Vissel Kobe have been splashing out a lot of money on players the past couple of seasons, but so far it haven’t resulted in any improvement on the pitch. Last year’s 10th was a big disappointment, especially considering they were only 4 points above relegation play-off. With the arrival of Iniesta midway through last season they quickly became the highest profile team in the league, and although Iniesta showed his brilliance from time to time it didn’t improve their overall performance much.
Ahead of this season they have gone and signed another high-profile player in David Villa. It’s become a while since he was banging in goals in La Liga though – and the past 4-5 seasons he’s been playing in Australia (briefly) and MLS which are both leagues of a lower quality than J.League. His goalscoring record the past seasons in MLS were quite good though, and he’s definitely got the qualities to be a threat in Japan too but he’s not getting any younger so he’s not a guaranteed success.
Other than Villa they also brought in a bunch of other players, and their defence in particular have seen major changes. Nishi and Hatsuse will be improvements in the wingback positions, while Dankler is expected to be their main man in central defence. In midfield Japan NT player Yamaguchi have been brought in from local rivals Cerezo Osaka, but although he has a big name his performances for Cerezo the last couple of seasons has been anything but good.
They also got a new manager, but despite all the money-spending I have my doubts the team is good enough to challenge for the title or even a top 3 position. Their key players in Iniesta, Podolski and Villa are all way past their prime, and there’s also some question marks over their defence with many new faces etc. They got the potential to beat just about any team though, so if the players (and manager) click well the sky is the limit.
Performance Past Seasons:
2018: (Predicted: 6th – 9th) 10.
2017: (Predicted: 4th – 8th) 9.
2016: (Predicted: 8th – 11th) 7.
2015: (Predicted: 9th – 13th 12.
2014: (Predicted: 10th – 14th) 11.
2013: (Predicted: 1st – 3rd) 2. (J2)
Average Goals Past Seasons:
2018: 2.85 (45-52) Home: 2.88 / Away: 2.82
2017: 2.50 (40-45) Home: 2.35 / Away: 2.65
2016: 2.91 (56-43) Home: 3.05 / Away: 2.76
2015: 2.73 (44-49) Home: 2.82 / Away: 2.64
2014: 2.91 (49-50) Home: 2.65 / Away: 3.18
2013: 2.83 (78-41) Home: 2.81 / Away: 2.86 (J2)
DF Nishi (R/I)
DF Hatsuse (R)
DF Dankler (R)
MF Yamaguchi (R/I)
FW David Villa (R/I)
DF Theeraton (R)
DF Takahashi (S/R)
DF Yasser (S/R)
DF Inoha (S/R)
DF Kitamoto (S/R)
MF Fujita (I)
MF Matsushita (S/R)
FW Nagasawa (S/R)
FW Otsuki (S/R)
Nishi – Dankler – Osaki – Hatsuse
Mita – Yamaguchi – Goke
Iniesta(K) – Villa – Podolski(I)
Prediction: 6th – 9th