Sunday, 23 May 2021

Vs Yokohama FC (home) 22/5/21 - J League match 15

Kawasaki Frontale 3 - 1 Yokohama FC

Delighted that we got another win in another banana skin game. Perhaps that's where the delight finishes though as after a bright but slightly sloppy first half we really eased off in the second and consequently it was pretty hard to watch. Not saying it was terrible, and I'm probably sounding a bit like a spoilt child. The complete lack of atmosphere doesn’t help the excitement level when we are only going through the motions though. Hopefully we’ll soon be able to get some more people in and the drums back. In the meantime, keeping going with the wins, even if it has to be with not not a great deal of excitement is still good for me. We’ve got another game coming up on Wednesday so let's get this post out of the way.

Us -

We went with pretty much a first choice starting eleven and bench in this game. I thought we would at least use some late subs to try some things out for the upcoming games where we’ll have five players missing on international duty. Apparently Oniki didn’t want to though. Some have said that this was because one of those games will be the return fixture against Yokohama FC and therefore we shouldn’t give them any hints. I guess these people have never heard of opposition scouts or the possibility of checking things on the internet. It seems slightly weird as you would have thought it could be in the interest of any incoming players to actually have a go against a team they might play against. The concept of hiding our tactics seems a bit weird and reactive. I would have thought we would have been a bit more confident about our prospects in an away game against the bottom team in the league who we have just beaten but it seems we aren’t. Also, the possibility that our tactics would be changing in any way is a bit amusing as all we ever do is change players rather than systems. And why should we when we’re doing well? A plan B might be a nice option at some stage though. Anyway, I think we missed a huge opportunity to blood some youngsters in the later stages of this game. Add to this the fact that we were pretty useless for most of the second half. Clearly we took our foot off the gas and Yokohama put their foot on the gas. It’s a shame though as we’d been quite bright if a bit sloppy in the first half. If it wasn’t for our old friend wayward shooting we could have been home and hosed within the first half hour. It felt a bit like our subs didn’t do anything again in this game but I think the momentum had swung away from us by then so I don’t think the subs are to blame. There were a fair few tired performances though but I’m not going to single anyone out in particular. It was just a matter of job done at 3-0 so we eased off. I don’t think we’re going to reach Oniki’s target of an average of three goals a game at this rate though. The real joyful aspect is that both Nagoya and YFM drew, so even though we didn’t turn up for almost half of the game we have still extended our lead! Lovely! I feel I should mention Damiao’s once again awesome pressing in this game which directly lead to Ao’s goal. Not forgetting some lovely work from Ao to get the ball in the net and a lovely celebration from Damiao who looked almost as pleased to have nicked the ball from the keeper as he would have been to score. I hope he can get back to scoring ways soon as his efforts really deserve a goal. Wasn’t to be in this match though. 

Them -

Last time they came to Todoroki Yokohama FC decided to start the match with all three of their ‘seniors’ on the pitch which seemed like either a bold or insane move. This time they were all nowhere to be seen. I think they probably did a bit better in the first half last year though bizarrely. In the first half of this game they looked very shaky and it seemed clear why they are at the bottom of the table. Their defence looked on the whole to be a bit of a shambles. Unfortunately their last line of defence blocks were amazing. So on quite a few occasions we were able to stroll through their back four without a care in the world and then just as we shot a leg would appear from nowhere and deflect the chance. Going forward they had a few decent chances, particularly in the second half. Their goal should have served as a bit of a wake up call but it didn’t really. Thankfully for us their two best shots, both of which went in, came in the same move with Sung-Ryong just about managing to stop Kleber’s header, (but doing so behind the line), and then having no chance with the follow up. Our seats were perfectly positioned to be able to see that the initial header had probably gone in. The weird thing is that it seemed to get referred to VAR to determine the goal scorer. Kleber had a real go at the linesman when he thought he wasn’t going to get the goal. He then celebrated by himself when the goal was awarded to him. Not sure if he’s very popular with his teammates or not, but he really wanted that goal. Some might suggest that it’s a bit of waste of time using VAR to change a goalscorer. Others might say that the fact that VAR gave the goal to Kleber shows that it is a force for good and accuracy. I’d say that both arguments are quite like VAR; a bit of waste of time and an irritation. Talking of Kleber, he seemed to be on a one man mission to destroy Taniguchi. They tangled on numerous occasions with one nasty tackle earning the YFC man a yellow card. He’s certainly a ‘physical’ player. Taniguchi got him back though with a nice challenge close to the touchline. Quite a battle between them!

Ref and VAR -

The ref in this game was Iida and he was a bit of a flake. Someone in our Line group referred to him as 'reffing like a school teacher', with the attitude that 'I know better than you wanker students', which I think is spot on. Maybe he's looking to take that role on from Nishimura when he retires. Please let that be soon. Right from the start I thought he was never going to give Damiao anything. Not sure if he has past issues with him or not but the way he gestured at him when refusing what looked like a free kick to me (of course it would), was pretty unprofessional and quite arrogant I thought. He looked visibly angry with him. The linesman also had a go at Hatate when he didn’t put his water bottle back in the right place. It would have been directly in the way of where the linesman was due to run though so it was probably fair enough! The same linesman had been having a fair bit of trouble keeping up with the play though, so any impediment would have hindered him further. The thought of the water bottle being in the way was also seemingly hindering his flagging arm as it was coming up really late. Oh no, that’s just this really annoying new procedure. I can see how it makes sense in certain situations but when the attack is over and the defending team have control of the ball I don’t understand what the point of putting the flag up is. Is it just to say, ‘I saw that, but was waiting to see if anything happened. It didn’t, so now I am proving that I saw it and that I’m dead good at this linesman thing. Spot on!’? Iida did give us our first opportunity to see a penalty this season. There have been none either given to us or given against us so far this year. No VAR grumbles again apart from the previous mentioned question as to whether it should be used to clarify a goalscorer. But perhaps it wasn’t. Certainly seemed like it was though. But yeah, I’m having to scrape the barrel recently for VAR grumbles. But I’ve heard that there was another disastrous decision/use of it to deny a red card for YFM. I haven’t seen it, but it will come as no surprise to you that I totally agree with everyone who says it was a definite red. So I guess the fact that I have had nothing to moan about recently is probably more to do with luck than anything else. 
Possibilities -

A final bonus section here at the end, regarding what we should maybe be doing in the next game. Our international call ups mean that we are going to be without five starters for the away game against Yokohama FC and the Emperor’s Cup game the following Wednesday. Thankfully Taniguchi and Yamane will be joining the national team late so they and the U24 players (Hatate, Mitoma and Ao), will be available for the Kashima home game at the end of the month. Seeing as Yamane has been an ever present at right back this year and for almost all of last year too you’ve got to think that whoever is going to play there might need a bit of practice before they are thrown in at the deep end. Nothing was tried in this game though which leaves us with only Shonan away on Wednesday or the Kashima home game to try anything out. Perhaps leaving it a bit late! Who will play there is something of a mystery. We have Issaka Zain who is right back but has never even made a bench. Likewise, I’ve heard Tanabe could maybe play there but is equally inexperienced. Another option is Nobori playing there with Kurumaya on the left, or vice versa. I think we tried both of these last season at some stage and unsurprisingly a left back at right back isn’t a great fit. This would also use up our centre back cover option (if Yamamura is fit again and starts) or our centre back starter (if Kurumaya gets the nod there). Unless Kamiya will be the defensive cover sub. I don’t know if the versatile Yamamura could give it a go. Seems doubly risky given that he’s coming back from injury but at least he has experience of actually playing. I’m not ruling out another conversion of a midfielder or striker. I think my money is on Tono. Just have a feeling that it would mirror the Hatate conversion and he has moved back from the attack to the midfield so the obvious next step would be to defence if we follow the Hatate trajectory. I can’t see Oniki giving a young player their debut there. It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing he does. At the same time, you’ve got to wonder why we have these players in our squad if they can’t even get anywhere near the bench in a time of defensive famine. Oniki putting off trying something till the last possible minute is like a kid leaving all their homework till the last night of the summer holidays. Or perhaps he’s like the prodigy pupil who can just knock it out on the way to school and still gets the best mark in the class. Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting seeing who plays there, and whether they will get a chance to have a go at it beforehand or just get slung in on the day.

Weird game really. The first half was exciting due to our general wastefulness but at least there was a feeling we were going to score a few. The second half we were in neutral and was actually quite a hard watch. Thankfully we didn’t end up taking the ball into the corner and trying to waste time. That might have pushed me over the edge! Next up Shonan, who I guess are the last of this banana skin run. They’ve been doing better than some people expected them to this year but are still not far above the relegation zone and recently lost to Yokohama FC. ‘The form book goes out of the window in a derby’ though. Hopefully my cliche book and my whinging book will remain un-defenestrated and will be drawn from extensively for the next blog post. Go on Oniki and surprise us with a bit of preparation for the upcoming defensive shake up. Go Frontale!

GK 1. Sung-Ryong JUNG
DF 13. YAMANE Miki
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 18. MITOMA Kaoru

GK 27. TANNO Kenta
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro (on for NOBORIZATO 86')
MF 8. WAKIZAKA Yasuto (on for HATATE 64')
FW 16. HASEGAWA Tatsuya (on for MITOMA 78')
FW 19. TONO Daiya (on for IENAGA 78')

IENAGA (Frontale) 19' PEN 1-0
TANAKA (Frontale) 28' 2-0
MITOMA (Frontale) 47' 3-0
KLEBER (Yokohama) 63' 3-1

My Frontale Man Of The Match


There were a few candidates in the first half but most of them blotted their copy book at some stage. Joao Schmidt was again pretty great but I’m always giving it to him so I’ll try something different and give it to….

TANUGUCHI Shogo & JESIEL - seems tough to single one of them out on this occasion as both had decent games and dealt with the ‘physical’ Kleber pretty well for most of the game. Weird that I’m giving it to the two centre backs in a game where we played the bottom team in the league who had only scored ten times in 14 games and got one against us. But you know, I try to at least keep this slightly interesting.


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