Tuesday 17 September 2019

Vs Jubilo Iwata (home) 14/9/19 - J League match 26

Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 0 Jubilo Iwata

As seems to always be the case recently, I’ve left it a bit late to do this post. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten everything about the game. This was a welcome return to winning ways in the league and has perhaps got people excited again. Let’s be realistic though, this was a pretty fortunate result. Jubilo hit the post very early in the game and the bar in the second half. We scored twice, both times with the ball miraculously passing through the keeper’s hands and went on to miss a hatful of pretty easy chances. Kobayashi was the main culprit again, though Hasegawa also missed when it looked easier to score. But we won! But it was against the bottom team in the league... So, I dunno, take some optimism from the game if you want, and I suppose a win is better for morale than anything else, but I feel like this game demonstrated our shortcomings as adequately as some of the recent defeats and draws. If you want to be ultra negative, and lets be honest, I usually do, this was also a result which is going to paper over the massive cracks in our season and delay any possible change of manager. Jubilo are a horrible team of cloggers who managed to dominate possession against us at home, mainly because we kept giving them possession though absolutely rotten passing. I guess at least we are shooting a bit more recently. But when three of those shots were the absolute solid gold clangers that we dropped in this game, perhaps shooting a lot becomes pretty meaningless. Anyway, here’s what we might have learned (but probably already knew), from this game.

Da Mystery of First Teamin’-

Yeah, I know that title doesn’t really work, but never mind. Basically what I’m trying to express (repeatedly, post after post after post...), is that I don’t think anyone knows who our first team are now, least of all Oniki. It seemed like he’d done a bit of rotation for the Levain Cup but after those two games we went with a pretty similar team in this game. This was a brave selection from Oniki and I suppose you could say it paid off, but you could probably equally say that we might have won more comfortably if he hadn’t been so ‘brave’. Perhaps the biggest shock for me in this game was the fact that Arai started in goal. Sure, Sung-Ryong has been a bit wobbly recently but I thought, as had been the case for the past few years, he had a lock on the goalie spot. Perhaps Oniki was looking to stem the flow of goals recently, but to be honest Taniguchi has been at fault for most of them and he’s undroppable (previously because he was an Oniki favourite, and now for that reason also but particularly as we have zero cover in that position due to Michael James being allowed to leave and Jesiel joining Nara on the sidelines through injury. I heard that Nara is back in training so perhaps we’ll see him soon. Yamamura, the right footed attacking midfielder, did a decent enough job though I don’t think he’s suited for that position. It’s funny isn’t it, that Yamamura is another player who could probably do a job on the right of midfield, but we’re still preferring to play left wingers there? Anyone would think that the manager hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing. But anyway, back to Arai. He also did a decent job, keeping a clean sheet but not really having a great deal to do as Jubilo seemed to only either hit the woodwork or blast wide. We do definitely lose something with him not being as good on the ball as Sung-Ryong, but I guess you could say he’d kept a clean sheet so deserved to stay in the team, rather than be replaced by Sung-Ryong who has been conceding an average of two goals a game recently. Oh, that’s right, Arai also conceded twice in the last game, didn’t he? Maybe a clean sheet now gets you two games before you’re discarded. Oh, and you know that striker who came on in the last game and scored? Of course he was never going to get a starting spot. Much better to retain the guy who can only score when it’s disallowed. We were begging for Leandro Damiao in this game as the Jubilo defence were a bunch of hefty brutes kicking lumps out of our forward players. Of course he didn’t make it off the bench though. I dunno, this is all a mystery to me now. I have no idea what Oniki is thinking. I have no idea what some people have to do to get consecutive starts in this team. I have no idea what some people have to do to not get a start. With four of our top five earners in the squad on the bench, (see here for the wages), something seems a bit strange. Either we’re paying some people way too much, or we’re picking the wrong teams.


Up to this point I have jokingly referred to Oniki being a secret agent of Kashima trying to destroy our club but being so useless that we did well in spite of his efforts. I’ve also ‘joked’ about him having a problem with our current and former Brazilian players. I wonder perhaps if Oniki is actually being employed by Urawa fans instead as he has finally reached his
apparent goal of fielding a ‘JAPANESE ONLY!’ team. Even the subs he made were Japanese. Recently I can’t help but feel he doesn’t want Brazilian players. He certainly doesn’t cut them the same slack regarding performace as he does certain Japanese players. Perhaps he also doesn’t like Koreans. And New Zealanders. I know this is all ridiculous, but I’m pretty sure Neto left because of a bust up with Oniki, Edu was clearly an extreme last resort for him and frozen out completely most of the time, Elsinho despite being constantly one of the best right backs in the league decided to go for a new (mid-table) challenge at Shimizu as he felt undervalued by Oniki. This year, Jesiel was nowhere near the team until Oniki was left with almost no other option. Leandro Damiao and Maguinho could score double hat tricks and still get rotated out for the next few games. I don’t seriously think he’s a racist (although I suppose it could be true). But the fact that players who aren’t Japanese seem to be held to a different standard to Japanese players does seem to be almost a dictionary definition of racism. There’s a reason that there are limits to the number of foreign players in the J League, presumably to stop rich clubs naming a team of eleven foreigners brought in on big wages and running away with the league, (sorry Vissel, maybe soon they’ll change the rules for you). Foreign players provide an option for teams to supplement their team with talents and skills that they may not be able to find in the available Japanese player pool. After two big money DAZN titles, we’ve instead decided to use up our foreigner spots paying players to sit on the bench. Presumably we hired an extra translator this year because they would have a lot more work on, trying to keep our foreign signings occupied on weekends as they wouldn’t actually be needing those players to actually play football.

The usual substitutions moan -

The only explanation I can find for another set of useless changes by Oniki is that he was actually going for the Japanese only thing. Even when our left winger is subbed, Abe is still not allowed to play there, being kept on the right. Then the other two subs were pretty stupid, replacing a midfielder with a striker, therefore moving to 4-4-2. Then 13 minutes later removing a striker for a midfielder and switching back to the previous formation. I thought managers were supposed to use subs to change the game for the better. Oniki seems to use them to muddle things and give the other team a chance. Wakisaka had played pretty well, being our biggest attacking threat and being presumably full of energy given his youth. But he was still changed. The only possible reasons for bringing Kengo on in the 78th minute were either to add to his J League appearance total (actually, do sub appearances count?), or to frantically try to return us to the shape that Oniki had destroyed through making the previous change.

Songs of (exaggerated) praise -

Two weird things happened with songs in this game. The first felt pretty bad to be honest and although I am an enthusiastic song singer I couldn’t bring myself to participate. When the keepers come out for their warm up we ALWAYS do that BANG, BANG, BANG-BANG-BANG, BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG, OLE! song. BANG being used here to represent the sound of a drum and clap, not particularly accurately. Instead we greeted the keepers entrance by singing Arai’s song, presumably sending a clear message to Sung-Ryong that despite being our number one for the past three years, we were delighted to see him on the bench. it felt really weird to be honest. By all means celebrate the fact that someone else is getting a chance, but I felt that it could only be taken as a bit of a diss to Sung-Ryong. I wonder if he’ll be leaving at the end of the season. The other weird song thing was that that OOOOOOHHHHH song that is usually reserved for us when we’re leading by three or four goals was wheeled out at 2-0. I know us doing well has been a bit of a rarity recently, but have we descended so far that leading 2-0 at home against the league’s bottom team is enough for us to wheel out out beautiful football domination song? All seemed a bit weird to me and I wonder if our recent shittiness has sent everyone a bit crazy.

J2bilo -

Bit of a cheap shot, and one which works much better when spoken rather than read, but there’s really only one place that Jubilo are going to be playing next year and it’s in J2. They were rubbish. When they weren’t booting us all over the pitch they were booting the ball off the side of the pitch. There was a real lack of quality on show from both teams, to be honest. I know they could have scored twice when they hit the bar, and that they looked a bit better in the second half, thanks to Oniki’s tactical tinkering, but the fact that they were bad against us, a team some rotten form at the moment shows just how bad they are this year. Moriya must be really regretting his decision to move there. He won’t get picked because he’s not a tall guy who kicks people. Hopefully he can find a new club next year, even if it is another J2 team as I wouldn’t wish Jubilo on anyone, even my worst enemy. I feel for their fans!

Oh, and goals -

Oh yeah, we scored and it was another one for Wakizaka (drop him immediately!) and a first goal for Yamamura, with a finish that, surprise surprise suggested that maybe he isn’t best suited to playing at centre back or in defensive midfield. There’s no point telling Oniki though, as hardly anyone gets to play where they want to in this team.

Next up, an away Emperor’s cup tie at Kobe. Possibly the least enticing draw possible, apart from maybe another trip to Kashima. I wanted to go, but the fact that it would involve an overnight stay, plenty of expense and I would be doing the trip by myself put me off. Also the dynamic pricing probably means that we’ll be charged ¥10000 per ticket in order to recoup some of the outlay for their latest ex-Barcelona player. Kobe are rubbish, but let’s not forget that we also are rubbish. Can’t say I’m that confident, but it would be lovely if we could effectively end their season. Although I suppose they are still in a relegation dogfight. After that, it’s… Kobe at home in the league the weekend after next. If we could only win one of these two matches, I guess the cup would be better, as the league is over and done with, barring a miracle. Two wins would be a lovely slap in the face for Mikitani tough, so let’s all hope for that. Go Frontale!


GK 21. ARAI Shota
DF 17. MAWATARI Kazuaki
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo (Yellow card 21')
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya

GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 2. NOBORIZATO Kyohei (on for HASEGAWA 65')
MF 14 NAKAMURA Kengo (on for KOBAYASHI 78')
FW 20. CHINEN Kei (on for WAKIZAKA 65')
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro

My Frontale Man Of The Match
As said above, not exactly a great performance, but given that he’s keeping Kengo and Ienaga out of the side in that central midfield spot, (although who knows what Oniki’s really thinking. Perhaps they’re being rested for when we have nothing to play for in any competition…), it has to go to...

WAKIZAKA Yasuto - still quite raw, gives the ball away at times, but does it in a way that makes me think, ‘ooooh, that was a good idea that didn’t quite come off’, rather than ‘what on earth are you doing?’ Seems to want us to score goals! He even shoots! Keep it up Yasuto!

WAKIZAKA (Frontale) 22' 1-0
YAMAMURA (Frontale) 35' 2-0


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