Kashima have been constantly good for several years now, and are always a team to watch out for in J.League. Last year’s 3rd place was not bad, especially considering they won the ACL for the first time in club history. However, they should be a bit worried about the 13-point difference up to winners Kawasaki Frontale, and the main goal for them this season is to close that gap.
Their defence have seen some changes lately, and they have lost both Japan NT regular Shoji and Nishi during off-season. Another key member back there in Ueda also left midway through last year’s campaign, so it’s a very different defensive back-line to what we were used to from earlier.
Their midfield is still arguably the strongest in the league, and they got good coverage in all positions with no apparent weak spots. Up front Suzuki is expected to lead the attack,and they got good options in Serginho, Doi and newly signed Ito (Marinos) too. There hasn’t really been any major signings apart from Ito, and instead they have focused on bringing in quite a lot of youngsters but it’s doubtful any of them will see much playing time this season.
With both ACL and the league to focus on Kashima have to fight on 2 different fronts this season, but I expect them to have J.League as their main priority. They are definitely a contender for the title, but one thing to keep in mind is that they have had a much smaller break than the other teams due to the Club World Cup in UAE, where they reached the semifinal. That might affect them negatively at some point during the season.
Performance Past Seasons:
2018: (Predicted: 1st – 2nd) 3.
2017: (Predicted: 1st – 3rd) 2.
2016: (Predicted: 3rd – 6th) 1.
2015: (Predicted: 1st – 4th) 5.
2014: (Predicted: 1st – 4th) 3.
2013: (Predicted: 1st – 4th) 5.
Average Goals Past Seasons:
2018: 2.62 (50-39) Home: 1.88 / Away: 3.35
2017: 2.47 (53-31) Home: 2.00 / Away: 2.94
2016: 2.55 (53-34) Home: 2.41 / Away: 2.70
2015: 2.88 (57-41) Home: 3.00 / Away: 2.76
2014: 3.03 (64-39) Home: 3.00 / Away: 3.06
2013: 3.29 (60-52) Home: 2.82 / Away: 3.76
DF Bueno (S/R)
MF Shirasaki (S/R)
MF Hirato (S/R)
FW Ito (S/R)
DF Nishi (R)
DF Shoji (R/I)
DF Misao (S/R)
MF Ogasawara (S/R)
MF Tanaka (S/R)
MF Kubota (S/R)
Expected Starting Lineup:
Uchida – Jung – Inukai – Yamamoto
Endo – Misao(I) – Leo Silva – Anzai
Serginho – Suzuki
Prediction: 2nd – 5th