J.League 1 Season Preview 2018 – Cerezo Osaka

CEREZO OSAKA:

A great season for Cerezo last season, winning both the domestic cups (their first ever) as well as finishing 3rd in the league.  Up front Sugimoto really stepped up his game, and the European returnees Kakitani, Yamaguchi and to some extent Kiyotake (missed most of the season to injuries) all excelled and are arguably among the best players in the league in their respective positions.

Defensively Mateo Jonjic was a fantastic addition as well,  leading the defensive eventually alongside the highly impressive Yasuki Kimoto, who will undoubtedly start more than the 13 matches he did last season.  They kept all their starting players from last season, and brought in a couple of exciting new players in Osmar, Atomu Tanaka, T. Takagi and the Korean target man Yang Dong-Hyeon. Whether any of them can break into the starting lineup is a bit early to say, but they will add much-needed depth especially since Cerezo will play in ACL as well.

There is no reason not to think Cerezo will do well this year as well, as they seem to have a really good balance and are being led by a smart coach, but playing both in ACL and the league might take it’s toll, especially if they proceed from the group-stage.  Another top 4 finish seems within reach though, but challenging for the title will most likely be difficult.

Last season:

  • 3rd place
  • Predicted Finish: 9th – 14th

Transfers In:

DF Osmar (R)
DF Katayama (S/R)
MF Tanaka (S/R)
MF Veerachat (S)
FW Takagi (S/R)
FW Yang Dong-Hyeon (R)

Transfers Out:

MF Sekiguchi (S/R)

Starting Lineup:

  • 4-4-2:
  • Kim
  • Matsuda – Jonjic –Kimoto – Maruhashi
  • Mizunuma – Yamaguchi (I) – Souza – Kiyotake (K)
  • Kakitani (K) – Sugimoto

Points Breakdown:

Defence:

6,5p

Midfield:

9p

Attack:

8,5p

Overall:  24/30p

Prediction:   3rd – 5th place

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