Friday, 16 April 2021

Vs Avispa Fukuoka (home) 14/4/21 - J League match 19

Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 1 Avispa Fukuoka

The relentless schedule of Wednesday-weekend-Wednesday-weekend games continues. Somehow it feels busier this year than it did last year when a whole season was squeezed into what felt like one period of extra time. Hopefully this will mean that we have a manageable schedule when the ACL finally starts (whenever that might happen. Judging by recent events, it will probably happen over the course of a couple of days in November somewhere in a remote desert after several previous attempts have been scuppered by the fact that a highly contagious disease hasn’t been eradicated in the entirety of an absolutely massive continent). At the rate we’re going at the moment we’ll probably have our league campaign finished by then. I guess it does make sense to get as many games done as possible whilst we still can. The spectre of a COVID cluster looms as always. Kashiwa have another cluster, so that shows that even if you are unlucky enough to get a first batch, it still might be difficult to avoid getting another one. Or maybe that they are really not doing things the right way. Fingers crossed it’s not us next. And as long as we keep winning, I guess it’s good that we keep playing. We could all do with a break though. Newer additions to the injury list Hatate and Sung-Ryong seem to be still be out. I say ‘seem to’ as I don’t think we’ve had particularly concrete confirmation of Hatate’s situation. Nobori seems to be back but not up to 90 minutes yet. Yamamura in now out for 3 months (I think). And of course Oshima is still injured. We’re still pushing on with Yamane at right back though. I would have we probably should have tried someone else there by now as Yamane is definitely running out of steam a little. (He scored in this game with a lovely run in injury time after playing 90 minutes, perfectly making the previous sentence look absolutely ridiculous). After this weekends home game against Sanfrecce Hiroshima we have an 11 day break before a Nagoya double header which could really change the situation at the top of the table. Or could equally not change anything if we draw or exchange victories. Presumably we’ll try to put out the best side we have in both of the Nagoya games so maybe we’ll see some changes at the weekend. Or more likely given the upcoming break we will go with our best 11 again on Sunday and then give them all a rest. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come back to bite us. Anyway, this is a long introduction to what should be a brief post. I’m thinking that going forward, at least for the time being, I’ll probably go with the same paragraph titles as I have done recently. So here we go.

Us -

I did quite a lot of the ‘us’ talk in the intro so maybe this will be brief (or maybe not...). Interesting points from this line up were the return of Tsukagawa to the bench and a first appearance on the bench of Kozuka. The latter didn’t make it on to the pitch though, but maybe he will next time. Oniki does seem to like to introduce players slowly. I’m not sure who he would replace though as I imagine he’d play either in the middle or perhaps on the right up front. Just guessing though. Tono was once again in the midfield instead of further forward. I said in the last post that I hadn’t noticed him much in the FC Tokyo game but I paid a lot more attention to him in this match. At the start of the game I was a bit worried that he might not be suited to the defensive work he might have to do in midfield but it looked like he didn’t have any problems in this game. Also, I really like him bringing the ball forward bursting out of midfield so perhaps this really is a good position for him. I thought Wakizaka looked really good in this game too. He always goes under my radar so either he was playing much better than usual or in a slightly different way to usual. Or more likely, I was paying a bit more attention. I feel a little for Kobayashi on the right. I think it’s a position that suits him but he probably wants to be in the middle. I don’t think he helped his cause in that respect in this game as he missed a few good chances. But he was still a great asset on the right. It was telling that for Chinen’s goal both him and Kobayashi were in exactly the same spot so maybe Kobayashi is yearning for his old position. It is a credit to our number 11 that he is usually quite positionally disciplined when he plays on the right. Ienaga tends to wander all over the pitch. Perhaps Yu should cut loose a bit more, or perhaps him staying there is now part of an agreement that Yamane won’t spent quite so much time ahead of him as he has done recently. I dunno. Chinen up front worked out ok I thought. But both him and Kobayashi have the problem that Damiao is on fire recently. In his brief cameo in this game he managed another assist which I’m going to put down as a back heeled one, as I’m not sure what the proper term for that crossed leg sideways thing he did. His reaction to the goal was pretty good too. Very cool, but quite happy too. Just doing his job! Let’s not be all positive though! Taniguchi was a bit dodgy again. Perhaps he’ll be rested at the weekend with Jesiel and Kurumaya at the back. His tackle for the free kick that led to the Avispa goal looked ok from my seat but apparently from the replay was a pretty bad tackle and definitely a foul. Once again his passing was a bit off kilter. Hopefully he can have a rest and get back to his best. Tanno had another relatively quiet night. I don’t think he can be blamed for their goal. It was a lovely free kick. And he only had one other shot to save according to the stats I saw. Oh and poor Hasegawa just doesn’t seem to be getting any luck recently. He slipped at crucial moments on a couple of occasions. I hope he can get a goal soon and get back to his best. Overall, I think we didn’t quite hit the heights in this game. We had a lot of shots but couldn’t really trouble their keeper much. But to score three times with an average performance is pretty good by me! And it will please Oniki too given his stated aim of scoring three in every game. We’re currently four goals behind that schedule so we’d better get shooting (accurately).

Them -

Full credit to Avispa, they contained us pretty well for long parts of the game. As you’d expect from a team that has such a good defender as Nara playing for them. Nudge nudge. They didn’t threaten us that much going forward but if they had got a few more of their shots on target this could have been a much closer game. We shouldn’t forget that our third goal only came very late in the game and until then there was always a chance that a slip up (probably from Taniguchi…) would gift them a goal.  Much like against FC Tokyo, Yamane didn’t wander forward so much. Against the Chofu guys some people said this was due to them stopping him from doing so. If that is true then perhaps Avispa did the same thing and almost succeeded in doing so. Their free kick was a beauty and if you have set piece delivery and shooting like that there’s always a chance that you can score if the opposition give you the opportunity. Both Avispa and Tokushima seem to be doing a decent job of playing in J1 at the moment. It seems a bit tough on them that they got promoted in a season where four teams will go down. I’m not sure if they will be in the four. Certainly the relegation battle is going to be interesting this year and I’d say there’s every chance that a ‘big name’ could get sucked in (hopefully YFM or Kashima, hehe). But it’s still early days. In summary, I’d say we probably deserved to win, but Avispa didn’t deserve to lose by two goals. Looking forward to the away fixture so hopefully it won’t get Corona’d. 

Ref and VAR - 

Can’t remember any major VAR incidents again. I seem to be saying this quite frequently which is probably undermining my ‘I hate VAR’ sentiments. At the same time though, there are still plenty of VAR howlers going on in other matches so maybe we’re just getting lucky. I was astonished to see a new ref’s name on Flashscore for this match. M. Toma. Looked a bit suspicious given that our number 18 wasn’t starting. Thought that perhaps he was having a go at something different or maybe that Oniki had decided to do some conversion again and had reimagined Mitoma as a referee. Sadly the truth was much less exciting. It was Iemoto again but had been credited under his birth name. Wonder what's going on there.  I still say that he’s been extra bad for us since we clapped him away at FC Tokyo a few years ago. I thought in this game he gave us nothing. Well, he did give us a couple of yellow cards, but you know what I mean. Anyway this section is so repetitive recently that I’d encourage you to always just skip it if you’re not in the same anti-VAR and pro-moaning-about-refs camp as I am. There will probably never be much of interest for you here. One thing he did get very right was the rain and lightning delayed start of the second half. But I guess they just used a weather radar so maybe I’m doling out unnecessary praise here. I don’t think the lightning came particularly close and I remember us having to play in equally bad conditions (Kashiwa away that time), but to be honest, it really wouldn’t have suited us, so I’m not going to have anything to say against the decision to delay.

Next up, Sanfrecce Hiroshima at home on Sunday. They are in sixth but on a run of two straight defeats. Hopefully we can make it three. There’s plenty to dislike about them but somehow they never quite reach the heights of ire that other teams do. I wonder if we’ll get Tojo back to see if he fancies repeating his horrendous blunder in the same fixture a few years ago. A chance for redemption for him perhaps. And he has VAR to help him determine what is offside and what is never in a million years offside. After that, a break before the Nagoya double header. I’m just repeating myself now so let’s call it a day here. Go Frontale!


GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 5. TANIGUCHI Shogo (Yellow card 45+2')
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (Yellow card 78')
MF 19. TONO Daiya
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya

GK 21. ANDO Shunsuke
MF 3. TSUKAGAWA Koki (on for TONO 79')
DF 4. JESIEL (on for NOBORIZATO 79')
MF 17. KOZUKA Kazuki
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru (on for HASEGAWA 75')
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro (on for KOBAYASHI 75')

My Frontale Man Of The Match

This wasn’t a sparkling performance but it was a decent one. Not sure who to pick out particularly, so I’ll do a different kind of cop out this time and give it to…

WAKIZAKA Yasuto & TONO Daiya - I noticed Wakizaka doing great things on numerous occasions and I never usually do. Was I drunk at this game? Am I normally drunk but was less so at this game? Was he better? Who knows, but it only seems right to give him a share of the MOTM. Also Tono deserves a mention for putting in one of those ‘up against my old team performances’ with a goal and an assist. I said I wasn’t sure about him in midfield but if he keeps scoring and assisting I guess it shows that I don’t know much. As you probably already knew.


TONO (Frontale) 19' 1-0
SALMONSSON (Avispa) 45+3' 1-1
CHINEN (Frontale) 55' 2-1
YAMANE (Frontale) 90+5' 3-1


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