J.League 1 2017 Season Preview – Kawasaki Frontale


Overall a very good season for Kawasaki last year, as they finished 3rd overall but had the 2nd best points tally.  They missed out on the finals after a narrow loss vs eventual winners Kashima in the semfinal of the Championship, and also lost the Emperor’s Cup final against the same team.

Still, they did better than expected, and it will be interesting to see if they can go the next step this year.  However, Yahiro Kazama have stepped down as manager, and he’s been replaced by Toru Oniki, who’s never had a manager role before. They have also lost their most prolific goal-scorer the last couple of seasons in Okubo., which could be a big loss.

They’ve made some interesting signings though, and in Ienaga they got one of the best attacking midfielders in the league.  Rhayner is a new striker they’ve picked up from Brazil, and as with all foreigners it remains to be seen whether he can be a success or not. They still got Kobayashi though in the no.9 role, so goals should still come aplenty for them.

Like previous seasons though, it is in defence Kawasaki-supporters will need to worry the most. Michael Jamez Fitzgerald have been brought in to improve on that, but he’s not really that much better than what they already got, so I fail to see any major improvement there. With that in mind, I think it will be hard for Kawasaki to copy last year’s performance, and could see them fall out of the top 4.

Last season:

3rd place ( Stage 1: 2ndd / Stage 2: 3rd)

Predicted finish: 4th – 7th place

Average Goals Per Game 2016:
Home:         3,33 (2,00 – 1,33)
Away:          2,82 (1,88 – 0,94)
Overall:       3,08 (1,94 – 1,14)


Toru Oniki (1st season)

Transfers In:

DF M. Fitzgerald (R)
DF J.Tabinas (S/R)
MF H.Abe (S/R)
MF A.Ienaga (K)
FW Rhayner (R/I)

Transfers Out:

DF T.Komiyama (S/R)
MF K.Hashimoto /S/R)
MF Y.Nakano (S/R)
FW Y.Okubo (K)

(K = Key player,  I = Important Player, R = Regular Starter, S = Squad Player, K/I = Key/Important etc)

Expected Starting Lineup 2017:

  • 4-2-3-1:
  • Jung (I)
  • Elsinho – Fitzgerald – Taniguchi – Kurumaya
  • Oshima – Eduardo Neto
  • Rhayner – Nakamura (I) – Ienaga (K)
  • Kobayashi

Points Breakdown:


Overall: 22,5/30p

Prediction:  4th – 7th


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