Saturday, 30 October 2010

Shonan Preview

It looks like there is a good chance that Saturday's crucial J1 match against Shonan Bellmare will be postponed due to the approaching typhoon, which would be a terrible shame because this weekend has the potential to be one of the most important and exciting of the whole season as far as Squirrels fans are concerned. With what seemed like the whole of Japanese football watching last week's game with Kawasaki Frontale, the J-League's least favourite team looked like they were heading for a thrashing - but instead demonstrated character aplenty to fight back for a point that could have been three, if Shin Kanazawa's goal had not been wrongly ruled out.

The 2-2 draw against Frontale was a result and performance that gave Ardija supporters renewed confidence exactly when it was needed. As such, it was ideal preparation for the trip to Shonan, a side without a win in fourteen games and surely destined to be playing J2 football again next season. The Kanagawa Blue and Greens know that they simply must beat Omiya, but have little reason to believe that they can; Jun Suzuki's team will be doing themselves a very big favour if they are able to get the three points, but - if it does take place as scheduled on Saturday evening - they will have good reason to feel that a win is something they can definitely achieve.

This is not a time to be thinking about possible J-League punishments and points deductions. Suzuki has to concentrate on getting his team as high as possible up the standings: away, most notably, from Vissel Kobe and FC Tokyo, Omiya's two closest rivals in the battle to avoid relegation. Woefully out of form Kobe go to a resurgent Gamba Osaka and FC Tokyo are at Shimizu S-Pulse, who just last weekend finally remembered how to win a game. And if all goes well, it's possible that the Squirrels could (if the weather is kind, Shonan and Kobe are as bad as one would hope and S-Pulse can beat a poor Tokyo side) be fully eight points clear of the bottom three by the end of Saturday night. They could.



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