Monday, 1 March 2010

2010 J1 Previews, pt 3

Omiya Ardija

Last season 13th J1

The appalling story of Squirrels defender and recently-diagnosed cancer victim Taishi Tsukamoto has cast a shadow over what has been a highly successful preseason for Ardija. Kazuhiro Murakami and Arata Sugiyama seem to have brought some additional quality to Omiya's back line, but the absence of Tsukamoto means that there is a real lack of cover should injury strike. Coach Jang Wae Ryong has done little to improve a weak midfield, but overall the squad looks somewhat better.

Predict-o-tron It has to be TENTH IN '10!!

Shimizu S-Pulse

Last season 7th J1

After reaching the top of the standings last autumn, S-Pulse immediately went into a slump and ended the season just a couple of places above half way. The Shizuoka Oranges have had a quiet winter in the transfer market but did make the baffling decision to sign central defender Eddy Bosnar from relegated JEF United, which will have perked up slow forwards everywhere. Shinji Ono comes from Bochum for another crack at the J-League, although there has to be a question mark as to how his fitness will hold up.

Predict-o-tron Sixth-ish

Vegalta Sendai

Last season 1st J2

At last, in 2009 Sendai managed to break out of their cycle of underachievement and get themselves promoted. And what have they done in the meantime? Well, not much. The Vegalta squad is not notably stronger than it was last year and it certainly is not clear where the goals are going to come from, given that their success last year was based on a strong defence. Much-travelled playmaker Fernandinho can generally be relied on to create a chance or two, but who's going to stick it in the onion basket? Answer me that.

Predict-o-tron Bottom five

Shonan Bellmare

Last season 3rd J2

A smalltown outfit from Kanagawa prefecture, Bellmare are best known as the team who launched the career of Hidetoshi Nakata. They languished in J2 for a decade but then in 2009 squeezed Ventforet Kofu out of the promotion places - and are the favourites of most commentators to go straight back down again. Shonan will need good performances from key foreigners Jean and Adiel, because their budget sure isn't big enough to have enabled them to buy any decent quality J1 players.

Predict-o-tron Sorry. Relegation

Urawa Reds

Last season 6th J1

There have been fewer changes than expected over on the Dark Side of Saitama, the likes of defender Keisuke Tsuboi and forward Naohiro Takahara remaining at the club despite rumours that both would follow Marcus Tulio Tanaka out of the club. Of the new signings, Yosuke Kashiwagi from Sanfrecce Hiroshima has picked up the most attention, but Reds really need a solid first season from the already injury-prone young Australian central defender Matthew Spiranovic, who moves to the J-League from Nuremburg.

Predict-o-tron No improvement yet under Volker Finke

Montedio Yamagata

Last season 15th J1

Absolutely everyone had Yamagata down as relegation favourites last year, in what was the first ever season in the top division and although they were hanging on at the end, the Mountain Gods just about did enough to stay up. The muscular Yu Hasegawa was a danger up front and he stays on, a boost to the team's overall quality coming in the shape of Yuzo Tashiro and Chikashi Masuda - both on a year-long loan from Kashima Antlers. If those two fit in okay, Montedio could experience a more comfortable campaign.

Predict-o-tron Just above the relegation zone



  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP