Sunday, 17 July 2011

Marinos Preview

July's not working out so well, then, huh. Two more home defeats, the first away loss of the season - in characteristic Omiya fashion a result picked up at the bottom team in the division - and Jun Suzuki's team has slipped to within a couple of points of the relegation zone. In fact things have become so serious that Ardija are only just above Urawa Reds and Kashima Antlers. And on Sunday we face a Yokohama F Marinos side who not only are on rattling good form but also who know that a single point will see them overtake Kashiwa Reysol and go top of the league. All in all, it's looking like a pretty unfair fight.

At Fukuoka there was further evidence that the Squirrels have lost their way, conceding a something of a freak goal from a corner just before half time and then squandering several chances to equalise. Up front Rafael and, not surprisingly, Lee Chun Soo resemble players whose confidence is completely shot and the back four is weirdly unreliable whatever combinations Suzuki tries. About the only defensive squad member who hasn't had a look-in this season is Norio Suzuki, not an exhilarating performer but certainly dependable, hardworking and with a reasonable level of mobility. There's been no indication that he's injured, so why hasn't he been given a chance this year?

To be fair to the coach, he has masterminded some good results at times when things have been looking bleak for Omiya. The most recent example came just last month after the 5-0 thrashing by Kawasaki Frontale, which was immediately followed by a come-from-behind draw at champions Nagoya Grampus and a victory at Jubilo Iwata. As was the case against Gamba Osaka, it's not that it's impossible to imagine Ardija getting anything out of the Marinos game - just that everything will have to go very well indeed to avoid defeat. Recent performances have included far too many mistakes, so tomorrow will be the first measure of whether Suzuki's work on the training ground has had any effect. Hey! Maybe the second half of July will be better.



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