Saturday, 27 March 2010

FC Tokyo Preview

There might have been an inevitability to last weekend's defeat to Kashima Antlers, whose finishing was wildly off-target for a lot of the game but who were able to make their class pay in the end. It would be nice if Ardija could conjure up such a simple goal as Yuya Osaka's glancing winner from a cross by Marquinhos - but in three games this season Omiya have scored just once from open play, when Rafael unlocked the Cerezo Osaka defence for Naoki Ishihara to finish from close range. What are the chances of the Squirrels being able to do something similar in Sunday's match with FC Tokyo?

Well, again we come back to the team needing width when on the attack. Rafael has the ability and stamina to stretch an opposing defence when playing across the front line, but other injuries have also impacted upon Jang Wae Ryong's first choice of a 4-4-2 with Kazuhiro Murakami and Chikara Fujimoto on the left and Arata Sugiyama and Hayato Hashimoto on the right. With Murakami out, replacement defender Shusuke Tsubouchi has less pace and is less of an attacking threat; Tomoya Uchida's contribution when he comes in for Fujimoto - or indeed anyone - is patchy at best.

And it's likely to be Tsubouchi and Uchida who will have to deal with the menace of Tokyo's star man Naohiro Ishikawa, seemingly not yet fully recovered from injury himself, but still a very considerable danger with his speed, mobility and tremendous shooting. Omiya's Korean Destroyer An Yong Hak looks set to play a lone role in front of the back four, and it wouldn't be too much of a surprise if he spent a fair amount of time trying to stop Ishikawa from exerting too much of an influence on the game. That's a task requiring a high level of concentration, given Ishikawa's eye for an opportunity.

The fact that Tokyo are not a particularly big side may provide the Squirrels with a way to get something from the game, the most obvious route to goal being a Mato Neretljak or Yuki Fukaya header from a Hashimoto set play. An injury-hit first team could also see substitute appearances for the physically imposing Shunsuke Fukuda - for instance, if a muscular emergency striker is required in the last few minutes - and if Kohei Tokita is in the starting line-up, perhaps rookie wingers Jun Kanakubo or Masakazu Kihara might get on the bench. The best tactic may nevertheless prove just to hope, very hard.



dokool 28 March 2010 at 09:59  

We always seem to have your number at NACK5 but as long as our middle line continues to struggle nothing's guaranteed.

At this point I can only hope that one of our attackers wakes up against Ardija, just like last year...

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