Sagan Tosu 1 - 1 Kawasaki Frontale
Stick or twist? -
In the previous post I wondered whether we would stick or twist after a disappointing result in Shimizu with the regular players playing. We stuck, and the disappointment and the fact that the result was a draw also stuck. Once again we played what apart from our left back and Oshima would probably have been a strongest eleven. Nobori and Kurumaya being injured at the same time is another indictment of our lack of cover at the back but at the same time could be considered a little unfortunate. Hatate actually did a decent job in this game though, I thought. Not many others did through. Oniki clearly intended to get as many points and as many goals as possible and set a very difficult to beat new J League record. I really hope he rethinks things a bit after this game as our first choice players were pretty mediocre. With one eye on the Emperor’s Cup, I wonder if it might make sense for us to rest some players whilst hopefully at the same time preventing them from sliding into further mediocrity and give some others a chance to either prove a point, make a statement or at least remember what they are actually employed for. Our last two games have been limp draws against two of the bottom five. We can be thankful the title is wrapped up as I wouldn’t like to be slipping into this kind of form if we still needed to pick up a few points. I’m not going to bang on about too much, but the main problems were a complete inability to play the ball out of defence, a midfield that was good at tackling but not good at keeping the ball for more than a couple of passes and a toothless attack. We were out-possessed by Sagan Tosu and only managed five shots on target in ninety minutes. Admittedly there are a total bogey team for us at our place, but we usually manage to at least do something in Saga. We didn’t really in this game unfortunately. Well apart from a really nice move for the goal. But that was cancelled out by another clanger of a goal conceded.
Again another gutless ref who seemed to be on a no cards given bonus. I don’t know if this is a directive from the top in a season where the games are coming thick and fast, but I really hope we see a few more bookings next season. Tosu clattered and pounded our midfielders for most of the game. Also, we were again robbed of extra time minutes. Iemoto made a big show of pointing at his watch and gesturing towards both our fans and players that he would be adding the time that a Tosu player spent rolling around on the floor after apparently taking a powerfully blasted ball to his... how can I put it? ... crackers? Seems that Iemoto had forgotten this when it came to actually adding time though as four minutes were deemed enough (four breaks for substitutions, the usual water break, two goals and the aforementioned cracker attack). Although to be honest, they probably would only have resulted in us conceding and losing so maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Next year VAR is back. And given how much of a disaster it has been elsewhere, why wouldn’t the J League look to introduce it? I’m sure I’ve made it clear in the past that I hate VAR and would love to see it completely abandoned and blasted off into space never to be seen again. Probably it will more likely result in people getting utterly fed up with football and me absolutely doing my nut as I have to start keeping track of which idiot is making the bad decisions on the field and which idiot is making the other bad decisions off the field. The numerous delays will also cut into after game boozing time. So yeah, I moan about refs being crap, and also moan about a possible solution to them being crap, which would seem hypocritical, but let’s be honest, VAR is more likely to massively increase the crappiness rather than cut down on it.
Here comes the real super analysis. Both keepers headed the ball in this game. Unusual! Alongside Covid there is another hugely contagious disease spreading round the league and that is Yokohama F Marinos keeper insanity. It seems that YFM train them up and then dispatch them round Japan. Sadly in this game there were no ‘Iikura chances’ but we came close on a few occasions. Typically, with YFM brand keepers, they also seem to be quite good at saving so it felt kind of inevitable when Park saved one of our shots with his face that we probably weren’t going to get past him on many occasions. As proved to be the case. Oh well. Mitoma seems to be feeling the pressure in his search for a historic first season goal total. And the rest of the team seem to be trying to give him shots as often as possible. Perhaps this was why he was withdrawn in the second half. Previously we thought he’d be unsubbable till he reached a new milestone but we’re running out of games now, and you’ve got to say that if Oniki did take him off to stop everyone on the pitch trying to give him a goal it was a pretty good decision! Let’s hope he can score a couple in the next match and the the pressure will be off and he can get a double hat trick away at Kashiwa. One of our front three hasn’t scored in a game away from home since mid October which is a bit worrying really.
Pretty low on detail, wasn’t it? Sorry! Next up is Urawa at home on Wednesday. Personally, I think Kengo and Mitoma should start and we should really shake up the rest of the team. I’d like to see Diogo, Miyashiro, maybe even Harada. I mean, what is the point of us having these players if they can’t even get on the pitch when the league is won and the first choice players are stinking the place up. Would be nice for Oniki to have something to think about before the Emperor’s Cup game. Urawa have had another rubbish year, therefore they will probably beat us easily and we’ll be even more confused by our deterioration. Still at least it seems we waited till after we won the league before we fell apart! After that, it’s the final league game of the season at Kashiwa. They have allocated us a generous 190 tickets which unsurprisingly sold out immediately so I won’t be going to that. But if I have to miss one away game, I don’t mind it being this one. Kashiwa praisers have probably never been in the away end as they seem to give absolutely zero shits about the away fans. Unfortunately though, that means most fans will miss Kengo’s last league game. Hopefully he can finish on a high. Ok, that’s it. GO (have a think and a bit of self reflection) FRONTALE!
GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 4. JESIEL
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo
DF 30. HATATE Reo
MF 6. MORITA Hidemasa
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto
MF 25. TANAKA Ao
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru
GK 27. TANNO Kenta
FW 9. LEANDRO DAMIAO (on for KOBAYASHI 67')
MF 14. NAKAMURA Kengo (on for IENAGA 77')
MF 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for MITOMA 67')
FW 19. SAITO Manabu (on for WAKIZAKA 77')
MF 22. SHIMODA Hokuto
MORITA Hidemasa - another decent game from a defensive point of view and can’t be blamed for our recent in front of goal dithering impotence.