Plenty of important games at the bottom of J2 this week.
V-Varen Nagasaki v FC Gifu
As covered elsewhere on this site, this is a very difficult game for the visitors. They should think of anything they get there as an unexpected bonus.
Avispa Fukuoka v Gainare Tottori
Avispa snapped their horrible run of form with a morale boosting win at neighbours Giravanz Kitakyushu two weeks ago, and will look to give their supporters, who have major worries about the financial health of their club, something to smile about. They have plenty of selection problems though, with three missing through suspension and numerous injuries. Gainare haven’t won for 14 games, and that is relegation form. If there was one game which might give them an opportunity to turn it around, this would be it. Unfortunately for them, Dudu, the defender who has turned into a key member of the team during his short stay, is suspended.
Thespa Kusatsu Gunma v Kyoto Sanga
Thespa probably feel that the international break came at the worst time, as it didn’t allow them the chance to build on their fine win in Sapporo last time out. The Kyoto juggernaut was stopped by Kashima Antlers in the Emperor’s cup last week, but this is a team that has won their last five league games and have the in form Shigeru Yokotani pulling the strings in midfield. I expect this to be closer than people think.
Gamba Osaka v Kataller Toyama
Hmmm, I have a feeling this could get ugly for the visitors. They playing Gamba, who are angry about their defeat at Omiya, and probably even more angry about their defeat at Tochigi SC. They will want to get back on track, and I think this will be the week they do it.
JEF United v Roasso Kumamoto
JEF are coming into this on the back of heart-breaking penalty shoot-out defeat against FC Tokyo in the Emperor’s Cup, factor in that they played 120 minutes, and that captain Satoshi Yamaguchi is suspended and you can make a case for Roasso springing a surprise. Roasso have won three of their last four, an impressive run of form that has seen them on the verge of escaping the dogfight. With the announcement that Hideaki Kitajima will retire at the end of the season, Roasso will be going all out to ensure that he doesn’t go out on a bum note.