Monday 7 October 2019

Vs Shonan Bellmare (away) 6/10/19 - J League match 28

Shonan Bellmare 0 - 5 Kawasaki Frontale

I give up! Where did that come from? After an absolutely rotten performance against Vissel Kobe, Oniki picked the same team (for only the 4th time this season) and we hammered Shonan. I think there’s nothing I can really say now, so muddled is everything that I thought I knew. This was a much needed tonic for Frontale fans and I’m not going to write loads picking holes and finding things to moan about. I might write a little about it, but not loads. For now I’m just going to enjoy the result and enjoy the fact that we won away at Shonan, a game which we always seem to contrive to turn into a frustrating draw. Miracles do happen it seems! Here’s what we might have learned from this match.

Turn back the clock and party like it’s 2018 -

At least with the front four anyway. Kengo and Ienaga looked rejuvenated, Kobayashi put away his first chance confidently, we looked exciting going forward. At least in the first half anyway, which admittedly was at the other end of the pitch so perhaps my view wasn’t the best. But yeah! Goals!!! And a clean sheet!!! One slight downside was that Ienaga looked pretty pissed off when he was changed, and to be honest, who can blame him? He was playing much better than he had previously this year. He was involved! Perhaps though he should take being subbed as a compliment, as it normally seems to be the players who are playing well that Oniki changes (see, I knew I could get a moan in). After he potentially expressed some criticism, or at least commented on Oniki last week in his post match thoughts, I was surprised to see him start. I will also be surprised if he is still with us next year. Along with a few other players. This will be a shame as judging on this performance he seems to have worked his way through his dodgy spell now. I wonder if something has been said behind the scenes and some air has been cleared as there seemed to be an all round better mood in the team. Clearly this was a performance with a very different feel to recent games and given that it was the same eleven as against Kobe, you’ve got to wonder where such a change came from.

The cloud of the silver lining -

This is another victory which is very welcome, but has to be taken with a pinch of salt given the opposition. Shonan looked awful in the first half, focusing so hard on kicking lumps out of us that they forgot to try to play football. Akimoto had a bit of a nightmare fumbling most things he had to deal with. We have to remember that they lost 6-0 to Shimizu last week. They are very much not a good team right now. So are they awful and Shimizu and us are average? Or are Kobe and Urawa (who beat Shimizu this weekend), totally amazing, Shimizu and us good and Shonan merely not very good? It is the J League just being the J League? There have been some really weird results this season and maybe they are continuing. We still need to remember that our only two league wins in our last nine games have been against Jubilo who are rock bottom and Shonan who must be rock bottom of the form table and are flirting very forcefully with the drop zone.

Any other grumble business -

I’m going to round up my other grumbles into a quick little paragraph to get them out of the way. I realise it’s churlish to complain after winning 5-0. In spite of the result, I’m still not sure this was the correct team to pick. I really don’t know why Arai is getting picked over Sung-Ryong as until this game they’d both been conceding at least two a match. Although to give Arai some credit he did pull off a great save in this game. Morita at right back and Kurumaya at centre back still doesn’t work, with both of them naturally seeming to drift towards where they are comfortable and used to playing. We didn’t concede, but I think this again is more to do with the opposition. And again, the subs seemed nuts. The Ienaga change was mentioned above. Kengo off for Hasegawa means again moving Abe to the left (after which, he unsurprisingly lost his spark). And Mawatari on for Nobori means that we have a right back playing at left back and a midfielder playing at right back. I don’t think we’ll get away with that against Kashima. Oh and, I don’t know why they’ve put those seats in behind the goal, but it seems that it has severely reduced the capacity. As usual, there seemed to be a lot of people with a less than ideal view. If I hadn’t got to the stadium six hours before kick off I’m not sure we would have been able to find a space, and there were only two of us. And apparently our end hadn’t even sold out!

But yeah, forget my moaning. It seems I know nothing and I’m quite happy to look stupid if it means we win every week. I imagine with this result Oniki would have been flicking me a middle finger if he was aware of my constant criticism. But yeah, I’ll take the abuse. If only we could have started being not poor a bit earlier we might still be in with a shout as FC Tokyo seem to be stinking things up as some predicted. We now look like we could have a shot at an ACL place but one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and we have a tricky run in, so let’s not get too confident yet. Also, I was kind of looking forward to those Levain group stage games. But yeah, forget all this, and watch those highlights a few times. We scored some nice goals, so let’s enjoy them and make the most of some positivity while we can. Next up Kashima at home on Wednesday in the Levain cup...


GK 21. ARAI Shota
MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MF 41. IENAGA Akihiro 
MF 8. ABE Hiroyuki

GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for NAKAMURA 70')
DF 17. MAWATARI Kazuaki (on for NOBORIZATO 81')
MF 28. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (on for IENAGA 64')
MF 34. YAMAMURA Kazuya 

My Frontale Man Of The Match
Oniki has left me with a tricky decision in this game as he removed both of the players who I thought were in for a shout for the man of the match. In spite of the scoreline, this didn’t seem like a game in which we played magnificently, so I’ll go on what happened before the subs started and give it to...

IENAGA Akihiro and NAKAMURA Kengo - dunno what they’ve been eating or drinking or thinking, but they both seemed really up for this game and we’re both a real menace going forward. I don’t know if they were being rested with Wednesday in mind, but it was a shame they couldn’t have continued as I think we would have scored some more goals and recovered some more confidence.

OWN GOAL (Frontale) 15' 0-1
NAKAMURA (Frontale) 21' 0-2
ABE (Frontale) 26' 0-3
KOBAYASHI (Frontale) 35' 0-4
HASEGAWA (Frontale) 81' 0-5


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