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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FC Tokyo v Oita: Wednesday 7pm

J2 Matchday 32 Preview

The temptation to look ahead to the derby on Sunday is strong, but first things first, FC Tokyo host Oita at Kokuritsu tomorrow night, knowing that a win could take us to the cusp of promotion on Sunday (provided Tokushima help us out by beating Sapporo - and yes, I'm looking ahead).

Suspended: Yasuyuki Konno
On 3 Yellow Cards: Masato Morishige, Hideto Takahashi, Yohei Kajiyama
Due to suspension we're without our best player ever, Yasuyuki Konno, and if Mr. Okuma is true to form we'll see the same XI as Tosu but with Yuhei Tokunaga sliding over into the centre in place of the captain and Hokuto Nakamura coming in at right back, as thats what he did when Konno was away with the national team for the Emperor's Cup game against Kagoshima...

But bloody hell thats booooring. Hokuto is decent enough but he's nowhere near the threat Tokunaga is going forward, so I'd keep Tok on the right and bring in one of the other centre halves to play alongside Masato Morishige. Now I'm biased of course, but I believe Jade North deserves another run-out, although the wildcard is Kazunori Yoshimoto, who bagged a 22-minute hattrick against Ryutsu Keizai University in a friendly at Kodaira yesterday. Surely though North is next in line and goals against students from a business university shouldn't carry too much weight!

Its our fourth game in 11 days, but its hard to see the manager making any un-enforced changes UNLESS he wants to keep the likes of Naotake Hanyu and Lucas fresh for the derby (which sounds like a decent idea doesn't it?!). I shouldn't criticize or moan as this XI (minus Konno tomorrow night, and for much of the season, Shuichi Gonda) has gotten us to where we are now, but how about throwing Roberto Cesar and Daisuke Sakata together up front for a game? Or starting Naohiro Ishik...no, that isn't going to happen, is it?

12th, W:10 D:11 L:10 GF:33 GA:35 (-2)
Its the triumphant return of Fatty Junior, Shunsuke Maeda, and while it is commonplace for the Tokyo home end to applaud former players (unless its Akira Kaji), I'm hoping he'll be mercilessly booed for his utter shiteness last season. He'll probably get a polite golf clap though when the lineups are announced.

He's still on the run you know...
He's just returned from a six-game suspension handed out when he blew up at the ref after being sent off during their loss to Toyama early last month, but has somehow managed to score six goals this season. Wonders never cease...though I do have to give him credit for scoring the winner when they beat The Spews 2-1 at Aji Sta at the end of July.

Anyway they've had a rough season, but not nearly as bad as 2010, when they finished 15th in their first season back in J2 since winning the league and promotion for the first time in 2002.

Besides Chiba they are the J2 team we've played the most against, dating back to the original J2 season, 1999, and in 19 league games we've won nine, drawn six and lost four (including the 0-0 at their place in early July we dominated but couldn't score in).

They've beaten the likes of Tochigi, Tokushima and, as mentioned, The Spews this season, but last Sunday they were undone by the Kyoto youth revolution and beaten 3-1 at home. Their XI was: (3-4-3) Tanno; Tokita, Sakuda, Kang Song Ho; Fujikawa, Nagayoshi, Miyazawa, Choi Jung Han; Fatty Jr., Lee Dong Myung, Morishima. Our loanee Shuto Kono was an unused sub, while their goal was scored by Kazushi Mitsuhira, who netted ten minutes after coming off the bench in place of Lee but then got injured and had to be replaced himself eight minutes later.

Can we make it ten games unbeaten for the second time this season? Why yes of course we can, what a stupid question. Will we though? And will Tokushima do us a favour? Yes we will, and if present form is any guide (a big 'if' in this league), yes they will.

It might not end up being possible, but just imagine (looking forward alert!) winning promotion with a win over The Spews! Good god that'd be amazing! For it to have any chance of happening, we have to win tomorrow night.
So we will. A nailed-on....Home Win.

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