Friday, 10 July 2009

Kashima Preview

Squirrels fans can have little to complain about following the re-start of the J1 fixture list. Failing to beat Yokohama F Marinos last week may have come as something of a disappointment, but the fact remains that Jang Wae Ryong's team have picked up seven points and conceded one goal - a penalty - in their last three J-League games. Denis Marques may have left the club, something that he clearly wanted to do after a sorry last few months, but on the other hand a new and by all accounts dynamic Brazilian forward has also arrived at Omiya in the powerful shape of Dudu.

Having been top scorer in the K-League last season, it is clear enough why he is a player that Jang was enthusiastic about bringing to Ardija. For Dudu fits into the Korean coach's ideal of a physically strong player who can by all accounts fulfill a variety of attacking roles - out wide or in the centre, dropping deep or in the penalty area. This sounds like good news for Omiya supporters, who wlll be hoping that he is able, too, to maintain his scoring touch from 2008 given that the Squirrels seem to be better at creating chances under Jang than was previously the case, but still have problems turning opportunities into goals.

The current front pairing of Yoshihito Fujita and Naoki Ishihara have had a mixed time of things lately, the speedy Ishihara failing to find the net since coming back from a period of injury while Fujita, despite his two-goal success at JEF United and undeniable workrate, seems a less convincing finisher at J1 level. Faced with just about the toughest match of the season on Saturday, away at champions and league leaders Kashima Antlers, a key question is whether or not Jang will throw Dudu in at the deep end for his J-League debut and if so, who will end up being squeezed out by the new arrival.

Will it be Fujita or Ishihara, or perhaps one of the midfielders in a transition to a more attacking - but potentially more exposed - formation? Fujita may seem the most likely candidate to step down, but Jang is hardly a stranger to the notion of unpredictability as regards team selection or the deployment of players that he has at his disposal. Whoever plays, though, Kashima will be a far tougher challenge than any of Omiya's three most recent opponents, meaning that a top drawer display from every member of the side is absolutely necessary if the Squirrels are to have any chance of getting anything from the game.



Omiya Fan,  10 July 2009 at 11:46  

I remember visiting there a few years ago when Boring Bob got his first point in a shockingly boring scoreless draw with Oliveira seemingly on the brink of being sacked. How times change!
Obviously a point would be great.

Furtho 10 July 2009 at 17:16  

Wow, I'd forgotten that, OF. There were protests amongst the Antlers fans against Oliveira, as 2007 was Kashima's worst ever start to a J-League season. The 0-0 game against us was the fifth match of the year and previously they'd lost two and drawn two. How times change, as you say.

Anonymous,  11 July 2009 at 05:57  

We'll be lucky to escape with a point Kashima are in fine form. Marquinhos is in fine form this season.

Furtho 11 July 2009 at 06:41  

Here are the results of all Ardija's J1 games against Kashima:

2005 A 0-2
2005 H 0-2

2006 A 1-2 (Kobayashi D)
2006 H 0-3

2007 A 0-0
2007 H 1-2 (Denis Marques)

2008 H 1-1 (Kobayashi Y)
2008 A 0-2

Yahoo are predicting an unchanged team and thus no place in the starting line-up for Dudu:

GK Ezumi
DF Tsukamoto
DF Tomita
DF Neretljak
DF Hato
MF Fujimoto
MF Kanazawa
MF Hashimoto
MF Park
FW Ishihara
FW Fujita

Omiya Fan,  11 July 2009 at 10:11  

We did beat them one in the Emperors Cup though thanks to a solo special from the one and only Frankenstriker!

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