Monday 11 December 2017

2017 Season Player Round-Up Part 1

Like last year, this the first of three parts, where I give my thoughts on how people did this season. So, here you are, squad numbers 1-10. Parts 2 and 3 to follow soon.

1. JUNG Sung-Ryong

Awesome season for one of our most important players. Saved us on numerous occasions. We wouldn’t have won the league without him. Feel that he probably should have been in with a shout of being in the team of the year, but it wasn’t to be. Excellent at making saves and a crucial part of us building attacks from the back. We never do as well when we kick it long, so his sweeper skills are vital for us.


This year Nobori finally proved his song right. He ‘got goal’ and it was a crucial one away at Kashima. He’s probably not going to force his way into our starting line up but he’s a vital squad member coming on as a sub and covering for injuries.

3. NARA Tatsuki

Cemented his place as a starter this year. Really seems to care about the club and is 100% committed. Perhaps has a tendency sometimes to roll around on the floor after being fouled but maybe this is just youthful exuberance. Got a couple of reds but the ACL one was a complete joke so won’t hold it against him. After a few long term injuries, it’s good to see him have a season where he was involved a lot.

4. IGAWA Yusuke

Quiet season for Igawa and his last one with us as his contract has been terminated. It’s a shame as he’s been with us a long time, but realistically speaking, he’s wasn't going to get much, if any, pitch time next season. Unlucky for him that his last game was one where he was played totally out of position in the ACL. A real early blunder from Oniki. Good luck to him!


Another good year for Taniguchi. He seems to now be our first choice centre back and has in the last few weeks got another call up to the Japan national team. Feel like he also was unlucky to not get named in the leagues best 11. Kashima conceded one less goal than us but took both of the centre back spots for some reason. Taniguchi has chipped in with the goals too, eight this season. And when he was called on to play in the Neto role away against Hiroshima he did a good job. That’s apparently actually his preferred position, but I think he’ll be a playing a crucial part in our defence for the foreseeable future, unless he leaves to move elsewhere.

6. TASAKA Yusuke

Maybe not the season he was dreaming of as he hasn’t been able to play as much as he might have wanted or probably in his preferred position. Provided crucial cover for Elsinho who was injured at the start of the season, but realistically doesn’t stand much chance of displacing him permanently. His versatility means that he’ll always be a useful player to have on the bench. Whether he’s satisfied with that is up to him I guess. Extra marks for picking up a yellow card whilst on the bench!

7. KURUMAYA Shintaro

Great year for him. He’s now moving towards being a serious contender for a regular national team spot and at the moment is the only one of our players who is getting picked for the real Japan team and not the one when they choose J league players only. He also has played loads of games. For a period this season he was the only player who’d played every game. This is perhaps due to a lack of cover in his position, but also speaks volumes about his importance to the team. He has consistently created chances and goals this year whilst keeping up with his defensive duties. Unsurprisingly made it into the J League team of the season. The only blot was his sending off against Urawa in The ACL, which was perhaps a little unlucky, but difficult to argue too strongly against. I suspect he will move overseas at some stage but hopefully not too soon for our sake.

8. ABE Hiroyuki

A great first season for him. Took a little while to settle but soon grew into one of our most dangerous attacking options. Feel like he plays better up front with Kobayashi on the wing, but he’s done well on the left too. This year he’s broken his record goal tally, finishing up with 14 altogether. Also he’s never been shy of contributing defensively. When he arrived I think he was a little worried about being out of Kansai, but now it really seems like he’s settled in well. And just got called up to the national team for the first time!

9. MORIMOTO Takayuki

Another weird season for him. He’s a useful option for us, giving us a bit more muscle and bulk up front but has been a bit inconsistent when he’s been called on. Scored a perfect hattrick against Shimizu in the Emperor’s Cup and has chipped in with some important goals. Has also been mentoring and advising Chinen which could be his most important contribution to the team right now. Think he’d have to move on to get regular football, but if he’s happy with his current role, I’d be more than happy for him to continue with it. Chinen looks to be his natural replacement but is still a little raw, so we still need Morimoto, I reckon.

10. OSHIMA Ryota

Decent season somewhat disrupted by injury due to Kobe’s rotten pitch. Has a nice partnership with Neto in the middle. Doesn’t seem to shoot as much as he used to, which is a shame. Surprisingly strong for a small guy and his tackling is getting to be as good as his passing. Had a few dodgy games, but still a crucial piece of our jigsaw.

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