Saturday, 31 March 2012

Nagoya Preview

So you suffer a crushing 4-1 defeat by one of the league's high-flying teams. During that game one of your best young players picks an injury that looks set to keep him sidelined for several weeks. Things can only get better, right? Well, if you're Jun Suzuki and Omiya Ardija, no. Pretty darn wrong, in fact, as the Squirrels follow last weekend's thrashing at Vegalta Sendai with a home match against that's arguably over the last couple of years been the best team in Japan, Nagoya Grampus.

Out through injury is Olympic-bound Keigo Higashi, with suggestions throughout the week that the player to come in for him will be Jun Kanakubo. Normally used as a wide midfielder, Kanakubo has had an up and down time of it since joining Ardija from university and he deserves a chance against Grampus - but given that it's likely to be in a more central role and behind out-of-form front man Rafael, Kanakubo could be coming into the side under much more favourable circumstances.

The other aspect of the Omiya team worthy of attention from the Sendai game is the defence, who put in a sloppy, lacklustre performance in the face of an aggressive Vegalta strike force focused on making the most of any half chances. Via the likes of Keiji Tamada and Josh Kennedy Nagoya unquestionably have the experience and quality to maximise their opportunities against a rocky back line. Ardija defenders Kim Young Gwon and Kosuke Kikuchi will need to be at their best to bounce back from Sendai and keep Grampus at bay. What could possibly go wrong? 



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