Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Help from an old friend

Well it looks like the move of Tadashi Karai to Chiba is already starting to pay dividends. According to the Sponichi smut rag, Tatsunori Arai is on his way out of Sagan Tosu and on his way to the defending Nabisco Cup Champs JEF United Ichihara Chiba. Arai, the number one Japanese goal scorer would be the second big goal scorer to move out, following Leandro.

The potentially bad news is that the loan deal for Kyoto Sanga forward Teruake Kurobe has been cancelled, meaning that the former Urawa Red will be facing Verdy 4 times next year as well as numerous others. In fact, Kyoto has done a great job of keeping the core intact that ran wild over J2 competition just 2 years ago.

Urawa wins......Again

If you haven't already heard, Urawa defended their Emperor's cup, becoming the first team in the J League era to defend their title. The defense was not a thing of beauty and there were numerous "discrepancies" that might have the more cynical fan claiming the title is tainted (3 home games, two creampuff opponents at the start, including a squad that just lost their position in J1, PK's set in the home goal instead of the neutral goal, a stop overturned by a referee with less than stellar credentials, a Gamba side that couldn't hit the side of a barn in the final......OK call me cynical!!!!)

There were some guys that shone through for the REDS who (to be fair) won it with a B squad.

Here are my three stars
Shinji Ono- Not so much in the final, but the rounds previous he really was the catalyst for victories over Jubilo and Kashima. 3 timely goals helped wake the squad up when they were dead. A healthy Ono is not only good for Urawa, he's good for Japan as well, especially now that they are struggling to find an identity

Takahito Soma- The pressure was on the former Verdy man to fill in for the departed Alex and he did relaively well, good hustle and pace found him involved alot, if he keeps it up Urawa won't miss Alex at all and he might get some notice for the National squad

Ryota Tsuzuki- With the dearth of talent at the keeper position in J1, it would be beyond criminal if Tsuzuki found himself on the bench for a second season. The man singlehandedly kept Urawa in the game until that less than inspiring goal finally rolled in. Tsuzuki, Soma, and Ono all handled their stints on the pine with class and it's good to see these three get a little credit for not only being talents but good characters as well.

Speaking of Urawa.......their budget hit 7,000,000,000 yen this year (almost 30 million pounds or 58 million dollars US) making them the first superclub in Japan. With the media churning out weekly stories on them and a fan base that dwarfs the rest of J1, it looks like there is no stopping the Red Menace.....if they win the ACL, it's over.....they claim the title as Japan's team.

Depth Chart

With the new signings, Verdy finds itself at 28 players.......if we leave out the new amateur signings for a moment, the starting lineup looks like this maybe

Hiramoto Saito


Marcus

Ono Hiroyama

Ze Luis

Kaimoto Fujita

Tsuchiya Hattori

Takagi

Bench: Sugawara/Tomisawa/Hagimura/Sato/Ichiyanagi/Shibasaki/Killoran/Kiyama/Tsurumaki/Togawa?

If Nanami happens......and it should, by my estimation the team needs 2 strikers and another keeper and the team is solid. Much better position than last year

3 comments:

Ultranippon said...

On the one hand it isn't a bad 11! But I would like to see Togawa and Kanazawa in the squad :(, do you know something about them? On the other, if we don't buy Hulk I think we will miss Silva :S.

I'm happy because Leandro and Arai are out of J2, but Kurobe can be dangerous!

Steve, Nick and all the readers of this blog, what midfield system do you prefer?

--Hiroyama-Marcus
-----Ono-Ze Luis

or the diamod:

---Marcus
-Ono---Hiroyama
---Ze Luis

Nick said...

I`d go for the flat line as defensively we have been historically poor and I think the diamond leaves too many holes and not enough cover.If we have players with the attacking skills and energy to play the diamond I would go for that but I don`t think we have so,Id say 4-4-2 flat lines with the wide players getting up if possible.Saying this though,if the players are happy with the diamond system,go for it.I don`t think it matters what system you play,as long as the players are familiar with their roles in it,its fine in a diamond or flat back four/sweeper anything!!
I watched the Emperors Cup the other day and i didn`t see anything that made me think Urawa would walk it next season!! They were POOR to say the least,Gamba had SO many chances to win it but a combination of of good goalkeeping,luck and diabolical finishing kept Gamba from lifting the trophy. The rest of J1 will have taken encouragement from it I think.I don`t think it will be the walkover everyone is expecting.Money doesn`t always buy the silverware,it gets you very close usually but not always in the number one spot.Uraw has always been the best supported club yet they have only one title.No guarantees,look at Yomiuri Giants they have been in the doldrums for a few years now in spite of their unrivalled buying power/fan base.I too think we are looking better than last year and with an extra name striker and a couple of cover guys,I think we will be in a much better position than last year.Looking forward to it!! Pre season hopes are high as they should be!!

SMB said...

I go with the diamond because Rui has it tailored for Marcus....I'm not a huge fan of it especially when you have Ze Luis in the game....he doesn't stay back at all like a traditional D Mid and gets caught out of position.

I hate the 4-5-1 but if Verdy doesn't pick up a second striker it might not be bad with Marcus as the tip and Hiroyama and Ono on the wings..

The blogs are all saying Togawa is coming back so I'm inclined to believe it. I don't think Shin will come back because he doesn't have a place to play and he needs games to develop as a player....Omiya has some sort of deal with Thespa so you could see him there on loan or with the new boss in Omiya.

Niigata has a comparable fan base (until this year when they were number 2) they can't get ad money or advertising revenue of Urawa.

Well see if Holger can coach talent.....the first go around he didn't have the resources so who knows.