Monday, March 2, 2009

J1 2009 preview: Kashima Antlers

Stadium:Kashima Soccer Stadium (41,800)
Average Attendance 2008: 19,714
Last year: 1st
2009 season transfer:
MF Park Joo-Ho (Transferred from Mito HollyHock)
FW Yuya Osako (Drafted from Kagoshima Jōsei High School)

DF Kenji Haneda (Transferred to Cerezo Osaka)
My view on the transfers:
Antlers haven't made any major changes to their team, and have chosen to opt for the same core of players that gave them success in the two previous seasons. A young striker in Osako have been brought in, to which there are alot of expectations from. Most likely Osako will receive some playing time, mainly as a substitute or in non-important matches. MF Park from Mito is likely to work as a back-up for the more merited regulars. Among the departures, Chugo and Fukai are the biggest names, but neither of them managed to break into the team last season. Brazilian Marcinho turned out to be a flop, and won't be missed.
Preferable starting XI:
4-4-2:Sogahata - Uchida, Iwamasa,Inoha,Araiba - Nozawa,Ogasawara,Motoyama,Danilo - Marquinhos,Koroki
My view on the team:
Antlers got one of the best starting line-ups in the league, with quality players all over. Several of the players are NT-material, and the two brazilians in the team is among the best in J.League as well. Defensively it looks as good as ever, but behind the starting four the quality isn't near enough as good, and Antlers are therefore prone to injuries. In midfield it looks better, with 3-4 players on the bench good enough to fill in for injured or suspended players. Aoki, who recently got his NT-debut, will most likely have to compete with Danilo for a starting-lineup. Among the strikers, Antlers got the best in J.League in Marquinhos, but apart from him it's not too intimidating. Partner Koroki is a talented striker, but not exactly the type who scores 15-20 goals a year. Still young though, and will probably develop even more this year. Former NT-striker Tashiro is a solid 3rd choice, but that's it.If Antlers want to give it their best both in ACL and in the league, they should have brought in a few extra players, as they will need a big team to compete at both stages. Since they haven't, it might affect the team in the latter stage of the season, as the players might be tired from fatigue and a lack of energy. Still, Antlers looks like a serious title contender this season as well.
Player to watch: Atsuto Uchida
Manager: Oswaldo de Oliveira
One of the most merited coaches in his home country Brazil, having won both the championship and the FIFA CWC with brazilian teams. Was awarded the coach of the year in both 2007 and 2008 in J.League as he won the championship both seasons. An outspoken type, who's not afraid to give referees or JFA-officials a hard time if he doesnt agree with them. Known for a direct, but cautious style of football.
Antlers have very passionate fans, but only on occasions do they manage to fill up the 41,800 capacity Ibaraki. Situated just outside of Tokyo, they don't have the biggest fanbase to pick fans from, but still got one of the bigger average-crowds in the league.
Where they will finish:
Antlers will definitely compete for the title this year as well, and a top 3 finish seems like a realistic target. ACL will wear them down though, so challenging teams like Frontale and Urawa will have a benefit
1st - 3rd place

1 comment:

Johan said...

Great previews! Is Ogasawara going to be fit enough to start on Saturday?