This is the current state of play at the foot of Japan’s second tier:
As you can see, it is pretty tight between the bottom five teams. Some interesting things to note:
- Tokushima Vortis have only won two games all season. Both of those were home 1-0 wins (against FC Gifu & Kyoto Sanga). Not particularly exciting times at the Pocari Sweat stadium.
- The bottom two clubs have already changed their managers, as I noted in a previous post. How long before others do the same?
- FC Gifu have a seriously bad goals against record, conceding an average of two goals per game. The team haven’t been helped by injuries to goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and defenders Kazumichi Takagi & Yuki Fuji but the current defensive frailty simply cannot continue if they have ideas on climbing the table.
- Roasso Kumamoto are a bit of an enigma. They are capable of randomly fantastic results like their 3-2 win in Sapporo and the recent 1-0 win against high-flying V-Varen Nagasaki but they are equally capable of damaging defeats like the home defeat against FC Gifu. Interestingly, Roasso have played all four other teams currently involved in the relegation battle and have failed to register a win against any of them.
Next weekend’s games:
- FC Gifu v Consadole Sapporo
- Mito Hollyhock v Cerezo Osaka
- Tokushima Vortis v Kamatamare Sanuki
- Zweigen Kanazawa v Oita Trinita
- Giravanz Kitakyushu v Roasso Kumamoto
Not a particularly forgiving slate of games for the struggling clubs. FC Gifu will have to improve defensively or it will be a long day at the hands of Ken Tokura, Yoshihiro Uchimura & Nazarit. Mito will look for the new manager bounce, but will find it tough going against wounded Cerezo Osaka while Tokushima simply must win against Shikoku neighbours Kamatamare Sanuki. If Vortis lose this one, I fear for Shinji Kobayoshi’s job. Roasso Kumamoto manager Takeshi Ono should be very wary about facing Giravanz Kitakyushu – after Giravanz beat Oita and Mito, they both sacked their respective managers, does a similar fate await Ono?