Friday, March 6, 2009

J2 2009 preview: Ehime FC

Stadium: Ehime Prefectural General Athletics Park (20,000)
Average attendance 2008: 3,704
Last season's finish: 14th

2009 season's transfers:
GK Hiromasa Yamamoto (Transferred from Cerezo Osaka)
DF Yuichi Shibakoya (On loan from Oita Trinita)
DF Kenta Yoshikawa (Drafted from Hannan University)
MF Daiki Tamori (Transferred from Ventforet Kofu)
MF Shunsuke Oyama (Transferred from Urawa Red Diamonds)
MF Ryosuke Ochi (Transferred from Oita Trinita youth team)
FW Yoshihiro Uchimura (Transferred from Oita Trinita)
FW Josimar (Transferred from Ventforet Kofu)

DF Yuzo Minami (Transferred to V-Varen Nagasaki)
DF Shingo Hoshino (Released)
MF Hideto Inoue (Retired)
FW Ryota Miki (End of loan from Gamba Osaka)
MF Yuji Miyahara (Transferred to Avispa Fukuoka)
MF Kim Tae-Yeon (End of loan from Vissel Kobe)
FW Ryosuke Sasagaki (Released)
GK Daisuke Tada (On loan to Cerezo Osaka)
MF Yoichi Kamimaru (Released)
FW Takuya Yokoyama (Released)
DF Hirotada Ito (End of loan from Gamba Osaka)
DF Akio Fukami (Released)
FW Manabu Wakabayashi (End of loan from Omiya Ardija)
GK Masaharu Kawahara (End of loan from Oita Trinita)

My view on the transfers:
Ehime has gotten rid of several players since last season, and seem to have trimmed their squad drastically. No real key players have left though, and instead they've released some of their more average players. Two regulars last season are gone, both in midfield, as Miyahara has been sold to Avispa and Kim returned to Kobe. Only Oyama of any quality has been brought in, which means that part is weakened. They got a new GK in Yamamoto, who were the first choice for Cerezo last season. DF Shibakoya is a good addition as well, which means the defence looks stronger. Up front Josimar have returned to the club, and will be the teams leading striker this season. Uchimura, who comes from Oita, will probably partner him.

Preferrable starting line-up:
4-4-2: Yamamoto - Takasugi, Kanamori, Shibakoya, Mikami - Akai / Chishima, Ego, Oyama / Aono, Yokotani - Josimar, Uchimura / Tanaka

My view on the team:
Ehime's starting eleven looks stronger, but lack some decent options if players get injured. The defence should be strengthened with Yamamoto and Shibakoya, while they will probably struggle to take control of the midfield, atleast against the better teams. Josimar is probably good enough for 15 goals a season, which is a huge improvement from last year, where none of the strikers managed to get a big goal-tally. Unlike last seasons, Ehime will probably try to stick with the same players more than before, which means the regulars should get a better chance to play themselves into good form. That was a problem last season, atleast with the strikers, with the coach constantly changing between 5-6 strikers.

Player to watch: Josimar

Manager: Kazuhito Mochizuki
Been in charge of Ehime since 2005, without never really managing to take them up to the next level. A pleasant guy, but hasn't showed anything in the past that suggests he is a top-manager.

Ehime got one of the smallers fanbases in the league, and dont enjoy too much back-up in the local community. They come from a place with literally no football-culture whatsoever, which explains their poor number of fans.

Where they will finish:
I don't think Ehime will be able to do any major progression since last year, but they should be good enough to keep 2-3 teams behind them atleast. A relatively small squad means they might struggle at the latter half of the season, as the regulars will experience alot of fatigue and such.


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