J.League 1 2016 Season Preview

Finally the waiting is over, and this weekend J.League is back! On that occasion, here comes a team-by-team season preview with ratings and an overview of transfers in and out:

ALBIREX NIIGATA:

Last season:
– 15th place ( Stage 1: 17th / Stage 2: 11th)

– Where I predicted them: 13th – 16th

Transfers In:
– DF Shigeto Masuda (S/R)
– MF Go Hayama (R)
– MF Noriyoshi Sakai (R)
– MF Kazuki Kozuka (S)
– MG Yuta Ito (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– DF Naoki Kawaguchi (R)
– DF Kentaro Oi (I)
– MF Kosuke Yamamoto (R/I)
– MF Yuhei Sato (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-4-2:
– Morita
– Matsubara – Lim – Fitzgerald – Cortez
– Kato – Leo Silva(I) – Kobayashi – Sakai
– Ibusuki – Rafael Silva (I)

Defence:
– Albirex had the 2nd worst defensive record in the league last season, and have lost their best centreback Kentaro Oi as well as right-back Naoki Kawaguchi. Looks like one of the weakest defences in J1.

– 3,5p

Midfield:
– They lost the important Kosuke Yamamoto since last season, who scored 7 goals, and have replaced him with Sakai from Avispa. Brought in a few rookies as well, with Go Hayama as the most exciting one, but looks rather thin overall.

– 5p

Attack:
– Albirex scored a decent amount of goals last season, and got 4 good strikers in their team. Rafael Silva made a big difference, scoring 7 goals in 17 matches, and expect even more from him this season.

– 6p

Overall: 14,5 /30p

Prediction: 15th – 18th

– Likely to be a tough season for Albirex, who have lost 2 of their better players and not done anything to replace them. This have been a trend for several years in a row now, and somehow Albirex have always managed to come out on top still. Likely to be another season where they have to fight against relegation though.

AVISPA FUKUOKA:

Last season:
– 3rd place (J2)

– Where I predicted them: 8th – 12th place

Transfers In:
– GK Lee Bum Young (R)
– DF Kim Hyun Hun (R)
– DF Yuki Saneto (R)
– MF Danilson (R)
– MF Hirotaka Tameda (S/R)
– MF Kenta Furube (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Kosuke Nakamura (R)
– DF Lee Kwang Seon (I)
– DF Masahiro Koga (S/R)
– MF Noriyoshi Sakai (I)

Starting Lineup:
– 3-4-2-1:
– Lee
– Kim – Hamada – Saneto
– Nakamura – Sueyoshi (I) – Danilson – Kamekawa
– Kanamori – Jogo(I)
– Wellington (I)

Defence:
– Avispa had the 2nd best defensive record in J2 last season, but have since then lost their arguably best DF in Lee. Brought in another Korean as well as Saneto from Kawasaki, and also signed a new GK. Looks overall OK.

– 5,5p

Midfield:
– They have lost Sakai to Albirex, and brought in the veteran DM Danilson. Other than that, not too many changes. Got a relatively strong offensive midfield.

– 5p

Attack:
– Scored 63 goals last season, which was the 3rd best in the league. Not made any changes since last season, and got several options up front. Wellington is their main man, and he should have qualities to do well in J1 as well.

– 6p

Overall: 16,5/30p

Prediction: 14th – 17th place
– Likely to be a tough season for Avispa, and their main goal is to avoid relegation. Got an exciting squad though, and should be able to cause problems for a lot of teams. Don’t think they will be a punching ball, but they still have to be considered one of the favorites to go down.

GAMBA OSAKA:

Last season:
– 3rd place ( Stage 1: 4th / Stage 2: 3rd)

– Where I predicted them: 1st – 4th place

Transfers In:
– MF Jungo Fujimoto (S/R)
– FW Ademilson (R)

Transfers Out:
– MF Tomokazu Myojin (S/R)
– FW Shingo Akamine (S/R)
– FW Lins (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-2-3-1:
– Higashiguchi (I)
– Fujiharu – Iwashita – Niwa – Yonekura
– Konno – Endo (K)
– Usami (K) – Kurata – Ademilson
– Patric

Defence:
– Have had one of the best defensive records for 2 seasons in a row now, and haven’t made any changes ahead of this season. Looks fairly strong overall.

– 8p

Midfield:
– Brought in veteran playmaker Fujimoto, who should be a nice addition to their team. Got lots of options, but their key players like Konno and Endo are getting older every year. Still look like one of the better midfields in the league though.

– 8p

Attack:
– Usami is maybe the best player in J1, and they got a good centre FW in Patric as well. Ademilson is new from Marinos, so we should see plenty of goals from Gamba this season.

– 9p

Overall: 25 /30p

Prediction: 2nd – 4th place
– Gamba will definitely be up there this season as well, but don’t think they have the qualities to go all the way, especially since they are busy with ACL as well. Looked out of their depth vs Sanfrecce in the Xerox Supercup Final, but shouldn’t put too much weight on a game like that.

JUBILO IWATA:

Last season:
– 2nd place ( J2)

– Where I predicted them: 2nd – 5th place

Transfers In:
– DF Kentaro Oi (I)
– DF Taisuke Nakamura (R)
– DF Kazumichi Takagi (S/R)
– MF Kosuke Yamamoto (R)
– FW Kosuke Saito (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– DF Yuichi Komano (R)
– DF Masahiko Inoha (R/I)
– DF Shusuke Tsuboichi (S/R)
– MF Hiroto Tanaka (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-2-3-1:
– Kaminski
– Nakamura – Oi(I) – Morishita –Sakurauchi
– Kawabe – Ueda
– Adailton (K) – Kobayashi – Yamamoto
– Jay (K)

Defence:
– Had an average defensive record last season, but have replaced 2 veteran-players with Oi and Nakamura, which at first sight looks like a trade-up. Likely to concede a lot of goals this season as well though, as they are an offensive-minded team.

– 4p

Midfield:
– Have brought in Yamamoto from Albirex, which looks like a nice addition. Got several players capable of scoring goals in their midfield as well, but look a bit weak defensively.

– 6p

Attack:
– Got a very strong centre FW in Jay Bothrroyd, but he will have a harder time in J1 than J2. Not too many choices behind him, but their attack still looks like their strongest area.

– 7p

Overall: 17/30p

Prediction: 12th – 15th place
– Iwata have an exciting squad, but will most likely find themselves in the lower half of the table for most of the season and could find themselves involved in the relegation-battle as well. Need their foreign imports to lead the way like they did last year in J2, but it is a big step up to J1.

KASHIMA ANTLERS:

Last season:
– 5th place ( Stage 1: 8th / Stage 2: 2nd )

– Where I predicted them: 1st – 4th place

Transfers In:
– GK Masatoshi Kushibiki (S/R)
– DF Bueno (S/R)
– MF Kenta Misao (S/R)
– MF Ryota Nagaki (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Akihiro Sato (S/R)
– DF Kazuya Yamamura (S/R)
– MF Mu Kanazaki (R/I)
– MF Masashi Motoyama (S/R)
– MF Takahide Umebachi (S/R)
– FW Davi (R/I)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-4-2:
– Sogahata
– Nishi – Shoji – Seok – Yamamoto
– Endo – Shibasaki (I) – Ogasawara – Caio (I)
– Dinei – Akasaki

Defence:
– Kashima’s defensive record last season were not bad, but still a bit off the best teams. Got a fairly young and talented back-line, but their GK Sogahata is not getting any younger and could be a weak link this season.

– 7,5p

Midfield:
– Got one of the better central midfields in the league, and got some very exciting players on both flanks as well with decent cover. Definitely their strongest area.

– 9,5p

Attack:
– They lost their best FW the last couple of seasons Davi, and have not brought in anyone to replace him. Likely that another Brazilian Dinei will see a lot of playing time, but hard to say how good he is. Seems to lack a real goalscorer up front, which could be a problem.

– 6,5p

Overall: 23,5 /30p

Prediction: 3rd – 6th place
– Not likely that Kashima will be able to compete for any silverware this season as they look too weak in attack. A finish just below the best, like last season, seems more likely.

KASHIWA REYSOL:

Last season:
– 10th place ( Stage 1: 14th / Stage 2: 8th )

– Where I predicted them: 2nd – 6th place

Transfers In:
– GK Kosuke Nakamura (R)
– DF Junya Ito (R)
– DF Jiro Kamata (S/R)
– MF Juliano Mineiro (S/R)
– FW Diego Oliveira (I)

Transfers Out:
– GK Takanori Sugeno (I)
– DF Kim Chang Soo (R/I)
– DF Daisuke Suzuki (I)
– DF Naoya Kondo (S/R)
– DF Masato Fujita (S/R)
– MF Kenta Kano (S/R)
– FW Cristiano (I)
– FW Masato Kudo (R/I)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-2-3-1:
– Nakamura
– Ito – Eduardo – Masushima – Wako
– Kobayashi – Otani
– Taketomi – Barada – Otsu (I)
– Diego Oliveira (I)

Defence:
– Reysol have lost 3 out of their 5 defensive player since last season, if we include GK Sugeno. Both Suzuki and Sugeno were considered key players for them, and the players brought in will have a hard time replacing them. Had a decent defensive record last season, but might struggle more this year.

– 6p

Midfield:
– They have kept most of their midfield intact, and not really made too many changes there. Got very exciting players on the wings, but could probably have done well with a stronger defensive midfield.

– 7,5p

Attack:
– Both Cristiano and Kudo are gone, who stood for 24 of Reysol’s 46 goals last season which is more than half. Leandro also left mid-season last year, so there aren’t that many goalscorers left. They expect big things from the new striker Diego Oliveira, and he needs to deliver immediately if Reysol are to have any shot at a top 4 finish.

– 7p

Overall: 20,5/30p

Prediction: 7th – 10th place
– A disappointing season for Reysol last year, as they were expected to be a contender for atleast an ACL-finish. Finished the season stronger than how they started it though, which is a positive thing to bring in to the new season. Got a new manager in Milton Mendez, and with so many players having left as well there are a lot of question marks over Reysol this season.

KAWASAKI FRONTALE:

Last season:
– 6th place ( Stage 1: 5th / Stage 2: 7th)

– Where I predicted them: 3rd – 6th place

Transfers In:
– GK Jung Sung Ryong (I)
– DF Tatsuki Nara (S/R)
– MF Eduardo Neto (R)
– MF Kenta Kano (S/R)
– MF Riki Harakawa (S/R)
– MF Shohei Otsuka (S/R)
– FW Takayuki Morimoto (R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Yohei Nishibe (S/R)
– DF Yuki Saneto (S/R)
– MF Masaki Yamamoto (S/R)
– FW Kenyu Sugimoto (S/R)
– FW Takayuki Funayama (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-3-3:
– Jung (I)
– Elsinho (I) – Takeoka – Taniguchi – Kurumaya
– Oshima – Eduardo Neto – Nakamura (I)
– Morimoto – Okubo (K) – Kobayashi

Defence:
– Kawasaki will field more or less the same backline as last season, but have been boosted by the signing of South Korean NT GK Jung. That should help them a lot, and considering they had the worst defensive record among the upper half teams last season that is much needed.

– 6,5p

Midfield:
– Got one of the best midfielders in the league in Nakamura, but he is not getting any younger. The new signing Eduardo Neto is expected to go straight into the starting lineup, and they have signed several other players as well that will give them more depth.

– 8p

Attack:
– Okubo is a guarantee for goals, but behind him it’s been a bit thin ever since Renato left mid-season last year. Sugimoto and Funayama is also gone, but Morimoto looks like a decent replacement.

– 9p

Overall: 23,5/30p

Prediction: 4th – 7th place
– Kawasaki will most likely also this season finish just below the best teams. They got a very strong midfield and attack, but their defence looks a bit too weak still even though GK Jung is a very good addition.

NAGOYA GRAMPUS:

Last season:
– 9th place ( Stage 1: 9th / Stage 2: 10th)

– Where I predicted them: 7th – 11th place

Transfers In:
– GK Yohei Takeda (S/R)
– GK Kota Ogi (S/R)
– DF Michihiro Yasuda (R)
– DF Ludvig Öhman (R)
– DF Shota Kobayashi (S/R)
– MF Lee Seung Hee (R)
– MF Tomokazu Myojin (S/R)
– FW Robin Simovic (R)
– FW Riki Matsuda (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Yoshinari Takagi (S/R)
– DF Marcus Tulio Tanaka (K)
– DF Yuki Honda (R)
– DF Yusuke Muta (R)
– DF Kazuki Sato (S/R)
– MF Leandro Domingues (S/R)
– MF Danilson S/R)
– MF Teruki Tanaka (S/R)
– FW Milijove Novakovic (R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-2-3-1
– Narazaki (I)
– Yano – Takeuchi – Öhman – Yasuda
– Lee – Taguchi (I)
– Oya – Yada – Nagai (I)
– Simovic

Defence:
– Nagoya have gotten rid of 3 of their regular defenders since last season, including key DF Tulio. They had an average defensive record last season, and looks overall slightly weaker here this year.

– 5,5p

Midfield:
– There have been several changes to their midfield as well, but none really important players have left. They got a new DM in Lee, but that’s the only change to their starting lineup. Got less depth this year it seems, which could be a factor.

– 6p

Attack:
– Got rid of veteran FW Novakovic, and signed a Swedish target FW instead. Still got Kawamata in their squad, and Nagai will serve as a striker as well, so they got lots of options and should be able to score a decent amount of goals this season.

– 7,5p

Overall: 19/30p

Prediction: 9th – 12th place
– Nagoya have made lots of changes ahead of this season, and also replaced their manager. Looks overall slightly weaker than last year, but should still manage to get a finish around the middle of the table.

OMIYA ARDIJA:

Last season:
– 1st place ( J2)

– Where I predicted them: 4th – 7th place

Transfers In:
– GK Kenya Matsui (S/R)
– DF Ryu Okui (S/R)
– DF Keigo Numata (S/R)
– MF Yuzo Iwakami (R)
– FW Nejc Pecnik (R)

Transfers Out:
– DF Yosuke Kataoka (S/R)
– MF Carlinhos (R/I)
– DF Daigo Watanabe (R)
– FW Takamitsu Tomiyama (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-4-2:
– Kato (I)
– Watabe – Kikuchi(I) – Koumoto – Wada
– Ienaga (I) – Yokoyama – Iwakami – Izumisawa
– Mrdja (K) – Pecnik

Defence:
– Omiya had the 2nd best defensive record in J2 last season, and will field more or less the same defence this year. Looks fairly good overall.

– 6p

Midfield:
– They lost 2 regulars in midfield in Watanabe and Carlinhos, and have brought in a decent player in Iwakami from Matsumoto Yamaga. Got a very interesting player in Ienaga, but the other offensive midfielders are fairly unproven in J1.

– 6,5p

Attack:
– Mrdja was a big success last year, scoring 19 goals, and he have been joined by the tall centrw FW Pecnik from JEF. Also got the veteran Bando in their ranks, so should be ok offensively.

– 6p

Overall: 18,5/30p

Prediction: 10th – 14th place
– Omiya was very impressive throughout the entire 2015, and will build on that going into this season. Shouldn’t have any problems avoiding relegation, and a finish around the mid-table seems likely.

SAGAN TOSU:

Last season:
– 11th place ( Stage 1: 11th / Stage 2: 12th)

– Where I predicted them: 7th – 10th place

Transfers In:
– DF Masato Fujita (R)
– MF Jumpei Kusukami (S/R)
– FW Takamitsu Tomiyama (R)

Transfers Out:
– MF Kota Mizunuma (I)
– MF Naoyuki Fujita (R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-1-3-2:
– Hayashi
– Fujita – Kim MH – Kikuchi(I) – Yoshida
– Takahashi
– Kim MW – Kamada – Hayasaki
– Toyoda (K) – Tomiyama

Defence:
– Sagan had one of the worst defensive records last season, and doesn’t look much better this year. Their new manager Ficcadenti is more defensive-minded than what Morishita was though.

– 4,5p

Midfield:
– They have lost 2 of their best MFs since last season, and Mizunuma is probably the hardest one to replace. Doesn’t look like much overall.

– 5p

Attack:
– Got one of the best FWs in the league in Toyoda, who is a guarantee for 15+ goals. A bit thin behind him, but signed Tomiyama from Omiya who should be a step up compared to Ikeda.

– 7p

Overall: 16,5/30p

Prediction: 14th – 17th place
– Looks like it could be a tough season for Sagan, as they have lost a couple of key players and not done much to replace them. Will have to rely on Toyoda to score their goals, and the new manager Ficcandenti will probably focus on getting the defence stronger. Could easily see them getting involved in the relegation-battle.

SANFRECCE HIROSHIMA:

Last season:
– 1st place ( Stage 1: 3rd / Stage 2: 1st)

– Where I predicted them: 7th – 11th place

Transfers In:
– DF Naoki Otani (S/R)
– MF Kim Byeom Yong (S/R)
– FW Peter Utaka (R)
– FW Takumi Miyayoshi (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– MF Satoru Yamagishi (S/R)
– FW Douglas (I)

Starting Lineup:
– 3-4-2-1:
– Hayashi
– Chiba – Mizumoto – Shiotani
– Mikic- Aoyama(I) – Ka. Morisaki – Kashiwa
– Utaka – Shibasaki
– Sato(K)

Defence:
– Not much have changed here, and they will have the exact same back-line as the season before. One of the best defences in the league for sure, but the 3-back system makes them vulnerable on teams that attack down the flanks.

– 8,5p

Midfield:
– Their midfield is also more or less unchanged compared to last year. Have a very well-balanced central midfield, and quick and dangerous wingers so there are no clear weaknesses here.

– 9p

Attack:
– They lost 22 goals in Douglas since last season, and they hope that Utaka will be able to replace him. He seems like a slight step down, but they still got Sato who most likely will hit around 15 goals as usual. Asano is getting better and better as well, and Miyayoshi might prosper in a new environment as well.

– 9p

Overall: 26,5/30p

Prediction: 1st – 4th place
– The only significant change compared to last season is the loss of Douglas, but they still got lots of options up front and expect many goals from them this season as well. Will be a contender for the title of course, but depends on how they do in ACL ( and how much focus they put on that tournament), as they have struggled to deal with 2 competitions before.

SHONAN BELLMARE:

Last season:
– 8th place ( Stage 1: 10th / Stage 2: 9th )

– Where I predicted them: 9th – 13th place

Transfers In:
– GK Tando Velaphi (R)
– GK Tomohiko Murayama (S/R)
– DF Takuya Okamoto (R)
– DF Ryota Okazaki (S/R)
– MF Paulinho (R)
– MF Yuta Narawa (S/R)
– MF Shota Tamura (S/R)
– MF Hokuto Shimoda (S/R)
– FW Jin Hanato (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Yota Akimoto (R/I)
– GK Lee Ho Seung (S/R)
– DF Wataru Endo (I)
– DF Kim Jong Pil (S/R)
– MF Ryota Nagaki (R)
– MF Shota Kobayashi (R)
– MF Masataka Kani (S/R)
– FW Alison (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 3-4-2-1:
– Velaphi
– Misao – Andre Bahia (I) – Okamoto
– Fujita – D.Kikuchi – Paulinho – S.Kikuchi
– Yamada – Takayama (I)
– Otsuki

Defence:
– They have lost their best DF in Endo, and the highly-rated GK Akimoto is also gone. Might prove tough to replace them, and look overall weaker here than last year.

– 5,5p

Midfield:
– Lost 2 regular starters from last season in their midfield as well, but Paulinho seems like an adequate replacement. Got many players to choose from, and got good coverage in all positions.

– 7,5p

Attack:
– Shonan scored the least of the top 10 teams last season, and seems to be lacking a clinical striker this season as well. Otsuki thought to be have the no.9 role, but last year he only managed 4 goals in 32 matches. Their attacking midfielders are good, and will contribute with goals too, but looks overall a bit thin.

– 5,5p

Overall: 18,5/30p

Prediction: 11th -14th place
– Don’t think Shonan will match last year’s 8th place, but should be too strong to get heavily involved in the relegation-battle. A lower-midtable finish seems the most likely outcome.

FC TOKYO:

Last season:
– 4th place ( Stage 1: 2nd place / Stage 2: 6th place)

– Where I predicted them: 8th – 12th place

Transfers In:
– GK Yota Akimoto (R)
– DF Yuichi Komano (R)
– MF Kota Mizunuma (R)
– MF Ha Dae Sung (R)
– FW Takumi Abe (R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Shuichi Gonda (I)
– GK Vlada Avramov (S/R)
– DF Kosuke Ota (R/I)
– DF Tatsuki Nara (S/R)
– DF Riku Matsuda (S/R)
– MF Hikaru Mita (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-4-2:
– Akimoto
– Tokunaga – Morishige (I) – Maruyama – Komano
– Higashi – Ha – Yonemoto (I) – Mizunuma
– Maeda (I) – Abe

Defence:
– Tokyo lost their best GK Gonda as well as important wing-back Ota, who were the assist king in 2015. Komano and Akimoto are decent replacement, but still look like a step down. Had the 3rd best defensive record last season, but have a more offensive-minded manager this year.

– 7,5p

Midfield:
– Their midfield is overall quite good, and they have strengthened it with Mizunuma and Ha, who both are expected to go straight into the lineup. Got lots of options in all areas.

– 8,5p

Attack:
– They lost Muto midway through last season, which affected them badly in the 2nd stage which saw them finish only 6th compared to 2nd in the 1st stage. Maeda is still a very good FW, and they got tons of options in Abe, Hirayama, Burns and Sandaza as well.

– 7,5p

Overall: 23,5/30p

Prediction: 4th – 6th place
– Tokyo should challenge for an ACL-finish this year as well, but not likely they will be able to match the absolute best teams over a full season. Lack a striker that can guarantee 15+ goals, as Maeda is getting older and none of the other have proved themselves clinical enough yet. But will be a very tough team to beat.

URAWA REDS:

Last season:
– 2nd place ( Stage 1: 1st / Stage 2: 4th )

– Where I predicted them: 1st – 4th place

Transfers In:
– DF Wataru Endo (R)
– DF Branki Ilic (S/R)
– MF Yoshiaki Komai (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– DF Takuya Okamoto (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 3-4-2-1:
– Nishikawa
– Moriwaki – Endo – Makino(I)
– Ugajin – Abe – Kashiwagi(I) – Sekine
– Umesaki – Muto (I)
– Koroki

Defence:
– Brought in Endo and Ilic, which should give them some more options back there. Have had a tendency to take too big chances in their defence earlier, which might be what costed them the title last year. Still, on paper its one of the best defences in the league.

– 8p

Midfield:
– Their midfield is also packed with talent, lead by Kashiwagi in the middle. Got quick wingers as well, and don’t really see any weaknesses here.

– 9,5p

Attack:
– Muto proved to be a revelation last year, but also Koroki and Zlatan scored a decent amount of goals. Got as many as 6 strikers in their team, all who most likely would have been regulars in most other J1-clubs, and they were the 2nd highest scoring club last season.

– 9,5p

Overall: 27/30p

Prediction: 1st – 3rd place
– Urawa got the best and biggest squad this season as well, and have strengthened their defence with 2 quality players. Came very close of winning last year, and are definitely one of the favorites this year as well. Maybe this year is finally Urawa’s year?

VEGALTA SENDAI:

Last season:
– 14th place ( Stage 1: 7th / Stage 2: 16th )

– Where I predicted them: 12th -16th place

Transfers In:
– DF Yasuhiro Hiraoka (R)
– DF Kazuki Oiwa (S/R)
– MF Koki Mizuno (S/R)
– MF Hirotaka Mita (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– DF Jiro Kamata (R)
– DF Atsuto Tatara (S/R)
– DF Taikai Uemoto (S/R)
– MF Takuya Takei (S/R)
– FW Hiroki Yamamoto (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-4-2:
– Rokutan
– Sugai – Hiraoka – Watanabe – Ishikawa
– Okuno – Ryang (I) – Tomita – Nozawa
– Wilson (I) – Kanazono

Defence:
– Not much have changed here for Vegalta’s sake, they swapped out Kamata with Hiraoka only. Their defensive record weren’t that bad last season, and better than most other teams on the lower half of the table.

– 5p

Midfield:
– Got more options in their midfield this season, with the signing of Mizuno and Mita. Their strongest area for sure, and also where they have the best depth.

– 7p

Attack:
– Wilson and Kanazono is a pretty good attacking duo, but they only scored 11 goals between them last year. Ramon Lopes is also an option, but they need to step it up if they want to improve on last year’s 14th place.

– 6p

Overall: 18/30p

Prediction: 12th -14th place
– Looks like another lower-half finish for Vegalta, but they should be too strong to avoid relegation. Got a well-balanced squad, but need to get their strikers scoring again if they want to improve.

VENTFORET KOFU:

Last season:
13th ( Stage 1: 12th / Stage 2 14th)

– Where I predicted them: 15th – 17th

Transfers In:
– GK Hiroki Oka (S/R)
– DF Ryo Shinzato (S/R)
– DF Gilton (R)
– DF Naoya Shibamura (S/R)
– MF Yusuke Tanaka (S/R)
– MF Masato Kurogi (R)
– MF Billy Celeski (R)
– FW Cristiano (K)
– FW Nilson (R)
– FW Akito Kawamoto (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Kota Ogi (I)
– DF Shohei Abe (R)
– MF Marquinhos (R)
– MF Hokuto Shimoda (R)
– MF Yuki Horigome (S/R)
– FW Takuma Abe (R)
– FW Bare (R)
– FW Junya Ito (R)
– FW Maranhao (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 3-4-2-1:
– Kawata
– Tsuda – Tsuchiya – Yamamoto
– Matsuhashi – Celeski – Kurogi – Gilton
– Inagaki – Cristiano (K)
– Nilson

Defence:
– Kofu lost their best GK, as well as wingback Abe, but have kept their trio in central defence. Conceded relatively few goals last season, mainly because of their defensive playing-style.

– 6,5p

Midfield:
– Lost 2 regular MFs, and brought in Kurogi and Celeski to replace them. Looks like a slight step down, and might struggle more in this area this season.

– 4.5p

Attack:
– Cristiano is a great signing, but there are questions marks over Nilson, and whether he can replace Bare or Abe. Scored only 26 goals last season, and is their weakest area this year as well even though Cristiano will surely make a difference.

– 4p

Overall: 15/30p

Prediction: 14th – 17th place
– Will most likely be another tough season for Kofu, and a fight against relegation. Cristiano could make a difference up front, but behind him there aren’t that many options unless Nilson turn out to be a success.

VISSEL KOBE:

Last season:
– 12th place ( Stage 1: 13th / Stage 2: 13th )

– Where I predicted them: 9th – 13th place

Transfers In:
– GK Kim Seung Gyu (R)
– DF Taisuke Muramatsu (R)
– DF Yudai Tanaka (S/R)
– MF Naoyuki Fujita (R)

Transfers Out:
– DF Takahiro Masukawa (R)
– DF Michihiro Yasuda (S/R)
– DF Bueno (S/R)
– DF Ryu Okui (S/R)
– MF Jung Woo Yuong (R)
– MF Ryota Morioka (R)
– FW Marquinhos (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 3-4-2-1:
– Kim
– Sho. Takahashi – Iwanami – Muramatsu
– Shu.Takahashi – Fujita – Mihara – Soma
– Watanabe – Ishizu
– Leandro (I)

Defence:
– Kobe got a new GK, and also swapped out a couple of defenders, but look more or less to be the same quality as last season overall. Not much improvement overall, which could be a problem in the long run.

– 5p

Midfield:
– They lost 2 relatively important midfielders, and only brought in Fujita from Sagan as an adequate replacement. Their central midfield seems a bit weak overall, but they are well-covered on the wings.

– 6p

Attack:
– They got lots of options up front, with Leandro leading the attack alongside Watanabe and Ishizu. Also got Pedro Junior and Ogawa, and should not have any problems finding the net this season.

– 8p

Overall: 19/30p

Prediction: 8th -11th place
– Kobe got the potential to be a top-team, with strong financial backing, a big squad and a good manager. But somehow havent managed to take the step up yet, and will most likely not manage to do it this season as well as their defence looks too weak. Also lack options in central midfield.

YOKOHAMA F MARINOS:

Last season:
– 7th place (Stage 1: 6th / Stage 2: 5th )

– Where I predicted them: 6th – 10th place

Transfers In:
– DF Takashi Kanai (S/R)
– DF Park Jeong Su (S/R)
– DF Ikki Arai (S/R)
– MF Naoki Maeda (R)
– FW Cayman Togasahi (S/R)

Transfers Out:
– GK Tetsuya Enomoto (S/R)
– DF Yusuke Higa (S/R)
– DF Yuta Narawa (S/R)
– MF Jungo Fujimoto (R)
– MF Andrew Kumagai (S/R)
– FW Ademilson (R/I)
– FW Jin Hanato (S/R)
– FW Takuro Yajima (S/R)

Starting Lineup:
– 4-2-3-1:
– Iikura
– Shimohira – Nakazawa (I) – Fabio – Kobayashi
– Mikado – Kida
– Saito (I) – Nakamura (I) – Maeda
– Ito

Defence:
– Got pretty much the exact same defence as last season, which is good as they had the best defensive record in the league. Lack pace in the middle, but overall very strong.

– 9p

Midfield:
– Maeda have replaced Fujimoto, but other than that it is the same as last year. Fairly good overall, but how long can they rely on veteran Nakamura?

– 7p

Attack:
– Ademilson is gone, and they havent brought in anyone to replace him. Ito will lead the attack, but Saito is even more important from his winger role, but Marinos scored overall very few goals last year.

– 6,5p

Overall: 22,5/30p

Prediction: 5th – 8th place
– With a strong defensive lineup Marinos have a good foundation to build on, but I think they will be too weak offensively to have any chance of fighting for any silverware or even ACL. Another finish on the upper-half table seems likely though.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s