There are varying degrees of difficulty when deciding what is a “good” run in. First you need to separate the teams that are good from the teams that have something to play for. Then you have to assess the relative strength of teams. I’m not really sure if I can give an accurate synopsis of the difficulty of each teams’ run in. I’ll just list the fixtures and a summary of the good points & bad points.

FC Gifu

  • V-Varen Nagasaki (A)
  • Yokohama FC (A)
  • Tochigi SC (H)
  • Montedio Yamagata (A)
  • Ehime FC (H)
  • Consadole Sapporo (H)
  • Kataller Toyama (A)

It seems from this set of fixtures that the last three games will be what decides Gifu’s fate, especially the two home games. Ehime should have nothing to play for and Consadole are erratic. Tochigi seem revitalized by their new coach and Yokohama FC seem to usually beat Gifu in Yokohama. Gifu have the possibility of winning two of these games, but I suspect they will still need a result in Toyama on November 24th.

Gainare Tottori

  • Avispa Fukuoka (A)
  • Vissel Kobe (H)
  • Fagiano Okayama (A)
  • Thespa Kusatsu Gunma (H)
  • Giravanz Kitakyushu (A)
  • JEF United (H)

Any team that is coming off a run of no wins in the last fourteen is going to have trouble, but if Gainare don’t get a win in Fukuoka, it looks increasingly bleak for them. Vissel, Fagiano & Thespa are all teams with something to play for and JEF will likely be playing for play-off places (and home advantage) in the final game. Gainare fans have every right to feel pessimistic about their chances.

Thespa Kusatsu Gunma

  • Kyoto Sanga (H)
  • Fagiano Okayama (H)
  • Giravanz Kitakyushu (A)
  • Gainare Tottori (A)
  • Vissel Kobe (H)
  • Gamba Osaka (H)

Now this is a run in. The only team that doesn’t have/won’t have anything to play for is Giravanz – and even that is difficult place to go these days. Gamba’s recent surrendering of the league lead will not have gone un-noticed in Gunma, and they will feel, with some trepidation, the both Gamba and Vissel will be fighting it out for the title. Throw in an in-form Kyoto Sanga plus a trip to the Kanko stadium and it looks difficult. Their match at Gainare Tottori looks like a defining match for both teams.

Kataller Toyama

  • Gamba Osaka (A)
  • Mito Hollyhock (H)
  • Tokyo Verdy (A)
  • Yokohama FC (H)
  • Fagiano Okayama (A)
  • FC Gifu (H)

For Kataller, while it is hard to ignore the trip to Gamba, their run-in pits them against teams with little to play for. Mito, Verdy & Yokohama are, and probably will be, in J2 no man’s land whilst I suspect Fagiano could well be out of play-off contention when their game comes around. If they are going to pick up points, they could hardly have asked for three more opportune home games to do so from. And, of course, there is the small matter of FC Gifu at home on the final day…..

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