Sagan Tosu were tipped to be a clear candidate for relegation by most pundits last season, but made some key signings after the season had started. GK Gonda and FW Ibarbo both made a huge difference to the team, and were contributing factors in Sagan finishing as high as 8th place.
They hope to build on that finish here, and have more or less kept their entire squad with only a few changes. Most notably their best FW and top-scorer 7 years in a row before last season have decided to go to South Korea to play instead. His 2017-season wasn’t up to his usual standards though, and it seems his place in the pecking-order changed. They will instead have to rely heavily on one of the biggest attractions to J1, which is Ibarbo. He’s not a goal-getter type though, but they also got a couple of other decent names up there. Defensively and in midfield they are more or less unchanged, although a couple of new players have been brought in there as well.
Talent-wise this team doesn’t look too good, but they showed last season that hard work and a smart tactical approach to their matches can take them a long way. I think they will have a tougher time this year, but they should be good enough to avoid relegation.
Predicted Finish: 13th – 17th place
DF Yu.Takahashi ((S/R)
DF Anzai (S/R)
MF H.Takahashi (R)
DF Aoki (R)
FW Toyoda (I)
(K = Key player, I = Important Player, R = Regular Starter, S = Squad Player, K/I = Key/Important etc)
- Gonda (I)
- Kobayashi – Kim – Jung – Yoshida
- Harakawa – H.Takahashi – Fukuta
- Ibarbo(K) – Ono/Cho
Prediction: 12th – 16th