Monday, March 2, 2009

J1 2009 preview: Jubilo Iwata

Stadium: Ecopa Stadium (50,000) and Jubilo Soccer Stadium (17,343)
Average attendance 2008: 15,465
Last season's finish: 16th

2009 season's transfers:
GK Shinya Yoshihara (On loan from Kawasaki Frontale)
GK Takuya Ohata (Promoted from youth team)
DF Daisuke Nasu (Transferred from Tokyo Verdy)
DF Shinnosuke Honda (Drafted from Tomioka High School)
DF Makoto Tanaka (Transferred to Avispa Fukuoka)
MF Takahiro Kawamura (Transferred to Tokyo Verdy)
DF Shun Morishita (Transferred to Kyoto Sanga F.C.)
MF Hiroshi Nanami (Retired)MF Ryosuke Nakajima (Released)
GK Kenya Matsui (On loan to Kyoto Sanga F.C.)
MF Toru Morino (Transferred to S.C. Sagamihara)
FW Takashi Fujii (Released)

My view on the transfers:
Jubilo has been awfully quiet during this year's transfer window, and haven't brought in any major reinforcements at all. Only DF Nasu can expect to see any first-team action, and he will probably serve as a replacement for the departed Tanaka. They haven't lost that many players either, so their squad looks pretty much the same as previous seasons.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Kawaguchi - Kaga, Chano/Suzuki, Nasu, Komano - Ota, Matsuura, Naruoka / Ueda, Nishi / Murai - Gilsinho, Maeda

My view on the team:
On paper, Jubilo doesn't look too bad, and they have a vast number of talented midfielders and strikers in the team. Defensively it doesn't look that good though, and the aging duo of Chano and Suzuki are getting slower every year. They got a really good goalkeeper in Kawaguchi, which is a potential match-winner for them. Up front Gilsinho and Maeda forms a good partnership, but in recent seasons Jubilo have been very prone to injuries to their offensive players. They certainly got potential, but at worst they'll see a repeat of last season's misery as the team seems to lack a good atmosphere and team-spirit.

Player to watch: Takuya Matsuura

Manager: Masaaki Yanagishita
Yanagishita were appointed ahead of this season, and this is his first job on this level. Unexperienced, and might struggle to gain respect from the many aging players at the club. If Jubilo gets off to a bad start, Yanagishita might find himself without a job sooner than he wants.

Jubilo has an old and small stadium, and only averages around 15 000 pr game. The fans are lively, and famous for their enthusiastic use of flags at the home-games and they usually manages to build up a good atmosphere.

Where they will finish:
Most people thought Jubilo were too good to be relegated last season, but according to the way they played, they didn't deserve more. The squad is pretty much unchanged, so Jubilo might be in for another tough season as they are going through a generation-change. If they manages to keep their players injury-free they should be able to improve on last year's finish though, but they don' look like a team able to finish above mid-table. At worst, Jubilo will be involved in the relegation battle once again, although their player material suggests they should be higher up on the table.


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