Monday, 1 June 2009

Urawa Video Clip

Highlights from the Squirrels' 1-1 draw with Urawa Reds can now be found on Youtube here.



Mike Tuckerman 1 June 2009 at 17:51  

Off-topic, but Yoshiyuki Kobayashi to Kashiwa Reysol? That's an odd one, surely?

Furtho 1 June 2009 at 19:08  

Not odd at all, in fact, Mike. There could well be more to follow, he says mysteriously.

Anonymous,  2 June 2009 at 06:10  

Changing Personnel mid season is a recipe for disaster. Are you happy thus far with the new manager?

Furtho 2 June 2009 at 16:35  

That's a good question, Daniel. The background to Jang's appointment as coach during the close season was that Omiya had played a rather tentative brand of defensive football ever since their promotion to J1 at the end of 2004. It didn't matter who the coach was, the football stayed the same and in all honesty it wasn't exactly great to watch. The results were mediocre and every season was a relegation battle.

Jang has come in wanting to play much more dynamic football and certainly it is now a lot more exciting for the fans. It was his view that the old Ardija teams spent too long in possession in midfield, not making any progress and not putting the opposition under any pressure: his basic aim is that the team should get in an attempt on goal within seven seconds of getting the ball (!).

This hasn't really transformed Omiya into a long ball team, but there is a lot more mobility and energy about the players now. And as part of this idea, Jang is keen for the squad to be younger, which is in part why it's not all that surprising that someone like Yoshiyuki Kobayashi has moved on (albeit temporarily - and you have to bear in mind that Jang himself only has a contract until the end of this year).

Where Jang has disappointed is of course in the somewhat important sphere of results. No-one is going to be that happy to see their team fifteenth out of eighteen in the standings, especially when you consider that Ardija were one of the few Japanese clubs to spend any half-serious cash over the winter, bringing in Mato and Park from Korea, plus also Fujita and Ishihara who had top-scored for their respective J2 teams.

So the fans are undecided as things stand - if results improve and we end up in the top half of the table, that will be a reasonable success (the club targeted Asian Champions League football for next year...). Otherwise, 2009 will go down as a missed opportunity for the Squirrels to make a real step forward in their aim to become established as a J1 club.

Anonymous,  3 June 2009 at 06:06  

Furtho thank you for the in depth analysis of the current situation of Omiya. I can totally understand now why Kobayashi has left the club. A captain is definitely an integral piece of the team and perhaps if this sudden change of tactics was not to his ability perhaps this will both benefit him and Omiya. Like I said before though, doing this mid season is tempting fate. Changing the whole way a team plays takes a considerable amount of time and player movement(transfers). Perhaps it would be better to play to Omiya's strengths rather than transform them into something they aren't.

Furtho 3 June 2009 at 16:52  

I'd draw a distinction between a captain being an integral part of a team and of a squad. In fact, there's certainly one significant example in the recent past at Omiya of a captain who over the course of one season was not regularly selected to play. However, this is not to say that he did not have a significant role to in terms of the broader dynamic of the players as a group.

You make a good point about playing to Omiya's strengths (obviously, this applies to any team and not just Ardija) and I think that one significant disadvantage of this model of selecting and contracting a coach for one season is the lack of continuity and of awareness: a coach working under these circumstances can only come in and execute a way of playing with which he is already familiar, simply because he cannot have the detailed knowledge of the players that can only be developed over a long period of time.

Some people would argue that it's part of the job of the backroom staff to provide both information and continuity, but I wonder how well this works in practice.

One other point to make in Jang's defence is that in both of their most recent J1 games, Omiya were really very close to getting what would have been excellent wins. You could just about make an argument which says that he is responsible for the confidence of the players and that this will in turn impact upon their ability to take chances, but I think it's harsh to criticise a coach when three times during a match players miss one-on-ones with the goalkeeper (as happened in the Urawa match). Moreover I don't think that previous Ardija teams would have been able to create those opportunities, such was their cautious playing style.

If Omiya had beaten Urawa 4-1 we would all be hailing Jang as some kind of genius, but as it is those three chances were all missed. The line between great success and total disaster is really very thin indeed.

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