Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Vs Oita Trinita (home) 2/4/21 - J League match 7

Kawasaki Frontale 2 - 0 Oita Trinita

Another win, and some nice results in other games means that this was another good weekend for us. Let’s not be too optimistic though! It was again quite an underwhelming performance but as long as the results are turning out positive I guess I’m not going to complain too much about less than sparkling performances. With a few players returning from international duty it was no surprise that there was a bit of shuffling of the pack when it came to the starting line up. Bizarrely though, I think this was mainly down to injuries, (and people recovering from injuries) rather than any national team tiredness. I was lucky enough to get a VIP ticket for this game. You will therefore get some better photos this time round. VIP tickets come with free beer though, so don’t expect me to really remember anything about the match. Aside from the photos I think this post might be plumbing new depths for this blog. I think your best bet for this post is instead of reading this, just watch the highlights, draw the obvious conclusions, invert one of these conclusions apparently completely randomly and moan a little bit whilst trying to make a few jokes. Bingo! You have your own Frontale Rabbit blog post! I’m pretty busy right now, so maybe we should adopt this strategy for the next few posts too. So, apologies in advance. This is going to be pretty vague.

Nobori is back from injury so we can rest Hatate. Actually let’s play him in midfield instead. Sung-Ryong seems to be injured as he hasn’t been training. Neither has Yamamura, so we tread one terrifying step closer to possibly having the defensive crisis that we’ve probably been long overdue. We’ve been quite lucky with injuries and suspensions at the back so far considering how light we are in those positions. Hopefully that luck can continue. Hatate on the left of the midfield didn’t seem to create the same chemistry with Mitoma as it does when he plays at left back. It also should be noted that Hatate looked a bit miffed when he was subbed. I guess he was finally getting a chance to play a bit closer to his preferred position and ended up getting changed. Tono coming on for him saw Mitoma move to the left of midfield and it didn’t really seem to work. Not sure why Oniki didn’t drop Ienaga back into midfield as he’s done before. Perhaps he was trying out some new combinations. Or perhaps he was just doing that weird two stage subs thing that he seems to have inherited from Kazama and likes to do from time to time. I’m not sure if it has ever really worked. To explain slightly, to me it looks like our first change(s) disrupt things positionally and then the second change(s) move people back into a more comfortable positions. In this game it ended up being Hatate off, Mitoma moving backwards and Tono to the Mitoma position whilst Ao replaces Wakizaka like for like. Then eight minutes later, Mitoma comes off for Hasegawa who moves forward, pushing Tono over to Ienaga’s spot who is replaced with Tachibanada who fills the gap that Mitoma was playing in after the first set of changes. Bit like one of those puzzles where you have to rearrange the tiles to make a picture with only one empty space to allow you to manoeuvre things. At least that’s how it seemed to me anyway. Perhaps the reason I never see the benefit of these kind of two stage changes is because if the first part of the change ever works it negates the need for the second. Perhaps… But let’s be honest, we pretty much do the same subs every game so I think it’s unlikely that a potential two stage change ever goes under the radar. All a bit confusing that, and not sure why I spent so long writing about it to be honest. Just something I think I have noticed anyway. A couple of brief observations on players' performances. Tanno is surprisingly vocal! It was quite interesting to hear him barking out instructions. Perhaps the instructions and organisation was part of the reason that he didn’t have to make a save in this game. Damiao was on fire from the point of view of nice little lay offs in the first half I thought. And Joao seemed to be everywhere again, involved in everything, tidying up nicely and always available. Kobayashi went straight down the tunnel at the end of the game so I suspect that he might have picked up some kind of injury. Hope it isn’t anything serious. It doesn’t seem to have affected his messaging on line though as I’ve had a couple of updates from him, so perhaps everything is ok.

I feel I should write something about my general feelings on our team performances this year. Certainly we have quite an act to follow up on from last year. I think I’ve said before (if not on here, then certainly on the J Talk podcast), that I wonder if the pressure of repeating last year is weighing on us slightly. We’ve had quite a few ordinary performances so far this year but seem to have got away with them for the most part. I wonder too if its more that the excitement of last season is weighing on the fans a bit too. Or perhaps me anyway. I’m already feeling a bit burnt out with the onslaught of games. Maybe not burnt out, maybe more slightly tired of them. Whilst the experience of going to games looks to be getting better again (the drums were back at this game and there were opposition fans too), aside from the goals, long periods of our games are not exactly exciting to watch. This could be a kind of arrogant thing to say though, I suspect. In the past we would gladly hoover up any wins no matter how dire the performance,  but after we set the bar quite high last year a 2-0 win seems more like a 0-0 draw. I don’t know if it is just me feeling this way. Perhaps it is, and I should examine the rest of my life a bit more than projecting it onto Frontale, but there is a bit of a spark missing, even when one of our most exciting players scores twice in a match. In some ways, it feels a bit like ten pin bowling, darts or baseball in the way that once you get to a certain level of play your games are decided by you under-performing rather than over-performing. Mistakes change results rather than moments of brilliance. So perhaps we now expect greatness and notice more when we underwhelm. Clearly this is all going to irritate lots of people. Particularly coming on the back of a 5-0 win away at Urawa, but that was very much out of character this season, (perhaps because it was an away game… hmmmm, we have played at home a lot so far this year…). And lord knows I much prefer this kind of season to the year before last where we found new ways to disappoint every few weeks. And there’s no way I want some defeats to break up the monotony and give us something to bounce back from. But things are quite predictable recently and I’d like a bit of a spark now and again on the pitch or in the team selection perhaps. The next two games could provide some of the former I guess but perhaps in a negative way. Of course I’d rather we don’t have a breath of fresh air in the form of a couple of defeats though.

Finally, the usual ref and VAR part. Tanimoto was a new ref for me I think. Can’t remember ever hearing the name before. Didn’t make any notes about him which suggests he had a good game or I wasn’t paying attention. Or both. Think there was only one little VAR delay too, bizarrely when there seemed to be nothing to check. Even though it has again not interfered with the game much I still hate it.

Next up, Sagan Tosu at home on Wednesday. More often than not this is a nailed on 0-0 bore draw, but this year they are doing really well and perhaps we’d be pleased to come away with a dull as ditchwater goalless draw if they hit their heights. They did just get pegged back a little by Cerezo. After that we travel along the Tama river to Chofu city in Yamanashi… is it? Hang on, maybe it’s Fukui. I dunno, certainly not in Tokyo anyway. This ‘classic banter’ along with my thoughts on us being a bit lacklustre all adds up to a couple of defeats and then you can and probably should blame me for jinxing things. Sorry in advance. And in an attempt to counter my jinxing, GO FRONTALE!

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 47. HATATE Reo 
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru

GK 21. ANDO Shunsuke
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for MITOMA 89')
FW 19. TONO Daiya (on for HATATE 72')
MF 22. TACHIBANADA Kento (on for IENAGA 80')
MF 25. TANAKA Ao (on for WAKIZAKA 72')


My Frontale Man Of The Match

Honestly I can’t remember that much so I’ll give it to…

JOAO SCHMIDT - I made a note about him being tidy and that was about one eight of all of my notes on the game so that suggests he did well in my opinion.

MITOMA (Frontale) 39' 1-0
MITOMA (Frontale) 66' 2-0


No comments:

Post a Comment