Friday, 14 August 2009

Jubilo Preview

Two weeks after the last J1 match at Albirex Niigata, Jang Wae Ryong's return to league action on Sunday evening with this year's fixture to be staged at Kumagaya, aka something like the hottest town in the whole of Japan. At something like the hottest time of the year. Ah well. Anyway, the Niigata game resulted in a hard-fought point, a well-organised defence coping well with the absence of star man Mato Neretljak to deny the Swans - the first time that the high-flyers have failed to score at home in the league all season.

Since then, of course, the Squirrels have gone on their regular mid-season camp, returning to Saitama to deliver an 8-1 thrashing to Keio University in a training match that for the first seventy minutes included new signing Dudu and even newer signing Rafael. Despite the fact that the Brazilians managed three goals between them, captain Chikara Fujimoto was downbeat about Omiya's performance, although it is nevertheless notable that the game also included a hat-trick for Yoshihito Fujita - whose place in the starting XI looks to be most under pressure from the recent arrivals - and even a goal for long-term injury victim Masahiko Ichikawa.

As Agent Orange commented in the recent Great Debate on these pages, with barely a handful of exceptions this is now Jang's Omiya team and the coach can hardly complain at the level of support he has received from club management. There were signs of a recovery in form prior to the break, decent away performances at Vissel Kobe, JEF United and Niigata netting seven crucial points - but the feeling remains that Ardija is a train that could still very easily be derailed.

Jubilo's own away form is actually less than impressive - the Sky Blues have won just away from home this year - but in Lee Keun Ho they have a player capable of causing significant problems, as he demonstrated in a superb two-goal display against the Squirrels in Shizuoka in May. He and Ryoichi Maeda need to be kept in check if Omiya are to have a chance of maintaining their place comfortably ahead of the relegation zone. But will Jang manage to motivate his team and who will be the ones to get the goals?



Furtho 14 August 2009 at 22:14  

Yahoo predicted line-up:

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

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