Saturday, 14 April 2012

Marinos Preview

I'm glad that Agent Orange stepped up to the plate and wrote something for GGOA about last weekend's calamitous home defeat to Cerezo Osaka, because to be honest I haven't had the stomach for it. A tepid, goalless first half was more or less typical of Jun Suzuki's period in charge at NACK5 but it hardly prepared Squirrels fans for the shock of the second 45 minutes, in which the Cherries scored three but could without exaggeration have managed seven. They didn't even have to play especially well as the Ardija back line lost its entire shape in a performance of stunning ineptitude.

At the other end, Omiya were never, ever going to score. Suzuki doesn't set up his team to score. For one thing his system barely allows it and for another his man management sees to it that the players, however capable they may be, have none of the confidence or mental strength necessary to cope with the demands of professional sport. To give but two examples of Suzuki's freakishly strange approach to the squad, both of which have already been mentioned on these pages:

1. Rafael is not a main striker and should not be utilised as such.

2. Yu Hasegawa is not an attacking midfielder or someone to play "in the hole" behind Rafael. 

Let us be clear. Contrary to what Jun Suzuki evidently believes, we will not score any significant number of goals by using those players in those positions. It will not happen. What will happen is that we will get relegated if Suzuki remains in charge and continues in the same vein.

After the Cerezo game, club president Shigeru Suzuki defended the coach who has overseen, yes, two home wins since the start of last year, elimination from the Emperor's Cup by a team of university students and a marked failure to reach a clearly specified target of league points. The fans, however, could see the truth of the matter and by early April Squirrels supporters already know what lies ahead for the club if there are no changes.

Both Suzukis are therefore fortunate that tomorrow sees Omiya play another club in crisis. Yokohama F Marinos in the close season took the surprise decision to appoint as coach Yasuhiro Higuchi, an exceedingly pleasant fellow but someone generally regarded as having been out of his depth when he was boss at Ardija in 2008. It's a game that, who knows, if players like Cho Young Cheol and Carlinhos get enough space, we may even win. But with Suzuki at the helm, the good ship Omiya is going nowhere. 



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