Sunday, 21 May 2023

Vs Yokohama FC (away) 20/5/23 J League match 14

Yokohama FC 2 - 1 Kawasaki Frontale

Jeez, where do you possibly start with another calamitous showing from us? Saturday saw us make the relatively short trip to Yokohama to attempt to bounce back from a totally shite Tamagawa Classico game. I don’t know exactly what the opposite of bounce back is, but I’m going to say that this was more of a sink further rather than a bounce back. Sure, we were slightly hamstrung by a ban for Wakizaka for his red, a ban for Joao Schmidt for four yellows and an enforced break for Ominami due to his brutal attacking of Morishige’s elbow with his head. But at least two of those absences are in the midfield where we have a ridiculous overabundance of players who can never get time on the pitch. In contrast, we seem to have an absolute paucity when it comes to having any idea how to play football any more. YFC fans seem to think this was a massive and great performance from them but I think they are being fooled by the fact that we used to be quite good. If they paid any attention to what we did in this match they’d have noticed that we are now absolutely awful when it comes to making and taking chances, and seem to be getting worse at defending too. So many players all playing bad at once. What could possibly be the cause? Well, I think it’s obviously Oniki, but whenever I say this I get people telling me that he’s won loads of things with us, (true, and he might have the opportunity to add the J2 title to that next season if he keeps up the way he’s going at the moment and he stays with the club), and that we’d be nothing without him (we are currently not much better than nothing with him). Even his usual post match platitudes seemed lacking in conviction this time and they’re normally pretty pedestrian stuff. Apparently YFC wanted it more than us and we were perhaps not trying to shoot in the right way. Oh and the pitch was dry. Kind of feels a bit like he has as much confidence in himself as some fans do now. I say some fans, as we still sung the team off in spite of us playing terribly and losing to a team that many people had down as certs for relegation. If you look at the current bottom six in the league, we’ve lost to Niigata, YFC and Gamba, snatched a draw against Shonan with a late goal and unbelievably snatched a win against Kyoto with an even later goal. And we play the other team next weekend. We’re awful! Or rather were playing awful stuff as our players haven’t all become terrible at football since last year. And don’t forget, this is the season where we’re focusing on the league. I guess we will approach the rest of the season also focusing on the league but rather than in a ‘let’s get the title back’ way and more of a ‘let’s try to avoid being the one team that is relegated’ way. Has Oniki got a job lined up already and is intentionally trying to lose games so he gets sacked and gets some kind of redundancy payment? I can’t really think of any other reason why he seems so utterly incompetent at the moment. I don’t think we’ll sack him, and I don’t think he’ll resign. And whilst I don’t think even with his current incompetence he’ll manage to take us down to J2, I am more certain that he won’t find a way to make this season even slightly more bearable. I think it’s going to be a long long year. It certainly feels like it is. And it’s something of a shame that I’m currently at 100% when it comes to attending our games home and away this year. I normally don’t miss many, but jeez, what a year to have not missed any so far. Yes, I would like a medal please.

So let’s have a little moan about what I think he’s doing wrong. Well, apart from the fact that he seems to not have a clue how to get our team to play. He shuffles the players until we fluke a win and then hangs on to that team as long as possible, ignoring the opposition or how bad anyone is playing or how many games anyone has played. As I always say, I don’t really get tactics, but I think I know enough to say that our constant focus on possession at all costs and sideways/backwards passing to keep the stats ticking over isn’t the way you win games. It’s all very well having Joao, Seko or in this game Oshima, playing nice looking long passes when whoever receives the ball immediately stops, turns round and waits a bit before passing it backwards to one of our players in our own half. Oniki constantly talks about us needing to shoot more, but our complete unwillingness to shoot until we’re less than a metre away from the goal can’t just be something that is coincidentally happening week after week, can it? I wonder if Oniki just keeps forgetting to practice making or taking chances in training or forgets to tell the team to try to score a goal in his prematch team talk. We could have played for the rest of the weekend in this game and I don’t think we would have scored from open play. A few people have said how great Brodersen was in the YFC goal, but honestly, I think the only thing he had to do was collect a few ‘shots’ that we gently rolled directly towards him. Oh, and pick the ball our of the net after Seko scored direct from a free kick! Hooray! Naturally Oniki almost immediately substituted him, lest we get any kind of confidence or good feeling about having scored. We’ve had five shots on target in each of the last three games and in each game we’ve scored once but I can’t really remember more than a couple of real chances aside from the goals. My only guess is that we’re aiming to win every game 1-0 but occasionally forget that these tactics don’t work if you hand the opposition a two goal head start. I don’t feel particularly good about pointing the stats out, but Kamifukumoto who is now clearly Oniki’s first choice, hasn’t been doing that well. In the last two games the opposition have had a total of five shots on target between them. We’ve conceded four goals, so that means he’s made just the one save in 180 minutes of football. I don’t want to have a go at him, but I don’t think his distribution is particularly better than Sung-Ryong (forgetting a couple of clangers from earlier this year) so I don’t know why he’s been made the number one. As I’ve said many times before, I believe Oniki doesn’t treat all of the players equally. Some people can have stinker after stinker for 90 minutes every game and not get dropped and then others can come in, misplace one pass and be exiled from the match day squad for the rest of the year. It’s like he looks for excuses to do what he’s already decided. Once again in this match Ienaga looked like he couldn’t give a shit. Well until we were losing 2-0 when he seemed a bit more interested but ultimately not to any real use. Both YFC goals came from fast breaks where we seemed to have things covered but contrived to fail when it came to the whole ‘stop them scoring’ thing. They scored a couple of minutes either side of half time, basically making the match a sandwich of us-conceding bread with a filling of a presumably totally uninspiring and shit half time team talk from a manager who at the moment might struggle to motivate a native English speaker to pass Eiken 5 (a little ‘joke’ there for the English teachers). We gave the ball away cheaply for both goals and we failed to stop the attacks even though we initially had plenty of players nearby. And I failed to not lose my rag at another utterly inept managerial performance from Oniki. 
A few words about the opposition and the ref. YFC seemed a bit better than the last time we played them at Mitsuzawa, but I’m not sure I’d say they ‘pumped us’, as I saw written on Twitter. Fair play to them though, they did a job on us, and got the win. I would say that we seem to struggle if a team wants to sit back and hit us on the break, but what’s the point of saying that, as it’s been the case for the whole of Oniki’s time with us and he hasn’t managed to come up with any answer to this problem yet. One thing we could learn from them is that when we have a fast break or long ball forward it’s a good idea to try to shoot, as sometimes you can score that way. The other main takeaway kind of relates to the ref and it is that I have never seen such a coordinated time wasting effort. Whichever side of the goal Brodersen was on when he got the ball turned out to be the opposite one to the one he wanted to take the kick from. 100% of the time. There was an inordinate amount of ‘injuries’ which required at least a lengthy lie on the floor to heal. I was slightly worried when we didn’t return the ball to them after they threw it off the pitch for one of their poor fragile fellers to get some ‘treatment’. If we’d had scored we would have never heard the end of it. I say I was slightly worried, but I think we were totally justified in not returning it as they were unrelenting in their time wasting. The ball boys were also involved, seeming to disappear completely when they had something to do when their team was winning. And even some arsehole in the crowd at the side of the pitch hung on to the ball instead of throwing it back. As I said, a real team effort. Oh, by the way, their fans at the side of the pitch clapped Seko when his name was announced, but the fans behind the goal booed him in case you were wondering. Oh, and I should give Brodersen some credit as he did a little bow to us and gave us the thumbs up when we clapped Hasegawa as he was subbed off. He seems like a nice guy. Just a shame he always forgets which side of the box he wants to take his goal kicks from. Whilst all of this time wasting was going on, Ikeuchi the ref was just grinning and occasionally waving his arms in a vaguely ‘get on with it’ way, but which could also have just been him flapping to try to cool down his face as he looked like he was on one of those ‘your dream comes true’ type TV programs, his dream was to be a ref for a day, and the excitement was all getting a bit much for him. To be honest, aside from him not bothering to stop any of the time wasting, (which no refs in the J League ever do), I can’t really complain too much about him. He did seem to bow to the YFC stadium video screen operator’s commands though, as although he’d signaled for a free kick, when the guy put the VICTORY video on the screen and started playing music, the ever accommodating Ikeuchi decided that in spite of the majority of the allotted six minutes having been filled with time wasting, he might as well call it a day. But yeah, like I said, we wouldn’t have scored anyway, so it doesn’t really matter. One last thing, before I run out of words here, although he was hardly involved at all, Mita is of course still undeniably an absolute cu

Ah, looks like I got cut off there. Next up, Urawa away in the Levain Cup on Wednesday and then Kashima at home in the league on Sunday, where we can make our record against the current bottom six even worse. Perhaps we can even join them. We certainly deserve to be down there. Barring any disasters my 100% attendance record will still be intact, but I can’t really say the same for my mental faculties.

DF 13. YAMANE Miki
DF 31. YAMAMURA Kazuya
DF 7. KURUMAYA Shintaro
MF 16. SEKO Tatsuki
MF 10. OSHIMA Ryota
FW 41. IENAGA Akihiro
FW 17. TONO Daiya

GK 1. JUNG Sung-Ryong
DF 5. SASAKI Asahi (on for NOBORIZATO 54')
FW 11. KOBAYASHI Yu (on for TONO 76')
FW 20. YAMADA Shin (on for MIYASHIRO 83')
FW 30. SEGAWA Yusuke (on for OSHIMA 54')
MF 49. KOZUKA Kazuki (on for SEKO 76')

My Frontale Man Of The Match
We were shite so I don’t want to do this, but as he scored against his old club and a set piece was the only way we were going to trouble their keeper it will go to…

SEKO Tatsuki - scored. And was almost immediately subbed off. Oniki masterclass.


INOUE (Yokohama) 44' 1-0
YAMASHITA (Yokohama) 48' 2-0
SEKO (Frontale) 68' 2-1


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