|WANTED: For Crimes Against Decent Football,|
committed on six occasions between
Sept. 18 and Nov. 27, 2010
Anyway, Oita are one of the few teams in J2 we have a decent history with, starting way back in our inaugural season, 1999, and including the Kyushu club's run in J1 from 2003-2009. This will be our 19th league meeting: we've won half of the 18 previous games, with five draws and four defeats, while we've played a few Nabisco Cup games over the years as well.
Here at On the Gas we favour Gonda, so he's in my predicted team here, but the way Big Bear has kept faith with Shiota for the Okayama and Tottori games would seem to suggest it's a 50/50 call at the moment.
Regardless of who our keeper is, there's no doubt that the ten outfield players will be the same as against Tottori, as they've started the last five games (all wins, of course) together, and indeed did so again in Wednesday's 6-2 training match win over Tokyo Gakugei University (3 x 30 mins).
Oooh, nice segue! Speaking of the win over the students of Gak, there was great news from that game as Lucas made his return to action, playing the last 20 minutes of the second period and then all of the third.
Even better is that he assisted on a goal for Roberto Cesar not long after coming on, and then scored one of his own at the end of the second half hour. We need to reign in our expectations slightly after hearing that, as he won't be ready to make the squad for this game, but its not inconcievable that our new Number 49 could be available for selection for FC Gifu at Aji Sta a week on Sunday.
With Lucas not quite match fit, our bench will probably only show one change from last Saturday, as Tatsuya Suzuki is a chance to return from his mysterious leg injury, with Takumi Abe likely to make way if he does.
After joining J2 alongside us in 1999, Oita gained promotion after winning the league in 2002, and then enjoyed seven years in the top flight. Their best season in J1 was 2008, when they shocked the league, won the Nabisco Cup and finished fourth, ten spots better than 2007.
But just as quickly as things turned for the better for them, they went down the toilet at a stunning rate, and they were relegated at the end of 2009, finishing above only Chiba. That relegation, of course, led to Morishige's arrival with us.
Last season, their first back in J2, they bombed spectacularly, finishing 15th. An amazing turn of events then, from 4th in J1 to 15th in J2 in the space of three seasons. Coincidentally, they come into this game in 15th, having won four times, although in this topsy-turvy season they're only three points behind 10th-placed Kusatsu.
Last Saturday they were battered 3-0 away by Kitakyushu in one of the numerous Kyushu Derbies that will take place this season, and their XI for that game was: (4-4-2 if you believe the J.League website, 3-4-3 according to El Golazo, which I'm using) Shimizu; Tokita, Sakata, Kang Song Ho; Tameda, Inoue, Miyazawa, Tone; Mitsuhira, Morishima, Nishi. No Fat Maeda in there you'll notice, as he started on the bench, just the second game all season he hasn't been in the XI.