Saturday, March 31, 2007

J.League 2 Round 6 Preview

Here are this weekend's preview:

Consadole Sapporo
Cerezo Osaka

Consadole has been rock-solid at the back, and after their 2-0 loss at Kyoto in the first round, they have kept a clean sheet in all 4 games. The opposition has been relatively small teams, but either way, it’s a great achievement. Sadly the team doesn’t score that much either , with only 5 goals so far in 5 games. But despite that, Consadole find themselves in an encouraging 3rd place. Cerezo picked up their 1st three-pointer last round with a last minute win home against Kyoto, 3-2. Before that, all 3 matches has been lost.
Last round Consadole did just enough to overcome Montedio away, after scoring on a cheap penalty. As usually, Consadole defended well, but didnt’ create many chances.
Cerezo notched up their 1st win, but according to reports the game could have gone either way.
Consadole Sapporo: None
Cerezo Osaka: DF Takahito Chiba, FW Kim, both regular starters.
Consadole Sapporo: None
Cerezo Osaka: None
Consadole’s good run looks set to continue against an Osaka team who hasn’t really impressed so far this season. The talent is there, but against a strong and in-form Consadole away a draw is all they can hope for. Especially the talented midfielder Fujita on Consadole looks in good form, and is capable of steering Consadole to all 3 points. It’s going to be tight though, with few goals.
Prediction Score: 1-0 (40-30-30)
Thespa Kusatsu
Shonan Bellmare
Both teams are placed mid-table with 1-3-1 out of 5 games. Their opposition has been of fairly the same strenght, but Shonan is on paper the better team among these 2.
Last round Thespa somehow managed to get away with a point at Vegalta, who recorded a total of 20 shots on goal, but only scored the single goal. As it often happens, Thespa equalized with a mere 10 minutes left which saw the game end 1-1 .
Shonan recorded their 3rd 0-0 draw of the season home against Ehime. The game was just as dull as the scoreline suggests, and Shonan’s strategy looks all but inspiring, with their everyone-behind-the-ball tactic.
Thespa Kusatsu: None
Shonan Bellmare: None
Thespa Kusatsu:
Shonan Bellmare: MF Kosuke Nakamachi - regular starter

Thespa hasn’t won in 9 matches home, and are currently on a 4 draws in a row streak. Bellmare on the other hand, are a very tough team to beat away, with 3-5-0 on last their last 8. Bellmare’s last 3 visits to Thespa all ended square, and at home, Bellmare usually take all 3 points. Playmaker Nakamachi is missing for Bellmare though, but I doubt Thespa is capable of stopping the visitors impressive unbeaten run away from home. I don’t see many goals coming, and Bellmare looks set to at least get a draw, but more likely, all 3 points.
Prediction score: 0-1 (25-35-40)
Ehime FC
Vegalta Sendai
Ehime drew 0-0 in a boring match against Bellmare last week, with Vegalta also picking up a draw against Thespa, in a game they should have won by several goals according to chances. Ehime’s team are made up by rented players from J1 teams,and one can question the team spirit ( or lack of) of these players,something their results also points out.The team is also very young. Vegalta is the major surprise in the top along with Consadole, and has put on some impressive displays. If they had won last game, which they clearly deserved, they would have been alone at the top. They are still unbeaten this season, and their 3 victories all came away from home.
Ehime FC: DF Tomoya Kanemori - regular starter
Vegalta Sendai: None
Ehime FC: None
Vegalta Sendai: None
Ehime’s home record is really bad with 1-3-4 in their last 8. Vegalta has 4-2-2 on their last 8 away matches, and are currently on a 3 win in a row streak. Vegalta won both the previous meetings away at Ehime, and should clinch another victory this time. With their best defender Kanemori out for Ehime, Vegalta’s job looks even easier.
Prediction score: 0-2 (15-30-55)

Tokushima Vortis
Mito Hollyhock

Tokushima were lucky not to lose big last round at Sagan in a game they only lost 1-0, but were outshot 16 to 1 by Sagan. Mito looked hopeless home at Avispa, and were literally slaughtered 4-1.The vistors were up 3-0 by halftime, and although Mito’s play got better in the 2nd half, it wasn’t enough. Mito is the only team that are yet to record a win, and find themselves stuck at the bottom of the league. Tokushima’s situation are only slightly better with 1-2-2 in ther 5 games so far.
Tokushima Vortis: MF-Noriaki Tsutsui - veteran sub , AM-Yuki Ishida - regular starter
Mito Hollyhock: None
Tokushima Vortis: None
Mito Hollyhock: MF- Shohei Ogura
Mito has won 3 of the 4 latest games at Tokushima, and are relatively a strong away team. Tokushima has 2-2-4 on their last 8 home matches, and also likes themselves better when they play away. Mito’s form away is quite impressive with 5-1-2 on the last 8.
Mito will clearly suffer under the absent of Japan U-22 member Ogura as the team has few good midfielders to choose from . But they meet a poor Tokushima this time, and if you take Mito’s wins in the previous meetings against them into consideration, Mito’s first win of the season looks possible. It might be a ”long-shot”, but I predict all 3 points to end up with Mito.
Prediction Score: 1-2 (30-35-35)

Tokyo Verdy 1969
Montedio Yamagata
Tokyo didn’t play last round, but in their last game they comfortably beat Cerezo Osaka 2-0. Montedio just lost out to Consadole at home after a dodgy PK call which earned the visitors all points. Consadole dominated the play though, so fair to speak it was a deserved victory. It was Montedio’s first loss this season, but the opponents they’ve faced hasn’t been of the best calibre. They find themselves midtable with 1-2-1 in 4 games.
Tokyo Verdy: DF Yugo Ichiyanagi- regular starter , FW Kazuki Hiramoto - regular starter
Montedio Yamagata: MF Takumi Motohashi - regular starter , Hayato Sasaki - regular starter
Tokyo Verdy: None
Montedio Yamagata: MF Masaru Akiba
Montedio has 3 1st team midfielders out due to injury or suspension, and will struggle to keep up with the technical better Tokyo players. Out-of-favour striker Hiramoto ( last season’s Verdy top goalscorer) is out, but this season’s new strikers Hulk And Funakoshi has started all games.
In Tokyo, Montedio meet a team that has 6-1-1 on their last home games, and must surely see themselves as underdogs this time. Montedio are decent away, with 2-4-2 on their last 8. Previous meetings between these two have ended with 3 wins for Tokyo, and one win away for Montedio. Tokyo should win this by a mile, and are surely to clinch all 3 points.
Prediction score: 3-0 (60-30-10)
Kyoto Sanga F.C. - - Avispa Fukuoka
Kyoto barely lost out 3-2 at Cerezo last round, after being 2-0 by half time. The game was evenly played, but Cerezo stole all 3 points with a last minute winner. Avispa ran riot over poor Mito away, with an impressive 4-1 win. Both teams were relegated from J1 last season, and are natural contenders for one of the promotion places. Kyoto has had a poor start to their season, with only 1 win out of 5 games. Avispa has only played 4, and have recorded 2-1-1 on them.
Kyoto Purple Sanga: AM Kazuki Kuranuki - regular starter ( might be ready for the weekend though)
Avispa Fukuoka: MF Kazuyuki Otsuka- squad player , MF Hokuto Nakamura- regular starter.
Kyoto Purple Sanga: None
Avispa Fukuoka: FW Hiroyuki Hayashi
Avispa are without their top goalscorer Hayashi, and might struggle to find the net without him. Avispa usually struggles away against Kyoto, with 4 losses in a row. Kyoto are in bad form at the moment though, and their home record is a lousy 1-5-2 in their last 8. Avispa have notched up 2 great away wins so far this season, and have an impressive 9-1 goal difference in those games. Their away form prior to those matches are mediocre though.
Kyoto can maybe field their best lineup for this game, while Avispa have 2 vital members out. It’s going to be tight, with Kyoto as slight favorites because of the home advantage.
Prediction score: 2-1 (40-40-20)