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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Kashima v S-Pulse (Preview)

Oooh, what to say about this one? Going away to the defending champions, the runaway most successful team in Japan, and the owners of S-Pulse's very own ex-player and all round danger man up front Marquinhos is never an easy task.

We've not come away from Ibaraki with three points since 2002, and even then we needed extra time to get the job done. That said, they were defending champions that year too. Kashima being Kashima are defending champs more often than not though, so ahead of tomorrow we just have to try and forget the perpetual drawing mode we've slipped into and go for it. Another way of looking at it is that we're bloody well due a result up at their place!

Antlers are unbeaten at home in the league since August last year, and have only lost once this season. They've not had the hardest start to the season however, and drew recently with Yamagata and Marinos. They've also been travelling all over the continent with their bid for ACL glory, so will they be somewhat softened up for us? We can prey!

I'm hoping to see Jungo, Paulo, Teru and Edamura in the centre (although for Paulo, it'll probably be Yamamoto) and Okazaki and Johnsen up front. The back four will probably be as you were with Nishibe punching when he should be catching and generally giving us all heart attacks.

One thing to consider before tomorrow, after today's results, we're now below Little Jubilo for the first time since I can remember. A dodgy start to the season is one thing, but getting overtaken by some small club who can't even manage 10000 in the blazing May sunshine is just plain embarrassing. This is a completely unacceptable situation for Shizuoka's best supported team to be in. Sort it and and soon, Kenta.