After being relegated to J2 in 2013 Oita are finally back in J1 6 years later, but they’ve had a rough road getting here. In 2015 they were relegated to J3, but had no problems winning promotion the following year. Manager Tomohiro Katanosaka have been in charge ever since the J3-days, and a lot of the players on the team have also been there since then so they have a nice group of core players that have known eachother for years. Ahead of this season they brought in a lot of new faces in order to prepare for J1, and roughly half the expected starting line-up will be made up of new recruits.
Oita conceded 51 goals in J2 last season which was the 2nd highest among the top 13 (!) teams in the league, but they scored a whopping 76 goals so they are definitely a team that’s better going forward than they are at defending. They’ve signed 2 new players that are expected to go straight into the trio at the back in Shoji and Misao, but none of them oozes quality and I expect Oita to be very vulnerable at the back this season too.
In central midfield Kozuka from Kofu is expected to become a starter, and on the left-wing they brought in the highly-rated Takayama from Shonan Bellmare who should be a major boost. On the other wing they got Matsumoto, who were one of the best players in J2 last season so they should be well-set on the flanks.
Despite scoring 76 goals last year, their topscorers were Fujimoto and Baba with just 12 goals each, so they didn’t really have a clear no.1 to choose from up front. New signing Adu Onaiwu might be able to do something with that, because the former JEF and Urawa-player scored 22 goals for Renofa Yamaguchi in J2 last season and will most likely serve as their main striker. Whether he has what it takes to succeed at J1 remains to be seen, but as last year’s number tells us they got decent back-up players too.
Oita is a team that belong in J1, as they got a huge, modern stadium and is considered to be the biggest club on Kyushu. I think they can cause problems for a lot of teams this season, but their defence doesn’t look much improved compared to last year, and if you concede 51 goals in J2 you will be ripped apart in J1 and they are a clear candidate for relegation.
Performance Past Seasons:
2018: (Predicted: N/A) 2. (J2)
2017: (Predicted: 14th – 17th) 9. (J2)
2016: (Predicted: N/A) 1. (J3)
2015: (Predicted: 6th – 9th) 21. (J2)
2014: (Predicted: 8th – 12th) 7. (J2)
2013: (Predicted: 17th– 18th) 18.
Average Goals Past Seasons:
2018: 3.02 (76-51) Home: 3.00 / Away: 3.05 (J2)
2017: 2.57 (58-50) Home: 2.38 / Away: 2.76 (J2)
2016: 2.47 (50-24) Home: 2.53 / Away: 2.40 (J3)
2015: 2.19 (41-51) Home: 2.29 / Away: 2.10 (J2)
2014: 2.55 (52-55) Home: 2.57 / Away: 2.52 (J2)
2013: 2.88 (31-67) Home: 2.65 / Away: 3.12
GK Kojima (S/R)
DF Misao (R)
DF Shoji (R)
MF Kozuka (R)
MF Shimakawa (S/R)
MF Puangchan (S/R)
AM Takayama (K)
AM Kobayashi (R)
FW Onaiwu (I)
DF Kishida (R)
DF Nasukawa (S/R)
MF Shimizu (R)
MF Miyasaka (S/R)FW Kawanishi (S/R)
FW Hayashi (S/R)
Shoji – Suzuki – Misao
Matsumoto (I) – Kozuka – Marutani – Takayama(K)
Kobayashi – Mitsuhira
Prediction: 15th – 18th