Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Verdenik: The Stats So Far

Guess how Zdenko Verdenik has been doing since he took over as Omiya coach eight league games ago? Agent Orange has been busy constructing the table below, which shows how all J1 clubs have performed since the Slovenian's appointment at NACK5 in the middle of June. Ex-Ardija boss Yasuhiro Higuchi has had a fantastic couple of months at Yokohama F Marinos, undefeated and picking up an impressive sixteen points. Reigning champions Kashiwa Reysol have continued their resurgent form, firing in no fewer than 23 goals that includes four in Verdenik's first match in charge.

Having replaced their own coaches at around the same time as Omiya, Vissel Kobe and Albirex Niigata have both moved up the table, the Swans under new boss Masaaki Yanagishita now boasting the best defence in the division - a rearguard that has been further improved by the addition from Ardija of the experienced Shusuke Tsubouchi. Even Consadole Sapporo, rock bottom all season long, have managed good home wins against Nagoya Grampus and Vegalta Sendai.

And Verdenik's Squirrels? We're last in Agent Orange's table. We have the poorest form of any club in J1. Despite some glimmers of hope during a handful of matches in June and early July, we've actually got worse since the departure of Jun Suzuki - a fact reflected in our drop into the relegation places. One of the division's least able defences has grown weaker with the sale of Tsubouchi and Kim Young Gwon. 

Of the defensive players that remain, captain Kosuke Kikuchi seems for all the world a broken man rather than a leader, the crash and burn of his confidence exemplified by a humiliating own goal against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. In fact there's even an argument that game-but-limited Yosuke Kataoka might now be Ardija's best defender - an idea that would have been laughable in 2007 but is less than amusing in 2012. 

No wonder Squirrels fans have been overwhelmed with relief at the arrival on loan of Hiroyuki Komoto, the Vissel Kobe centre back who in the current squad appears to carry the Squirrels' hopes of J1 survival on his shoulders. Welcome to Omiya, Hiroyuki. No pressure.

1. Marinos 16pts (+6)

2. Kashiwa 15 (+10)
3. Hiroshima 15 (+8)
4. Nagoya 14 (+6)
5. Tosu 14 (+3)
6. Kobe 14 (-)
7. Urawa 13 (+3)
8. Niigata 12 (+2)
9. Kashima 12 (-)
10. Sendai 11 (+3)
11. Kawasaki 9 (-1)
12. Gamba 8 (-1)
13. FC Tokyo 8 (-3)
14. S-Pulse 8 (-5)
15. Jubilo 7 (-4)
16. Cerezo 6 (-5)
17. Sapporo 6 (-14)
18. Omiya 5 (-8)



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