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Friday, November 25, 2011

FC Tokyo v Chiba: Saturday 5.30pm

J2 Matchday 37 Preview
No need for this at training this week!!!
The job is done, we're heading back to the top flight next season, and the stage is set for us to turn on the style in the final home game of the season tomorrow against Chiba. The canary yellows have underachieved again this season, and will spend their third straight season in J2 in 2012. For us, its party time, and hopefully a big crowd will turn up to celebrate our promotion as J2 Champions.

Unavailable: Shuichi Gonda (Under 22 national team)
Finally, we are part of
the 'all in' campaign!
Same team as last week? Well it was looking that way until training yesterday, when Yohei Kajiyama fell foul to the injury bug, and as our promotion is settled there's no need to risk him tomorrow. ElGolazo are speculating that Kazumasa Uesato will replace him, but Kohei Shimoda didn't do much wrong in his start at Shonan, so I'd like to see him get another chance (especially as Uesato is on loan and unlikely to be with us next year).

Apart from that (likely) enforced change, we won't see the manager change the team that won 5-1 last time out. Speaking of the manager, this will be Kiyoshi Okuma's final home game in charge of the club. We've been critical of Big Bear during his second spell at the helm of the good ship FC Tokyo, but credit where its due, he has taken us straight back up and thats all we asked for at the start of the year.

Much speculation has been flying around about his successor, but we'll save our opinions on that for later posts and podcasts I think, with the news of Akira Nishino's exit from Gamba Osaka further clouding the picture, though the media have made Ranko Popovic of Machida Zelvia the short-priced favourite to get the job.

Look for us to get at Chiba early, and if we can get an early goal and they have to come out more, we should batter them, quite frankly. Then the gaffer can unleash Nao (if he's fit) and The Salad in the last half hour when we'll be well and truly on the showboat.

7th; W:15 D:10 L:11 GF:44 GA:37 (+7)
Aaroy and Fukai together
in happier times...
Well, they've done it again. They've bottled it good and proper, throwing away an excellent start to the season to miss out on promotion, just as they did in 2010 (their first ever J2 season, of course).

Last year they fell out of the promotion places in Matchday 25 and never made it back, this season it was Matchday 21, when a 0-0 draw with Toyama saw them drop to fourth. They hung around and were only three points off third as recently as Matchday 30, but they've really died in the arse and have only won once since then.

Last Sunday their promotion chances were officially killed off by The Spews at Aji Sta, and their XI was: (4-4-2) Okamoto; Takeuchi, Milligan, Yamaguchi, Watanabe; Sato, Yonekura, Hayashi, Murai; Fukai, Aaroy. We won't be seeing Milligan or Aaroy tomorrow though, as they are both suspended for the final two games. Fukai is their top scorer and has been brilliant this season, while the inconsistent Koki Yonekura and Aaroy's likely replacement Yuichi Kubo could also pose some threat to our backline.

J2 Champions printing...
They beat us 3-0 at Fuku Ari all the way back in Matchday 2, and we'll be looking to get revenge with a similar (hopefully bigger!) scoreline. They have only pride to play for, and with our tails up we should be too good, finishing the home portion of our J2 stint in style. See you back in J1 when you sort yourselves out, Chiba.
For the final time this year....Home Win.


  1. Congratulations on the promotion. Though of course I`m sticking pins in my eyes as I type.....:) Hopefully, we`ll pass you on the way up next season!! I`m hoping for an Aarooy double hat trick and only you, Graham and that twat off MX TV turn up.

  2. Mamonaku kickoff desu! (face twitch...face twitch)