Sunday 25 December 2022

2022 season player round up part 3

This is the third and final part of the Frontale Rabbit 2022 season player round up posts. Today we're going from Miyagi to Oniki, who I realise isn't a player but who I always add to these posts. This will be the last post of the year but I'm still collecting responses for the season survey. I say collecting responses but only one person has bothered so far so please have a look at the questions here and send me some answers. So, yeah, this is it for 2022 and given that Oniki is the last person mentioned I guess I'm finishing 2022 perfectly ie. with a massive dose of negativity. Wonderful!

24. Ten MIYAGI (FW)

As mentioned in the Marcinho section, will be going out on loan next year and it’s understandable. Marcinho has really limited his opportunities but at the same time Ten hasn’t exactly grabbed his chance when given it. Perhaps didn’t get enough time to play himself into some form. Feel like he dribbles too far sometimes. He’s really good at it, but sometimes it’s good to pass before you lose the ball. Hopefully a season on loan playing regularly should really sharpen him up as we know he has a lot of talent. Good luck to him.

25. Renji MATSUI (MF)

Poor guy. Defensive midfielder who has almost exclusively been played out of position at right back when Yamane hasn’t been available. That wasn’t really that often even but it’s a bit of a bummer when you wait patiently for an opportunity and then when you get it you’re asked to do something unnatural. Looks pretty good on the ball as you’d expect knowing he’s played for Japan U23. Would love him to get a go at playing where he wants to next year, instead of being forced to play out of position. Had a few dicey moments when playing at right back and I don’t want them to affect his confidence. Think we’ll see a bit more of him next year.

26. Takatora EINAGA (FW)

Had a great debut, coming on as a sub and scoring but that was about it. Made it on to the bench a couple of times but only on to the pitch once, (I don’t acknowledge the existence of the PSG game). Looked dangerous when he played a half against Sapporo University in the Emperor’s Cup. Good on the ball and very attack minded. I won’t say he’ll be next year’s Mitoma, but if he did manage to get into the team, he could be very difficult to dislodge. I hope!

27. Kenta TANNO (MF)

Another season of sitting on the bench for Tanno and I can understand why he decided to leave. Delighted that he managed to remain unbeaten (results wise) in his time with us. But was a bit sad that even when he played really well more often than not he ended up conceding, and it was usually not his fault. Was definitely not as comfortable on the ball as Sung-Ryong and I think this is why he didn’t get more opportunities. But hope he’s enjoyed his time with us and wish him all the best.

28. Taiyo IGARASHI (FW)

Hardly any involvement aside from 45 minutes in the ACL but managed to get himself an assist. Makes sense that he’s going out on loan next year as he needs time on the pitch so I hope he’ll do well at Renofa, and perhaps follow in the footsteps of Miyashiro, who we’ll be seeing back next with us next year!

29. Kouta TAKAI (DF)

Good year for him but not really any involvement. Sounds a bit weird, but was still a member of the U18 team as well as having a squad number and they won their league and only just lost the final game at the national stadium. Also had some involvement with the Japan U20 team and was due to go to the world cup to train with the main Japan team. (Sadly that chance was messed up by COVID). We’re definitely short of defenders next year, so maybe he’ll be involved in some way in 2023.

30. Shuto TANABE (DF)

Few minutes in the Emperor’s Cup and a half against Guangzhou’s kids in the ACL and that was about it… until he went to JEF on loan and did really well. Has extended the loan for next year too. Was always a bit confused why he wasn’t a bit more involved as he is quite versatile, being able to play all the way across the back. Still young though, so perhaps there is a chance that he will be back at some stage and will play for us again.

31. Kazuya YAMAMURA (MF)

Yamamura always seems to suffer from being too versatile. Given that he can cover so many spots he inevitably ends up on the bench to cover for multiple possible emergencies. But thanks to our defensive crisis this year he played a decent amount of games at centre back. And at one stage seemed to be actually getting to play in midfield and up front. Pretty useful for those situations when we need to throw someone extra forward and lump it up to the big man ,which happened quite a lot in 2022. I hope he’s happy with his position with us as I think lots of people really like him. And his goal ‘celebration’ is always great. Hope to see it a lot more next year.

32. Shin YAMADA (FW)

Surprisingly started a game during our nightmare COVID crisis. Unfortunately I was traveling at the time and therefore didn’t see even a minute of the game, so I can’t and won’t comment.

41. Akihiro IENAGA (MF)

Many people’s player of the season and involved an insane amount given his advancing years. Most appearances, joint top league goalscorer and most significantly won the most Frontale Rabbit Man Of The Match awards,
he seems to be rolling back the years. In recent seasons has had spells where he seemed to really go off the boil and have some dodgy games but that didn’t happen to the same extent this year. Feel like he’ll probably need to be rested a bit more often next year but not sure how he’ll feel about that. I’m sure most fans will be delighted to see him putting away penalties and shrugging off opposition players for as long as possible.

Manager - Toru ONIKI

Not sure what to say really. I was really hoping he’d quit mid-season in our massive slump. I was really hoping he’d quit at the end of the season after we won nothing. I was really hoping Moriyasu would mess things up and Oniki would take his job. But none of these things happened. I was criticised a lot on Twitter for saying these things but suspect that I might know more about the state of the club and our performances than many people who had a go at me. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate what he’s done for us and I fully appreciate that he’s our most successful manager. But I think many people are letting his past achievements cloud what he’s done this year. I would love him to turn things round, but I feel that the only way he might do that would be by just carrying on doing the same things and waiting for our bad play to eventually change. And obviously that would mean a lot of bad games before we started doing a bit better which is clearly not a good thing. He’s been in this position before after the 2019 complete total failure season, (which was actually more successful than 2022), and he bounced back in style. Whether he is able to do so again in 2023, I’m not so sure. Our off-season recruitment doesn’t suggest that he thinks there’s anything much we need to change, but the total tedium of our 2022 performances suggest to me that there is a lot we need to do. Hopefully he can come up with some new ideas during his New Year break. I appreciate that when things go wrong he says he takes responsibility. But unfortunately that responsibility doesn’t seem to change anything on the pitch. I don’t enjoy moaning about him so would be delighted to see him back with a new plan and more success next year. And I’d also be delighted with a Christmas lottery win for me. I’m not sure which his more likely.

Friday 23 December 2022

2022 season player round up part 2

This is the second of three parts of my 2022 player round up post. Today we're going from Yamane to Marcinho.

13. Miki YAMANE (DF)

I feel like it’s been a bit of a difficult second album of a season for Yamane. Admittedly this metaphor is let down by it not being his second season, but hopefully you get the point. To many though he’s had a great season it seems. I suspect that they haven’t been watching very closely. Much like everyone else he hasn’t scored or created as much as in previous seasons. And he’s been caught out with his defending a lot more often. I say with his defending but it’s felt more like he doesn’t really consider that part of his job anymore. There’s also the very justifiable distraction that his national team call ups have given him. Completely understandable, but for me, someone who isn’t that bothered about international football, it did feel like he didn’t care much about Frontale at times. I’m sure though that this has at least something to do with the fact that he’s been mercilessly overplayed by Oniki. Give the guy a break from time to time! The only time it hasn’t been him playing at right back for us the reason was that he was on international duty. So basically he hasn’t had a rest for ages. I hope (but I’m not holding my breath…) that we’ll have someone who can step in to give him a rest from time to time next year. I suspect that even if we do, it will still be Yamane starting unless we get a radical change of direction from Oniki.

14. Yasuto WAKIZAKA (MF)

Wakizaka has stepped in the shoes/shirt of Kengo this year and at times it did look like the pressure was weighing on him. However, I think that on the whole he’s had a pretty good year. Second most appearances, joint fifth most goals and highest number of assists means that he’s been a crucial player for us this year. Feel like Oniki hasn’t quite worked out who to play him with in midfield yet though. And perhaps maybe that we need a bit of a rethink tactically to get the most out of him and our midfield as a whole. But credit to Wakizaka, who is something of an unsung hero for me. I often don’t notice what he’s doing but when I make a conscious effort to watch him he looks great most of the time.

15. Asahi SASAKI (DF)

Rollercoaster season for Sasaki. Scored a great goal away at Kashima 17 minutes into his first start. Probably wouldn’t have got the chance if it wasn’t for injuries though. The low of his season was probably his own gaol away at Kyoto. But given that he’d come from nowhere and then was playing 90 minutes every game it’s no surprise that something had to give at some stage. As usual it’s probably a matter of us not having enough defensive cover. And our losses to Shonan and Kyoto were far from his fault. All of our players were in awful form at that stage of the year. Perhaps more damaging to his morale than the own goal was him being dropped and replaced by a midfielder for eight games in classic Oniki style. I think he’s got great potential, I hope he doesn’t suffer too much from his slight set backs in 2022 and has a great 2023.

16. Tatsuki SEKO (MF)

Classic first season under Oniki for Seko (come into the squad as an exciting transfer, but then don’t get involved much at all until the second season). Scored one amazing goal and looks good taking set pieces. His confidence took a real bashing midway through the year when he started commenting that he was on his last chance to succeed which is horrible to hear. I hope he doesn’t think that anymore. Our midfield is massively crowded so it’s difficult to break in, but I hope he gets more opportunities next year.

17. Kazuki KOZUKA (MF)

After mentioning the classic first season thing for Seko, perhaps Kozuka is having an atypical second season. Usually second season players get involved a bit more but Kozuka still seemed to be struggling for opportunities again in 2022. Like Seko, suffers from our glut of midfielders (I feel like I write this every year…). Feel like he’s never really been played in his best position and allowed to attack a bit more, but this is just a bit of a hunch as I’m not really sure where his best position is. Feel slightly worried that the writing is on the wall for him, if not before the start of next year, then maybe halfway through next season. But we haven’t got any big name midfielders in yet, so maybe he’ll be safe.

18. Chanathip SONGKRASIN (FW)

The big transfer coming into the start of last season but has had a bit of a mixed experience this year. Seems desperate to do well and I wonder sometimes if that isn’t helping him. Played well out of position a lot at the start of the season, then played in a better position and unsurprisingly did better. Then got injured just when things seem to be starting to click. Really like the look of some of the passes he was trying and maybe the more he gets to know his team mates, the better things will get. Feels a bit like a lost year for him, but hopefully he should be able to hit the ground running next year.

19. Daiya TONO (FW)

Seems to have been played more in midfield than up front this year which I would have thought wouldn’t suit him so well, but what do I know? Would have loved to see him play in the Ienaga role a bit more often, but then again Ienaga had a pretty good year, so it’s probably not a surprise. He can really shoot but the further back he plays, the fewer opportunities he gets to hit it. Was involved on 40 occasions this year, but the majority of them were from the bench. Just wish we could rotate a bit more and give him some more chances further up the pitch. Fingers crossed for 2023

20. Kei CHINEN (FW)

Our most effective central striker in 2022 much to the surprise of some. Probably made more sense as a replacement for Damiao than Kobayashi for the whole winning headers thing and did take his chances more than others. Never looked like a totally natural finisher but did have a habit of putting the ball in the net. Bit of a surprise to see him going to Kashima, but maybe fancied a new challenge and perhaps decided to move after hearing Damiao was staying, (if he is, I don’t think it has been confirmed), and Miyashiro was coming back. Good luck to him except when he’s playing us and extra good luck to him for having to spend time with Yuma Suzuki.

21. Shunsuke ANDO (GK)

A classic Ando season. Hardly any involvement but made it onto the bench a few times. Weirdly didn’t even get a chance against the Guangzhou kids in the ACL. As I always say, I hope he’s happy with his position with us as he seems like a nice guy. With the arrival of Kamifukumoto, presumably he will remain third choice keeper next year despite Tanno leaving. Highlight of the year as far as I’m concerned was him playing the drums at the fan event. Good on him!

22. Yuki HAYASAKA (GK)

One for the future with hardly no involvement at all this year until the post season Asian tour. Seem to remember him looking pretty good in that game, but it wasn’t exactly a real fixture. Was a member of the classic three keeper benches against Urawa and Cerezo. Would have loved to see him make his debut as an outfield player but it wasn’t to be. We’ll see if next year he gets a go, even just to sit on the bench. 


Definitely an option for our player of the season as for long periods he was our most potent/only attacking threat. Feel like he’s really made the left attacking spot his own now after a start where things went well but not perfectly for him. Most goals, second most assists, we would have been in a lot of trouble without him. Was very happy when he turned down a big money move to Egypt to stay with us but slightly worried that might not have been completely his decision and that the story might not be finished. With Miyagi going out on loan, you’ve got to think that we are confident that he’ll be with us next year. Check out his Instagram to see his awesome outfits. I’m not a fashion lover but I can still appreciate someone with some style!

Thursday 22 December 2022

2022 season player round up part 1

This is the first of three parts of my 2022 player round up post. Today we're going from Sung-Ryong to Kobayashi. I'm sorry that there is quite a bit of negativity in these comments but it wasn't a great year, was it? There is a fair bit of Oniki moaning in here too which should irritate plenty of people. Part 3 will contain my Oniki season round up so that should be interesting. Anyway, here's part 1. Parts 2 and 3 should be following tomorrow and the day after.

1. Sung-Ryong JUNG (GK)

Another good season for the player who seems to be our perpetual number 1. Actually Sung-Ryong was one of my picks for our top player of the season when I got asked to nominate three. We conceded a lot more goals this year, but I don’t think this was in any way due to our keeper. He always gives our defence confidence and I’m worried for us when we don’t have him in goal. Particularly as Oniki seems reluctant to give any of our other options a go unless it’s absolutely necessary. Perhaps this will change with the arrival of Kamifukumoto and we could see some rotation. But that’s not really that Oniki like is it?


Injury plagued season for Nobori but he showed his worth when he was available. With Kurumaya increasingly being used as a centre back it will be Nobori who will be showing our young left backs the way. Let’s hope he can stay fit next year. Definite mood-maker in the camp too, which when we’re not doing well is a pretty important thing, I think.


My shirt for the 2022 season and transferred to rivals FC Tokyo a few games after the shirt finally arrived. Can’t feel angry at him though as like many others, he never really had much of a chance with us. Did an amazing job when he had to fill in at left back for most of a game due to injuries. Always gave 100% but did seem to lack the polish that other players have. At FC Tokyo almost helped us take one step closet to the title due to his two goals against YFM. But we messed it up on the same day, and then also on many further occasions. Good luck to Tsukagawa at FC Tokyo where he seems like he’s really valued and appreciated.


Injured for most of the season and sorely missed. Why we didn’t sign any cover I’ll never know. Well actually I probably should have expected it as we never do that, do we? The change to the team when he did return and we could play two centre backs at centre back was extreme. He’s clearly one of the best players in our squad and I am in no doubt that we would have won the league if he hadn’t been injured for so long. The fact that we knew he would be and did nothing still irritates me. Which is obvious as I’ve mentioned it twice already in this paragraph. His highlight of the season for us is undeniably his winner against YFM. Hopefully he can stay injury free next year.


Pretty good season for him. In the past I’ve been perhaps a little harsh on him but this was more to do with the fact that it seemed that he wasn’t treated the same way as other centre backs. (Definitely seemed to get preferential treatment as far as I could see). He was clearly an important player for us. The past tense in that sentence is because he is set to leave, probably for the dizzy heights of the Qatar league. Bit of a weird transfer as far as I’m concerned and I thought the rumours were just a ploy by his agent to get him a nice pay rise. But it seems he’s going. Always has a clanger in him but largely avoided them this year. Apart from Cerezo at home where he directly contributed to their first three goals. But otherwise looked really solid I thought. We’ll miss him, and I can’t help but feel that perhaps his exit will leave a little bit of a bad taste in the mouth. Well, depending on where he goes anyway. But good luck to him anyway.


Spent the start of the season looking like he was about to be scapegoated unfairly and sent into the wilderness again. But this time he came back. When we had a total lack of left backs and Oniki started playing Tachibanada there Joao came back into the team and made himself undroppable. I thought he was clearly one of our best performers in the second half of the season. But we now have the problem that he and Tachibandada both play best in the same position. Oniki trying to play both of them together really seemed to blunt our attack and given that Oniki doesn’t seem to want to play any other way, I’m not sure what will happen next year. We’ll see I guess.

7. Shintaro KURUMAYA (DF)

Apparently wants to play at centre back now, which is fortunate as Oniki seems to be in agreement. I think I’d rather have him at left back though. But has done a decent job wherever he played so well done to him. Saved us against Ulsan in the first ACL game. Will be an important player next year as we’re starting the season without one of our first choice CBs. Let’s hope he can grow into the centre back spot and occasionally do his thing at left back too when required.


Did amazingly in 2021 and did well again this year. Thought he would be the next player to leave but was maybe scuppered slightly by Oniki shifting him out of position all the time. I think he plays best in the defensive midfield spot and I don’t really want him playing anywhere else. But we do seem to pick the players first and then squeeze them into the usual formation, so I suspect his ‘versatility’ might mean he is shifted elsewhere at times in 2023. Presuming things stay the same tactically, as they almost certainly will.


Tough season for him. Was playing pretty well I thought, but not really scoring goals which I think was affecting his morale. That just seems to be the case with whoever starts for us up front though so I hope he doesn’t feel bad about it. His injury was a bad one, and I missed it as I was rushing to the toilet at the time. There was a feeling that he would be leaving us at the end of the season but this seems to have disappeared recently. Perhaps due to the injury. So I guess he’ll be back in 2023, and I hope for his and our sakes that it will be more like 2021 than 2022 for him.

10. Ryota OSHIMA (MF)

Another season wrecked by injury. There was a rumour that he was considering retiring at one stage this year which would have been a massive shock. When he came back he showed what he could do. But it was all a bit too late for us. There’s not much else to say as he was absent for so long. Fingers crossed for 2023.


Another weird season for Kobayashi. In 2021 I’m sure he felt quite disheartened by his relative lack of success compared to Damiao who couldn’t stop scoring. In 2022, Damiao also couldn’t score and then got injured so Kobayashi had his chance but couldn’t really take it again. When you have both Damiao and Kobayashi not being able to score you’ve got to think there’s something wrong with the tactics perhaps. But don’t ask me what that is. I would say that our tactics don’t help the central striker score a lot of goals, but we used the same tactics in 2021 and it wasn’t a problem then. Although I guess it started being a problem towards the end of the year after Mitoma left. But then we replaced Mitoma with Marcinho who was our main attacking threat in 2022, being our top scorer and second top assist maker. So I dunno basically. Every time Kobayashi plays you can see how hard he’s trying and how much he wants to score but things just don’t work out for him. Even though he managed nine goals in 2022 you’ve got to imagine that he wouldn’t have been satisfied with that. Let’s just hope we can play a little differently in 2023 and that will suit him and will get him back into form.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

2022 season round up

Normally this is a lengthy in-depth blog post but honestly, I can’t really be bothered to go onto much detail when talking about 2022. Since Oniki started our lovely run of titles in 2017, this was the first year in which we won absolutely nothing. I kind of knew it would happen when at the start of the season we slightly irritatingly added the sixth star on our shirt as the first of a second line, suggesting that it would be only a matter of time till we’d be getting more. But that wasn’t to be, and it wasn’t really a case of ‘close but no cigar’, but more of a bit of a disaster on all fronts. Of course it’s ridiculous to call us finishing two points behind YFM in the league a disaster. (But that’s the kind of thing you come here for, right?). However, there were so many awful results on the way to that second place finish that looking back, 2022 just feels like a massive run of missed opportunities. Of course we lost important players before the start of the season, but we still had enough in the squad to get the job done. At least as far as I’m concerned anyway. I had something of a mid-season meltdown when I got totally fed up with Oniki’s inflexibility and constant poor choices (as far as I’m concerned). After that came to a head, the second half of the season was quite a relaxed one for me. I knew we weren’t going to win the title. We did come annoyingly close in the end though and YFM being as inconsistent as we were meant that they left it very late to completely extinguish our hope. I’m going to write a bit about each competition below, but before that let’s think about some positives we can take from the 2022 season. Erm…. errr… There aren’t any, I think. Let’s hope 2023 is a bit better. 

Super Cup

The season kicked off with a game against Urawa for the Super Cup. We lost and were absolutely clueless and awful. So pretty much a good introduction to 2022. If you win this game you’re pleased. If you lose it, you just say it’s a meaningless competition and basically a glorified pre-season friendly. We were so bad though that I could only feel more worried about what might be coming rather than happy to write it off as meaningless. This game saw Chanathip being played out of position and being ineffective, something which was utterly obvious to many, but apparently not Oniki as he persevered with it for quite a few more games afterwards. Terrible game, terrible start to a terrible season. So utterly fitting, I guess. 

Levain Cup

As we were in the ACL we were parachuted into the competition at the quarter final stage. Even so, we didn’t make it any further and bowed out at the first time of asking. We took the lead in both legs, and gave it away very late on in both legs too. Particularly shocking was the second leg where we were winning 2-0 as the board went up for injury time in the second half and then conceded twice to go out on away goals. You’ve probably got to say too that we had what Oniki considered to be our best team (or at least best available team) out in the second leg. Looking back at my blog post, it seems that we didn’t take our chances which is something of a theme for 2022. 

Emperor’s Cup

Compared to other competitions in 2022 we had a great run in the Emperor’s Cup this year. Well, we didn’t go out at the first opportunity. We smashed a team of university students 5-0 at home but when it came to playing a team with professionals in it we lost. Tokyo Verdy didn’t have a great 2022 but they were good enough to beat us and our dull football. This game came at the height of my Oniki despair. I’ve managed to blank out most of the experience but my blog post said that even though some might blame the result on us playing some reserves, my take on it was that whoever we selected we would have struggled with our awful tactics. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?


We were targeting the ACL in 2022 apparently. But we did still start with one of our usual total failures to play in a game against Ulsan, only managing to scrape a draw with a goal from Kurumaya which was gifted to us in the 94th minute. A bad game about which I said ‘total lack of ideas’, ‘a dull, dull game’. We followed it up with a walloping of Guangzhou’s U18 team from which we could take a bit of positivity. And then were brought crashing back to earth by a 0-0 against Johor. We didn’t even have a shot on target. Quite how we went from that 0-0 to beating Johor 5-0 in the same stadium three days later, I don’t know. But then we messed it up again in the following game against our Kryptonite team Ulsan which we dominated but failed to take our chances in. This put us in a bad position going into the final game but we should have been ok as other results had gone our way somewhat. But then Ulsan scored an own goal in the 94th minute handing Johor a surprise win, allowing them to top the group and leaving us in second. Which in any normal year would have been fine but due to the different format of the competition in 2022 meant that we went out as we weren’t one of the better second place finishers. But we got what we deserved anyway, as we were rubbish. Something which was exemplified by our final game where we totally dominated against the Chinese kids team and only managed to score once even though we had 81% possession and 23 shots (nine on target). We didn’t take our chances. Again.


It’s a miracle that we finished second, only two points behind YFM. 2022 was a season of some truly horrible results but many more truly horrible performances where we squeaked something. Looking back, the league season kicked off in perfectly typical style for 2022. We didn’t deserve to beat FC Tokyo and we squeaked a truly unfair but utterly delightful win late on. This was the case in many games in 2022. But not the case in the following game where we were rubbish against YFM and lost. My post said ‘Somehow now we can’t pass, tackle or keep the ball. And all of our players have forgotten how to play.’ I could go through the whole year just quoting myself moaning about every game but that would be pretty tough I think. So instead let’s just look at some lowlights. Shonan home and away. Jubilo home and away. Kyoto away. Urawa away where we had to put three goalkeepers on the bench. But of course all teams have bad games over the course of a season. My problem is more that we were so lifeless, dull and blunt pretty much all year. As I said, even when we won, on many occasions we had played very badly and got lucky. It wasn’t much fun to watch and I’m glad it’s over. But I’m a bit worried we might just carry on in the same way in 2023.

So in brief, we had possession, we had shots, we couldn’t score and we couldn’t defend. You can’t really blame Oniki for our strikers not being able to score. You probably can blame him for a complete inability to come up with any kind of plan B when things weren’t working. We overplayed it often, apparently wanting to walk the ball into the net. Confidence was low on many occasions. Our play and our manager drove me nuts but eventually I got over it and just didn’t care much. Which isn’t great, but was a lot less stressful. I guess plenty of people will disagree with me on my interpretation of 2022, but however you feel about it, we can all agree that we came out of it with nothing. Well apart from a lot of disappointment. I think we’re not particularly going to do any better next year but at least we can look forward to Albirex Niigata away. Yokohama FC away is not as exciting from an away travel point of view. We haven’t had to follow up a complete failure season for a while, (2019 was the last one and we managed at least the Levain Cup), so it’s an interesting way to be going in to a new season. Hopefully we can bounce back like we did in 2020, rather than 2022 being the second step is a long decline. I guess it has to happen sooner or later, but if we could avoid it next year, that would be nice.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

2022 season player stats

Here are this year’s player stats. They’re a bit flakier than usual as I have put them together in a bit of a rush. Next year, I’ll note them down as I go. Last year I had the appearances as starts, used subs and unused subs but the thought of going back through all of my blog posts over this rotten season wasn’t that appealing. So this year we have all appearances lumped together which I guess loses a bit of the nuance of people coming on only for five minutes as subs and stuff like that. Top performer charts are at the bottom and I’ll put a few thoughts on those stats beneath each chart.

AP = appearances
Y = yellow cards
R = red cards
G = goals
A = assists
MM = man of the match (according to me)

1. Sung-Ryong JUNG (GK)

AP 41 Y 0 R 1 G 0 A 0 MM 1


AP 14 Y 1 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0

AP 13 Y 1 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 2


AP 14 Y 2 R 0 G 1 A 0 MM 2


AP 41 Y 3 R 1 G 3 A 3 MM 1


AP 30 Y 6 R 0 G 2 A 0 MM 3

7. Shintaro KURUMAYA (DF)

AP 28 Y 3 R 0 G 4 A 0 MM 0


AP 41 Y 2 R 1 G 2 A 2 MM 0


AP 29 Y 1 R 0 G 7 A 1 MM 1

10. Ryota OSHIMA (MF)

AP 12 Y 0 R 0 G 1 A 0 MM 0


AP 39 Y 1 R 0 G 9 A 5 MM 2

13. Miki YAMANE (DF)

AP 38 Y 5 R 0 G 3 A 6 MM 0

14. Yasuto WAKIZAKA (MF)

AP 42 Y 1 R 0 G 7 A 10 MM 0

15. Asahi SASAKI (DF)
AP 27 Y 4 R 0 G 1 A 2 MM 2

16. Tatsuki SEKO (MF)

AP 19 Y 0 R 0 G 1 A 1 MM 0

17. Kazuki KOZUKA (MF)

AP 17 Y 0 R 0 G 1 A 3 MM 1


AP 21 Y 4 R 0 G 2 A 3 MM 0

19. Daiya TONO (FW)

AP 40 Y 1 R 0 G 2 A 1 MM 2

20. Kei CHINEN (FW)

AP 36 Y 3 R 0 G 11 A 2 MM 1

21. Shunsuke ANDO (GK)
AP 0 Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0

22. Yuki HAYASAKA (GK)
AP 0 Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0


AP 40 Y 2 R 0 G 15 A 7 MM 2

24. Ten MIYAGI (FW)

AP 28 Y 0 R 0 G 2 A 2 MM 1

25. Renji MATSUI (MF)

AP 4 Y 1 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0

26. Takatora EINAGA (MF)

AP 1 Y 0 R 0 G 1 A 0 MM 0

27. Kenta TANNO (MF)

AP 5 Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 1

28. Taiyo IGARASHI (FW)

AP 1 Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 1 MM 0

29. Kota TAKAI (DF)
AP 1 Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0

30. Shuto TANABE (DF)

AP 2 Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0

31. Kazuya YAMAMURA (MF)

AP 32 Y 2 R 0 G 1 A 1 MM 2

32. Shin YAMADA
AP 1  Y 0 R 0 G 0 A 0 MM 0

41. Akihiro IENAGA (MF)

AP 43 Y 3 R 0 G 12 A 5 MM 5

Most appearances

1. Akihiro IENAGA - 43
2. Yasuto WAKIZAKA - 42
3. Kento TACHIBANADA - 41

3. Sung-Ryong JUNG - 41
3. Shogo TANIGUCHI - 41

It’s kind of shocking that the player with the most appearances was Ienaga, who is 36 years old. He was definitely one of the best performers though so obviously the hard work didn’t blunt his performances too much! Slightly shockingly he was involved in every single league game. And even more shockingly, he made it on to the pitch in every game we played this year apart from one. There were quite a lot of high numbers in this category which I guess isn’t surprising as Oniki doesn’t like to rotate much.

Most yellows

2. Miki YAMANE - 5
3. Asahi SASAKI - 4
5. Akihiro IENAGA - 3
5. Kei CHINEN - 3
5. Shintaro KURUMAYA - 3
5. Shogo TANIGUCHI - 3

Nothing much to see in the yellow card stats really. I’m not sure how fair it is to say this, but I think Joao Schmidt and Chanathip probably got yellows they might not have done if they were Japanese. It definitely seems to be the case that foreign players get booked for stuff that Japanese players don’t. I would also say that maybe Chanathip was desperate to do well and perhaps that’s why he got stuck in a bit too much at times. Maybe. A lot of yellows for Yamane too, probably because, (in my opinion), he couldn’t really be bothered for most of the season, got caught out and had to make some dodgy fouls to make up for his mistakes. But then again I would say that.

Most reds

1. Kento TACHIBANADA - 1
2. Sung-Ryong JUNG - 1
3. Shogo TANIGUCHI - 1

Three reds only. Of course all the opposition players cheated in all of those situations, right?

Most goals

1. MARCINHO - 15
2. Akihiro IENAGA - 12
3. Kei CHINEN - 11
5. Yasuto WAKIZAKA - 7

Ienaga and Marcinho scored the joint most goals in the league, but Marcinho topped the charts with his goals in cup games. Damiao was number one last year with 31 goals! Over twice as many as the winner got this year. Perfectly in keeping with how this season felt, I guess. The top five had 74 goals combined last year. The top six this year got 61 goals. But there were more games last year.

Most assists

1. Yasuto WAKIZAKA - 10
3. Miki YAMANE - 6
4. Akihiro IENAGA - 5

Last year’s assist king Yamane dropped into third place this year. I won’t moan about him again though. Wakizaka stepped up to take his place. There’s probably not much to say about assists other than that.

Most Frontale Rabbit ‘Man Of The Match’ awards

1. No-one - 10
2. Akihiro IENAGA - 5
4. Kazuya YAMAMURA - 2
4. JESIEL - 2
4. Daiya TONO - 2
4. Koki TSUKAGAWA - 2
4. Asahi SASAKI - 2

The runaway winner here was my grumpy ‘absolutely no-one deserved it’ awards. I should add that I don’t give these for games I don’t attend and those occasions aren’t included in the winning total. Neither was when I couldn’t really pick someone as no-one stood out. I should make it absolutely clear that on ten occasions this year I thought we were so useless that it pissed me off. Other than that, it’s no surprise that Ienaga got the most awards. I totally accept that my man of the match awards are often a little different from other people’s opinions, but that’s the benefit of writing a blog, I guess. Nice work Tsukagawa for getting it on two occasions, one of which was after he’d transferred to FC Tokyo.

Monday 5 December 2022

2022 season ref stats

Here we go with the first of my 2022 season round up posts and as always I'll start with the easiest one to do, the ref stats. I think I always say that these stats are kind of pointless as obviously every game is different and has different card worthy incidents. Therefore, if you believe that all refs apply the same rules, (and of course we always are talking about the consistency of refs in the J League, aren't we?), comparing how many cards they've given doesn't really make sense. I do think it gives us a bit of an idea though of how we should feel about various refs. I've added the 2021 totals at the bottom, not just to rub in how awful we were this year compared to last year, but also to show how many more cards we picked up in 2022. I guess this comes with the territory when you're struggling a bit. In 2021 we had four more league games as there were two extra teams in the league. We had four extra cup games too. That was because we were awful in the cups this year. Even with eight less games, we still picked up 17 more yellows and three more reds this year. It hasn't been much fun, has it? To focus a little on the refs, and ignoring those who we've only had a single game with as we should probably consider more than one game to make these kind of sweeping generalisations, our big ref buddies this year were Fukushima, Kimura, Sato and Shimizu from a points gained point of view. Conversely we should be moaning about how few points we've gained in Araki's and Matsuo's games. The most card happy refs to us were Araki and Ikeuchi. Shockingly Kasahara didn't send off any of our players this year (at least not directly, think he was involved in one VAR decision). In conclusion, Fukushima was the best and Araki was the worst (the second part of which I guess I suspected before compiling these stats, but I had some others in mind too). Let's hope Fukushima refs all of our games next year and then we'll come away with a perfect points haul and no cards all year. But let's not cheer his announcement like some did with Iemoto a few years ago turning him against us for the rest of his career. Yes, I'm still bitter.

G - Games refereed
W - Wins
D - Draws
L - Losses
Y - Yellow Cards
R - Red Cards
AVC - Average number of cards per game (yellow = 1, red = 3)
AVP - Average points for us per game

G 4 W 0 D 2 L 2 Y 7 R 1 
AVC 2.5 AVP 0.5

G 1 W 0 D 0 L 1 Y 0 R 0

G 2 W 2 D 0 L 0 Y 0 R 0

G 3 W 2 D 0 L 1 Y 2 R 0
AVC 0.66 AVP 2

G 2 W 1 D 0 L 1 Y 7 R 0
AVC 3.5 AVP 1.5

G 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 Y 0 R 0

G 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 Y 0 R 0

G 2 W 2 D 0 L 0 Y 3 R 0
AVC 1.5 AVP 3

G 1 W 1 D 0 L 0 Y 1 R 0

G 2 W 0 D 1 L 1 Y 1 R 0
AVC 0.5 AVP 0.5

G 1 W 0 D 1 L 0 Y 2 R 0

G 2 W 1 D 0 L 1 Y 0 R 0
AVC 0 AVP1.5

G 1 W 0 D 1 L 0 Y 1 R 0

G 3 W 1 D 1 L 1 Y 3 R 1
AVC 2 AVP 1.33

G 3 W 3 D 0 L 0 Y 6 R 0

G 2 W 2 D 0 L 0 Y 1 R 0
AVC 0.5 AVP 3

G 2 W 1 D 0 L 1 Y 2 R 0
AVC 1 AVP1.5

G 2 W 1 D 1 L 0 Y 1 R 0
AVC 0.5 AVP 2

G 3 W 2 D 1 L 0 Y 1 R 1
AVC 1.33 AVP 2.33 

G 38 W 21 D 8 L 9 Y 38 R 3
AVC 1.23 AVP 1.86

G 46 W 31 D 13 L 2 Y 21 R 0
AVC 0.45 AVP 2.3

Sunday 4 December 2022

2022 Season survey questions

Here is the 6th annual Frontale Rabbit Blog survey. Totally cut and pasted from last year's one. Maybe the answers will be a bit depressing this year though... If you have any questions you think I should add, please let me know and I'll put them in. Please reply any way you want. Leave a comment on the post, send me an email to frontalefan(at)gmail(dot)com, tweet them, Instagram message me…. any way you can think of really. I'll follow up collating the answers when I've got some responses. And in the interest of getting as many replies as possible, it's in Japanese too. Thanks!

Frontale Rabbitブログの年末恒例アンケートも5年目になりました。質問は昨年とほぼ同じですが、これ以外にも聞いたらおもしろいと思う質問があったらお知らせください。返答方法は自由 - ブログコメント欄、メール(frontalefan(at)gmail(dot)com)、ツイート、Instagramのメッセージなど。返答が集まったら結果を報告します!

 1. Game of season

2. Player of the season

3. Goal of the season

4. Disappointment of the season

5. Villain of the season (anyone, from any team or an official or...)

6. Best away trip (if you've done one)

7. Best stadium in the J League

8. Opposition J1 team you like the most

9. Opposition J1 team you like the least

10. Team you're pleased to see come up

11. Best thing about the J League

12. Worst thing about the J League

13. Trophy you would like to win the most next year

14. What’s your view of Oniki?

15. If you could have any J League player sign for Frontale, who would it be?

16. Which former Frontale player would you most like to see us re-sign?

17. What’s your prediction for next season?

18. How do you feel about us having lots of players leaving for Europe?

19. How was VAR for you?

20. Any other comments