After the disaster of Saturday's mauling at the hands of Kawasaki Frontale, it has to be acknowledged that the J-League's fixture computer could scarcely have given to Omiya Ardija an easier way of making amends than Wednesday's home game with Avispa Fukuoka. Seiichiro Okuno is a long-term injury worry potentially never to wear the orange shirt again, Yukio Tsuchiya will be absent for a good while as he nurses his boyish good looks back to full health.
Chikara Fujimoto's scheduled return to the first team might now be being described just a trifle vaguely as "September" and triallist Alison remains frustratingly just that - a triallist, contract unsigned - but yet, despite all of these considerable woes, the Squirrels still have what amounts to a golden opportunity to pick up three more points against Kyushu's wasps in their forthcoming encounter at Komaba.
For Avispa have found it heavy going indeed to make the required jump from J2 following promotion at the end of last year. Their last league win took place as long ago as April and their away form of no wins in ten games is enough to have even the frankly poor travellers from Omiya letting slip a superior little chortle at their expense. Most promisingly for an Ardija side desperate to put the horrors of Saturday behind them, however, is Fukuoka's defensive record.
Following a respectable enough start to the season, the last six games have seen them ship no fewer than nineteen goals, including five in consecutive matches to Kyoto Purple Sanga and FC Tokyo. It's obviously tempting fate in a major way to say so, but this is a game for Omiya to seek to dominate from the start.
"We let ourselves and everyone down on Saturday," acknowledged Toshiya Miura, "and it's vital we don't get into a losing frame of mind. Avispa will give us a tough game, but we need to exploit their weak points and make sure we get the opening goal." "Their defence is having a lot of problems at the moment," commented Daigo Kobayashi, still hopeful of a place in Ivica Osim's next Japan squad, to be announced on Wednesday eveing after the day's round of fixtures is complete. "but Avispa's midfield and attack are pretty strong. We need to make sure we start well and are able to dictate the play, using our attacking strengths."
It's going to be painful, I can find no optimism for this game. Someone usually has a nightmare against them (generally Toninho) but the way we are playing it could be a Kawasaki-esque result. If Herman got benched (which he deserves) don't you think Ezumi would get the call? I haven't seen Ando on the bench for months. Kudos to Hashimoto though - he barely gets any opportunities but he's impressed me when he's played.