Ardija have the chance to put right the problems that have arisen during the last couple of matches almost immediately, as the current frantic J1 schedule means that the Squirrels take a trip to Yokohama F Marinos on the afternoon of holiday Tuesday. Hiroshi Morita's late winner against Gamba Osaka might have gained an additional two points, but to an extent they also masked a poor Omiya performance upon which a fatigued Gamba were simply unable to capitalise.
FC Tokyo, on the other hand, were dominant at Omiya Park on Saturday and deservedly rose to joint top of the league with a 3-0 victory. The Gasheads are perhaps the most consistent team in J1 at the moment, something which can definitely not be said about the Marinos, whose 3-0 win over wooden spooners JEF United is sandwiched by losses to Oita Trinita and Tokyo Verdy.
It remains to be seen whether or not Kota Yoshihara will return for Ardija after not having played against Tokyo - the combination of Pedro Junior and Denis Marques was ineffective in the absence of the former international forward - but the most urgent issue for coach Yasuhiro Higuchi is a defence that has conceded five goals in the last two matches. The previously reliable central partnership of Leandro and Daisuke Tomita has looked shaky and communications with keeper Koji Ezumi are not functioning as smoothly as they need to.
The goalless draw at home to Marinos in the Nabisco Cup at the beginning of the season in all probability provides a better indication than what Tuesday's encounter will be like, rather than the woeful display in the return by a second-string Squirrels. But one thing is for sure - the Sailors are good enough to ensure that Ardija will get nothing from the match without a real improvement from their recent displays.