Friday, 3 April 2009

Kashiwa Preview

So it's back to the J-League after a couple of rounds of Nabisco Cup games, which saw Jang Wae Ryong's developing Ardija side pick up four points from their encounters with Albirex Niigata and - boooooo - Oita Trinita. And as Agent Orange has pointed out, Squirrels fans are in the unfamiliar position of feeling disappointed with that tally. The goalless draw in Kyushu last weekend constituted a letdown under the circumstances, in that Omiya were unable to take the initiative despite Trinita having two players red-carded.

Yoshihito Fujita and Naoki Ishihara were both guilty of failing to take reasonably straightforward opportunities in the second half and Mato Neretljak had a point-blank header well saved late on. Missed chances - and you have to hope that Jang and his squad will learn a lesson from the sense of frustration and disappointment that will have been brought about by such a result.

After a long-term injury lay-off, Yoshiyuki Kobayashi got ten minutes of action at the end of the Oita game, but it seems as if he will be eased back into the first team; a starting place for the Squirrels captain against Kashiwa Reysol tomorrow evening therefore looks unlikely. The less-than-stellar performances by Yasuhiro Hato against both Trinita and Vissel Kobe have set fans wondering how long it will be before new signing Park Won Jae becomes available after the Korean international also picked up an injury in pre-season.

But these question marks aside, Jang appears to have a reasonably clear view of what his best current team is, rotating a front two from the three options of Fujita, Ishihara and Masahiko Ichikawa in the continued absence of Denis Marques and Klemen Lavric. With Reysol having conceded five in three J1 games, all can have reasonable expectations of being able to find the net.

Ardija's rivals from along the Nodasen Line have picked up three draws in the league so far this year, the most eye-catching result coming at Yokohama F Marinos, where the Sun Kings came from 3-1 down at half time to take a point via Popo's spectacular 85th-minute equaliser. Kashiwa have beaten FC Tokyo in the Nabisco Cup, but draws in both their fixtures with neighbours JEF United would seem to indicate that Reysol are likely to be bottom-half-of-the-table fodder this year. Go Squirrels!



Furtho 3 April 2009 at 19:46  

Yahoo XI. I forgot Hato will miss out due to the red card, but... Murayama. I'd rather have Tokita playing out of position. I'd almost rather have me playing out of position.

GK Ezumi
DF Tsukamoto
DF Neretljak
DF Tomita
DF Murayama
MF Fujimoto
MF Kanazawa
MF Arai
MF Hashimoto
MF Fujita
FW Ishihara

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