that they lost to us and I can quite understand that as I’ve watched all but one of our games this year and we have been for the most part, utterly crap. Apparently their fans left a lot of litter in the stands according to Twitter. 

Even with the ball in the net and the linesman flagging for offside,
Nagoya still find something to moan about to the officials.

On to the ref, who was Mikuriya, perhaps one of the referees in the league who is accepted by most people to be one of the worst. In this game he was wildly inconsistent, particularly when it came to what constituted a yellow card offence. He seemed to want to give them only to us and ignored a few situations where Nagoya should have definitely had one for cynically breaking up a promising attack of ours. At the same time, it’s utterly insane that Tachibanada didn’t get booked till the 85th minute as he definitely should have got one earlier. So, just a regular Mikuriya performance I guess. I know some refs don’t like to give cards, but if the law says they should, they probably should give them, shouldn’t they? I think they’re probably supposed to follow the established rules rather than make their own. Card shy refs are common, but I’d say Mikuriya went well past being card shy, perhaps even as far as card-incel level. Anyway, his name is quite close to ‘micturate’, at least in my mind, and I think this goes some way towards explaining why he is a bit of a pissy ref. A pretty unsophisticated way for me to finish this paragraph I’m sure you’ll agree.

So, basically a very welcome win, but not the most comfortable. The result looks a lot better than a lot of the game did. And this win is probably just enough to take the pressure off Oniki which I think was starting to build a little. Hopefully he can follow it up with another one. Our next game is in the Emperor’s Cup against Sony Sendai, another team we’ve played before. I wish we’d get some more interesting opposition in this competition. It seems like we get the same few teams all the time. I also wish we could have an away game in Sendai. It’s been a while. This game has banana skin written all over it. Whether Oniki will change the side much, I’m not sure, We have a weekend off before then, which I think he might take as a reason to keep mainly the same side. But I really would like to see Erison back in the line up, hopefully to get him a bit of confidence and form back, which is not going to happen if he plays only ten or twenty minutes at the most (or as was the case in this game, zero minutes in a game when we didn’t even use all of our subs…). After that it’s Vissel Kobe again, at the national stadium again, although this time it’s their home fixture instead of being a cup final. A home game, just around 500km from their city. Hopefully some of the new fans they picked up when they signed Iniesta are still interested otherwise it’s going to be a low attendance in a stadium that is pretty dull even when it’s quite full. The fact that a friend of mine who doesn’t have a massive interest in football has managed to win free tickets for the game makes me think they might be employing some other tactics to get the attendance to acceptable levels. To be honest though, it makes sense, as hiring a showpiece stadium hours away from their hometown and giving away loads of free tickets is probably way cheaper than paying Iniesta’s salary for a week. Fingers crossed we can get a similar result to Super Cup final.

Team

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 2. TAKAI Kota (Yellow card 53')
DF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento (Yellow card 85')
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki
MF 17. TONO Daiya
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

FW 18. Bafetimbi GOMIS
FW 26. YAMAUCHI Hinata

Subs


GK 99. KAMIFUKUMOTO Naoto

FW 9. ERISON

DF 15. TANABE Shuto
(on for JESIEL 46')
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (on for GOMIS 90')
FW 23. MARCINHO (on for YAMAUCHI 66')
DF 35. MARUYAMA Yuichi
MF 77. YAMAMOTO Yuki
(on for TONO 81')


Goals

IENAGA (Frontale) 6' 1-0
IENAGA (Frontale) 18' 2-0
HA (Nagoya) 89' 2-1


My Frontale Man Of The Match

Sorry, I am so late with this post that I can't really remember much about the game apart from the parade of cars and vans at half time, so let's give it to whoever came up with that idea.

Highlights

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Vs Kashiwa Reysol (home) 25/5/24 J League match 16


Kawasaki Frontale 1 - 1 Kashiwa Reysol

Ok, I know I always say I’ll keep it brief and then bore on for ages but this time I was going to be a little briefer than usual. We’re in the middle of moving at the moment and it’s a monumental task. I hadn’t imagined that I’d really have had time before our next game to sit down for any extended period and write something to my usual, erm… ‘standard’. But thanks perhaps to worrying about the move, I’ve woken up at 5am, too early to start making any kind of noise by shifting anything. So here we are, a semi usual blog post, just with a bit more bleakness due to the fact that I already know this is going to be a long and tiring day. This was unsurprisingly, another crap game. Unsurprising because once again a close look at our recent travails has seen our manager decide that we’re probably doing the right thing but being monumentally unlucky, and to keep on with exactly the same stuff. Oniki’s post match comments are becoming as predictable as these blog posts are. And none of these things are in any way surprising, as the same approach and the same performance will inevitably draw the same comments from whoever is being submitted to them. Quite why it hasn’t nudged our manager into trying something new is a bit of a mystery though. Or rather would be a mystery if we didn’t have one plan Oniki in charge. I should stress again that I’m not demanding he be fired and immediately banned from Kawasaki city. I just wish he’d for once notice quite how bad we’ve become, and instead of trotting out the same platitudes after every match, just try something different on the field thereby giving himself something different to talk about.

In this game, aside from changing the keeper which was such an obvious thing to do that even Oniki couldn't avoid it, we went for the same starting line up and approach as against Gamba, a game we lost 3-1. The bench was almost exactly the same too, the only change being enforced because the return of Sung-Ryong meant that we didn't have enough foreigner spots in the matchday squad for Ze Ricardo. Segawa, despite leaving the field as a concussion sub against Gamba was able to start this next match, much like Ominami did a few games before. Can’t really complain that Sai didn’t start as he had a pretty bad game against Sagan Tosu, but I thought he did a decent job against Gamba when he was called on. But no, the solution for Oniki is to once again play someone out of position in a full back spot, apparently favouring some players over others regardless of their performances. The tactics were exactly the same as they always are and for the third game in a row we went ahead but capitulated. Unlike in the Tosu and Gamba games though, we managed to squeak a point. And unlike against Gamba and in a few other games recently, we avoided conceding almost immediately after scoring. But let’s not be under any illusions. The period just before and after we scored was our only decent spell in the match. It didn’t last that long and as always we were unable to take advantage of being on top in the match. We made an extremely dodgy start to the game though, and that was much more in keeping with the general pattern of the game than us taking the lead was. Aside from that semi decent period either side of the goal the stats speak volumes, particularly the second half stats, (just the one shot from us and it was off target. Truly terrible stuff). Sung-Ryong was back in goal and was the clear man of the match, saving us on numerous occasions as we did pretty much nothing in the second half aside from pass sideways and then finally lose the ball to gift them chances. I think there is absolutely no doubt who should be starting in goal at the moment. To be honest, these posts are hardly worth writing recently as every game is the same. We have a little bit of a good period, don’t take our chances and then fall to pieces, making like-for-like subs with not even a second’s thought that we might be able to do something to change the tactics. Which naturally results in us getting nothing, as it did in numerous previous games and for most of the season. Nothing will change unless Oniki changes something tactically. I don’t think he will. 


Erison got his recent usual 15 minutes. Too little time for him to really do anything or allow him to play himself into some form, but just enough to dent his confidence further and switch him endlessly from the middle to the wing and back into the middle again and again. Another bit of managerial magic. Jesiel started the game looking very out of shape again and I was worried that Oniki might be pushing him towards another injury like he did earlier in the season. Thankfully though he managed to last the full 90 minutes. Tachibanada and Wakizaka had pretty bad games again, I thought. Bet they still get picked for the next match though, eh? Wakizaka this year seems to get the occasional goal which serves to cover up his usually utterly average performances. It’s probably a bit unfair to blame him for their goal, but the replays do make it look a bit like he tees the ball up for their striker during a penalty box scramble. (As an aside, I bet if we'd been in the same situation in the Kashiwa box, instead of trying to shoot we'd probably kick the ball back to Sung-Ryong to try to draw out the opposition). I would be quite happy to see neither of them start the next match, but I think that is about as likely as us making a charge for the league title this year. Or Oniki changing his tactics. Should probably also point out that once again we conceded whilst we were preparing to make subs. In fact, so familiar were many things in this match that I could have just cut and pasted large sections of previous blog posts. We’re awful. I wonder if the recruitment of our new analyst from India will change matters. I suspect after closely analysing this match he will submit a report that is just one side of landscape oriented A4 with ‘VERY SHITE’ printed in the biggest font possible and a sad face emoji. Even if he has something useful and important to say, the likeliness of Oniki listening is pretty low I think. Remember he went to watch Arsenal train a few years ago and came away with the impression that his way was better and there was nothing he could learn from the experience. I think the game was summed up by the way that after endless attempts at ‘drawing out the opposition’ with some short passing at the back, we found ourselves on the ball and breaking with at least five Kashiwa players out of contention, left behind by our player running with the ball. Naturally in this situation, we decided to cut back, allow them to regroup, before making a few more passes to get the possession stats up, and then attempt what seems to be our holy grail this year, the pass that is hit directly at an opposition player but passes unhindered through their physical form. Don’t lose heart lads, sooner or later Oniki’s 2024 tactical innovation will start to come off and then we’ll be flying! As a final comment on the uselessness of our play this year a quick stat. We’ve averaged around 60% possession in six out of our last eight games. Guess which ones we didn’t have as much possession in? Yep, the two games that we won. But keep on going with the pointless passes, eh? Who needs goals or even shots when we can have beautiful, beautiful sideways passing.


So, time to throw a bit of crap around at the opposition and officials. Kashiwa were much better than us at football, and were infinitely better than us when it came to rolling around on the floor, whinging, and brandishing imaginary cards at the ref. It was their lucky day though, as Kimura and his linesmen were so useless that they actually needed the help of the good natured Kashiwa players, who saw some guys who were really struggling to understand even the basic aspects of their job and gave them some pointers. This even extended to their manager who, I noticed when watching a replay of their goal, was giving it quite some gusto with the invisible card for the foul by Tono. Not blaming the ref for our shitness though. When your one aim is to pass the ball sideways in your own half, there’s not really many ways that the ref can have an influence. I found the Kashiwa right back intensely irritating as in spite of his tender age and lack of J League experience, he seemed to be leading the way when it came to being a bit of a moany and divey shit. Their fans gave Ominami and Segawa a big old boo when they were mentioned in the team announcement. I thought it would have been great for them to rub their previous team’s fans’ noses in it by us putting in a great performance and thrashing them. Sadly reality and Oniki intervened and instead we were extremely lucky to get away with a draw. The late VAR drama where Jesiel’s goal, (just saying, from a Seko free kick, instead of one of Wakizaka's usual useless set pieces), was ruled out for a very marginal offside would have been quite enjoyable if it had gone the other way, but I think that if we’d won this game, it would have been an injustice on an even bigger scale than the Emperor’s Cup final last year against… oh Kashiwa. So basically, a bit of a shit first half, with a shithead at right back for them, a shit ref, shit linesmen and a larger than the sun steaming shit of a second half. I don’t know why we bother.

Banner wisdom -

So much content here. Although I think I have poked fun at all of these in the past but never mind, eh?




We’re Kashiwa Stupid -

I think we all want to know where exactly does Kashiwa level stupid fit in relation to Funabashi level stupid and Ichikawa level stupid when it comes to the Chiba prefectural stupidity ranking?

Endless Trip to Asia -

Is it a trust fund backpacker gap year type situation or have they just experienced some truly awful airport delays?

Play Dirty, Go Hard -

Just bizarre. If only Kimura had noticed this he might have been convinced to give them a few cards too as it seemed he couldn’t make any decisions by himself and needed constant advice.


Kashiwa City to Big Dreamin -

The feeling that Kashiwa fans get when the Joban line turns in the Chiyoda line at Ayase.


So, another pile of steaming crap in a season that is delivering more shit than a super sewer. The only consolation, (well, apart from the fact that us not playing well was so predictable that I’m sure most of us had mentally prepared to lose the game), was to wake up and see the score of the ACL final the next morning, Some people might consider this a pretty shitty attitude, but I’d say that if I spend every weekend wishing our local rivals get hammered by whoever they’re playing, why wouldn’t I want them to get hammered in one of the most important games they’ve ever played? Next up, the same tactics and broadly the same players against Nagoya at home next Sunday. By that stage we will have finished our move, so I will either be on a high about our new place, (presumably a high that will soon be punctured by a terrible performance by our team), or so traumatised by the move and cleaning that the defeat will just wash over me. Either way it probably sounds preferable to going into the game with any hopes and having them smashed to bits. After that, a weekend off before a midweek game in the Emperor’s Cup where Oniki will probably play the same players and use the same tactics, and Sony Sendai will put an end to one other slight glimpse of some kind of potential rest of the season entertainment. What a joy this all is!

Team

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 30. SEGAWA Yusuke
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma
(Yellow card 57')
DF 5. SASAKI Asahi
(Yellow card 88')
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 17. TONO Daiya
(Yellow card 58')
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

FW 18. Bafetimbi GOMIS
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs


GK 99. KAMIFUKUMOTO Naoto

DF 2. TAKAI Kota

FW 9. ERISON
(on for WAKIZAKA 78')
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki (on for TONO 61')
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (on for GOMIS 61')
MF 26. YAMAUCHI Hinata (on for MARCINHO 70')
DF 31. Sai VAN WERMESKERKEN (on for SEGAWA 70')


Goals

WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 30' 1-0
KINOSHITA (Reysol) 59' 1-1



My Frontale Man Of The Match

I said it above but the only option is…

JUNG Sung-Ryong - without him on the pitch we would have lost, and probably have lost heavily.

Highlights

Monday 20 May 2024

Vs Gamba Osaka (away) 19/5/24 J League match 15


Gamba Osaka 3 - 1 Kawasaki Frontale

What better way to follow up getting a thumping by getting a humping? Or a dumping…? A bumping? A stumping? A rumping? Chumping? Not even sure those last two are real words, but let’s roll with it. Coming into this game Gamba had scored 11 goals in 14 games. But don’t worry, the Frontale donation association rolled into town, spreading gifted goals and points to whoever wants them. Newly promoted team from J2 who everyone thinks will go down? Jubilo, have five goals on us! Team who’ve survived in J1 against the odds for years but seem to have run out of luck? Sagan Tosu, have five goals on us! Team who are doing pretty good compared to recent years but just can’t score more than once a match unless the moon is a nice shade of blue? Gamba have three goals. And of course, all of you can have the three points too. Admittedly on this occasion we weren’t as generous as we had been on the other occasions but I feel like all three goals in this game were gifts to a certain extent. And even better that we gave away the first one immediately after we’d scored to really batter the morale. In the Sagan Tosu game I didn’t really want to point the finger too much when it came to individuals’ catastrophic mistakes as it was clearly obvious who’d fucked up for at least four of their five goals. After reading Twitter after this game, I feel I need to be a bit more direct as people seemed to be blaming Ze Ricardo who came on in the 77th minute for us conceding the third goal. I’m pretty sure I was cursing Wakizaka for that one, but I guess he’s untouchable. Which is kind of a big problem for Frontale at the moment. Certain players can’t do anything wrong, even if they do something obviously wrong. And at the same time, players who’ve been given almost no pitch time come in and are blamed for everything. I have to admit I haven’t watched the highlights for this game yet so maybe I’m completely wrong on this count. But I just wish that the players who are getting only a few minutes here and there weren’t being scapegoated for the failures of players who are playing the majority of the time. To be fair though, I don’t really blame the players for our current plight. It’s clearly the clueless manager who is at fault. Long time readers of this blog might be a little bored to hear me say this, but Oniki is evidently way past his sell by date and his one formation is now so aged that it is almost fossilised. As much as he moves those magnets around in between matches he just can’t seem to get away from his beloved and utterly useless in 2024 (and 2023… and actually for most of 2022 to be honest), 4-1-2-3. To be honest though, I think it’s more the approach that is the problem. This game could be perfectly summed up by the occasion where Marcinho had the ball and the defence parted in front of him, allowing a free run at goal. But of course, presumably following Oniki’s strict instructions, he decided to stop, cut back and attempt to beat just one more defender. He lost the ball. I swear that if the opposition sent their keeper up for a last ditch corner and we had a player break free with the ball with no one between him and the goal, he’d stop at the edge of the box, waiting for some support, in order to get the requisite 45 passes in before being allowed to shoot. But even then they might be in trouble as 40 of those 45 need to be between the defence and goalkeeper, before the final hoof upfield. We’re shite. The players probably aren’t. But the manager definitely is.

During the game I noticed that a butterfly was relaxing precariously close to the foot of the guy a couple of seats away from me. I pointed this out to him and the butterfly ended up flying down to the row in front where it diced with death relaxing next to another foot. At the time I thought that this would be great blog post fodder. I can’t quite put my finger on how to use it though. Is the butterfly our ‘beautiful football’ tactics, which are being seriously imperiled by the reality of the J League in 2024. Hmmmmm. No. I think that’s giving way too much credit to the beauty of a type of football that is basically the most pointless passing possible. Frontale’s art project in 2024 is more like someone making bang average pottery at home, never showing it to anyone and then smashing it to pieces. Not only is it not that good, but it was an utterly pointless exercise. Is the butterfly the hopes of the fans who started following us when we were good and now are threatened with being submerged in a deluge of shitty football? Perhaps. I’d like to propose a third option. The butterfly is my Frontale spirit. It looks like it’s in extreme danger and almost certainly will end up getting squashed, but somehow against all the odds, it’s just about hanging in there. And probably will continue to cheat death, but jeez, the constant repetition of the same useless stuff is really taking its toll. This story wouldn’t be complete without me telling you what happened to the butterfly, right? Sorry. I didn’t see if it got crushed or flew away. So please draw your own conclusions. I like to hope it’s the latter.


I’m so tired of saying Oniki should quit or be fired. It’s obvious, isn’t it? But at the same time, it will probably never happen. He’ll squeak through an ACL group with teams from India, Singapore and Hong Kong, (don’t say this is offensive and unfair, I just googled weakest leagues in Asia so blame the site I checked and not me), and be offered a new contract. The terrible thing is that he’ll accept it, fully believing that he’ll soon be turning the corner and things can only get better. Don’t forget though that we were pretty shit in 2022 and somehow managed to finished 2nd. The following year we were crap but everyone said it was a rebuilding season. This year, with what I believe to be a stronger squad, we’re infinitely worse. Perhaps we have to demolish completely before we rebuild? Surely it’s time for people to acknowledge that Oniki isn’t the man for the job? You’d think so, but on Twitter after this game I saw someone saying that if we change manager we’ll probably get relegated. I would counter that with the fact that if we don’t, we definitely will get relegated. I don’t actually believe this, but the brass balls of someone who is defending Oniki in 2024 is just astounding to me. I don’t know what kind of secretly taken incriminating photos he has of his supporters, but somethings clearly going on. I can’t imagine anyone really believes he’s the best man for the job. When I was young, if you asked me to drink heavily for a week straight, I’d consider it both a duty and an honour. Right now if you asked me to do it, I’d admit that I’m probably not that man for the job. (To be fair though I’ve made a decent effort of doing it for five days this week). Quite why people can’t grasp the fact that just because Oniki did something good in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that everything he will do in the future will be good is beyond me. To take this post even further to the gutter, there were probably some people who though that Harold Shipman was a decent doctor, Fred West did a great job building their extension and that Jimmy Saville did a lot of good work for charity. (Sorry for the very British references. I would suggest you Google then, but if you don’t know who these people are, maybe it’s better to remain ignorant). These things may be true, but the murders, necrophilia and child abuse probably more than slightly discredit any past good work. Of course it’s not a very nice thing to compare Oniki even obliquely to these people. Don’t get me wrong, I think as everyone has said that he’s probably a nice guy. But just because you’re a nice guy doesn’t mean you’re the right guy or a good manager for us in 2024. Maybe we need to have a chat with him and say ‘It’s not you Toru, it’s me. I just see us more as friends and don’t think we should be a couple anymore’. I’d certainly be happier if he moved into the friend zone with the club where we can from time to time remember the good old days and not actually have to worry about the toxic effect he’s having on our lives anymore. Right now he seems to be in a death spiral. If he doesn’t try to salvage the situation somehow we’ll be in big trouble. But salvage probably means change, and that’s just not in his skill set.

In the first five minutes of this game we missed two absolutely wonderful chances, and we’d missed them to a ridiculous extent, not poking the ball straight at the keeper, more like the shot going out for a throw level of miss. As usual I pondered whether we would come to rue missing these chances. And of course we did. But the truth was, we were actually alright for large parts of the first half. Well, alright apart from the whole scoring goals and shooting on target thing. Oh and the not getting so dizzy after taking the lead that you immediately concede, as we did in both this match and in Hiroshima. At least in the latter we managed to avoid defeat and pick up one precious point. That wasn’t to be the case in this match. After scoring and then conceding I don’t think anything went right for us. I don’t know what Oniki said at half time but it was probably motivational stuff along the lines of ‘keep doing the same thing, but try to make it less progressive’. So perfect was his half time team talk that I think we failed to even have another shot till about the 70th minute. I can’t stress enough how hopeless his team talks and tactics seem to be. He turned a halfway decent first half performance into a parade of cock ups and a terrible defeat. I often think that he must have instructed the players to make sure that during goal celebrations they spin round at least 100 times in the same direction, ensuring that when the opposition kick off we’ll be so dizzy that they can just walk through us and score. Likewise when he is preparing subs we often seem to concede. Perhaps he’s told them that when they see a substitution being readied whoever touches the ball next will be taken off. Although right now that might mean that everyone immediately rushes to the ball, determined to end the unpleasant experience that is playing for us at the moment. Maybe that butterfly was a Frontale fan and was just begging someone to step on it to end the agony. Every time Oniki gets involved we fuck up. If he could just stay in the changing room for the next match and then lock himself in the toilet at half time I think we’d see a real difference in performance and result. 



Some of Oniki’s wisdom: 



- 3-1 down having made no chances in the second half? Probably best to change both of the centre backs right? 

- High wage foreign striker on the bench when you really need a goal? Best bring him on and play him out of position on the right wing and push a centre back up front. 

- Tactics and formation stinking up the place for about 3 years? Probably better keep going with the same stuff till every team in the country knows how to play against them. 

- Having trouble making Chances? Probably need a few dozen more sideways passes along the defence line.

- Absolutely terribly bad results from your awful management? Well, definitely don’t quit. It’s probably just a three year blip and those tactics will start working just as soon as our relegation is confirmed. 



He really should go. He won’t go. He really should be sacked. He won’t be sacked. We’ll get one flukey win in the next few games which will give him a stay of execution and then he can get back to what he knows best; truly dull, pointless and ineffective football.

This is going on too long. Let’s quickly bitch about the ref and the opposition a bit. The ref was Iida and as expected was shite, but equally shite to both teams I felt, so on balance had a good game. He seemed happy to let almost everything go, apart from randomly awarding some free kicks to keep us all guessing. He’s shit, but this was just regular level shit, so well done to him. Gamba seem to be a team quite like Frontale. Loads of pointless passing and a complete lack of progression. It should have been an utterly boring 0-0 draw. But somehow we came with a bit of fire in our belly and went for it and ended up scoring. Much like against Tosu we scored first and then capitulated. At least we didn’t capitulate four subsequent times in this match. Just the three goals conceded. Lovely! The general feeing from Gamba fans about the first half seemed to be that we were all over them and they needed a kick up the backside. With that in mind, it’s quite telling that even with us bossing it in the first half, at half time we still weren’t winning. We just can’t take advantage of erm… our advanrtages. Throughly shit stuff. I’m still annoyed about them shifting us up to the second tier. I’m sure it was mainly intended to stop the away team from building up any kind of atmosphere. It makes sense but doesn’t seem like a very honourable thing to do. And blimey, when you’re up there it’s a little vertigo inducing. It’s a steep stand and it felt like a gust of wind could cause a domino rally of Frontale fans tumbling forwards and ending up in a pile in the front bit of the second tier which also was off limits to us. Perhaps though they’ve put us up there so we can fully appreciate the large number of Japanese nationalist flags in the home end. They seemed to be multiplying as the game went on. I don’t really understand what kind of person prepares for a league football game between two Japanese teams by getting their dodgy flag ready and spending 70 out of the 90 minutes waving it. I dunno, maybe they really like the navy. Maybe they hate foreigners. Or maybe they’re just a bit simple. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to be a problem we have to deal with. I feel sorry for the majority of Gamba fans who don’t feel the need to express their love for an old flag with plenty of dubious baggage by waving it incessantly in a mindless way.

Ok, I probably need to say these last few things just to get them off my chest. I don’t think Kami is the answer in goal. He’s so wedded to the idea that he’s a crucial part of our build up as a hybrid sweeper keeper that I think he forgets he’s not an outfield player and consequently doesn’t think he can use his hands when he’s trying to stop the opposition from scoring. His new default pose seems to be with his arms extended sideways but with his head turned back, as if he’s now ready to save the shot that he’s just checked has already gone in. To be fair to him, he had some good games, but in contrast to the way that early-Frontale-form Erison was basically almost like a one goal head start, recently Kami in goal means that the opposition will get at least one goal for free. It’s not all his fault by any means, but I don’t think he’s the answer. Well, unless the question is which Frontale keeper is most likely to get caught in possession. People on Twitter who say he plays an important part in our build up play, please watch the whole game and not the highlights and notice the myriad times where endless passing between him and his defence with the opposition pressing more each subsequent pass ends up with Kami hoofing the ball upfield or off the field to give the opposition a chance to start a new attack. He’s in terrible form. But then again, so is… erm… everyone. And the other thing that really pissed me off in this match were the unnecessary and unsuccessful showboat passes. If you’re winning by a few goals, well, maybe it’s ok to do this kind of thing. Perhaps not very classy, but excusable I guess. But if you’re struggling to get anywhere near scoring maybe best to play the simple pass instead of the outside of the boot, no look pass which inevitably goes straight to the opposition. Ienaga did one amazing bit of skill in this game. Naturally it came to nothing. And in contrast, the multiple other times he tried something fancy, we lost the ball. It wasn’t just him though, it was a few players. Currently the effectiveness of our ‘tekkers’ is basically the equivalent of us setting ourselves up for an overhead kick into our own goal. Maybe it looks impressive if it comes off, (and that’s a big if), but it’s not doing us any good, and it’s actually doing us harm. It really doesn’t sit well with me that people are doing this kind of thing when we’re so shit.

Aaaaah, confidence at an all time low. No way we can even buy a win unless the opposition don’t turn up. What a time to be alive! But don’t blame Oniki, eh? If we’d tried hard and fallen short I think we could all accept that, given that we’re nothing like as good as we were when we were at our strongest. But right now our manager’s influence on what are good players is basically the same as someone trying to break the world record for fastest time to solve a Rubik’s cube but being told by their boss that it would be better to do it wearing boxing gloves. Even if the person attempting the record tried their best, it’s impossible not to be frustrated by the ridiculous barrier that’s been put in between them and success. We need massive clear the air talks between the players and the manager. We need an admission that the problems we’re having aren’t just little mistakes and an acknowledgement that the overall plan is absolutely not a good one. We need something fun (or at least slightly positive, or I’d even settle for not mind numbingly dull) and something different. Can Oniki deliver any of these things? Well, I don’t think so, but plenty of people remain convinced he can. Kashiwa Reysol at home next weekend. They’re five points ahead of us with a zero goal difference. You’d be a fool not to think that their points and goal difference won’t be better next Sunday. Will another horrible loss be enough to signal the end of Oniki? I don’t think so. Oniki seems to be something like back pain, or getting old. It’s not something you can really do anything about. You just have to accept it as part of life and begrudgingly learn to live with it.
 
Team

GK 99. KAMIFUKUMOTO Naoto
DF 30. SEGAWA Yusuke
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 3. OMINAMI Takuma
DF 5. SASAKI Asahi
MF 8. TACHIBANADA Kento
MF 17. TONO Daiya
MF 14. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro

FW 18. Bafetimbi GOMIS
FW 23. MARCINHO

Subs


GK 22. HAYASAKA Yuki

DF 2. TAKAI Kota
(on for JESIEL 77')
MF 6. ZE RICARDO (on for OMINAMI 77')
FW 9. ERISON
(on for GOMIS 67')
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki (on for TONO 60')
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (on for MARCINHO 67')
DF 31. Sai VAN WERMESKERKEN (Yellow card 47') (on for SEGAWA 38')

Goals

SEGAWA (Frontale) 26' 0-1
NAKATANI (Gamba) 28' 1-1

FUKUOKA (Gamba) 70' 2-1
KURATA (Gamba) 81' 3-1

Highlights