We are finally back at Banpaku as we take on Avispa Fukuoka with a kick-off time of 18:00 local time. After 2 games on the road, the players will be hoping that the home comforts do not come back and bite us as they have done so many times this season with the number of draws we have had.
Gamba come into this game on the back of a 3-2 away win against Fagiano Okayama thanks to a brace by new boy Adi Rocha, although Tatsuya Uchida was the reason why the victory was possible. Avispa on the other hand lost 3-2 to Tokyo Verdy at home. They have lost 3 of their last 5 games, winning 2, and they currently sit 4 points outside of the play-off places in 7th place. They do not concede many but they do not score many either.
The previous encounter between the two sides ended in a 3-2 victory for Gamba. We took a 3-0 lead through a Leandro brace and a Kurata goal but Avispa somehow managed to get 2 goals back through 2 stunners by Ishizu. They deservedly stayed behind in that match and we took the 3 points. This time round, it might be a tougher match if Avispa follow the lead of many of the other visitors to Banpaku.
What Avispa might struggle to deal with is Takashi Usami and Adi Rocha leading the newly-formed frontline that looked excellent in the training matches before the two could play a top-team match. They have been well supplied by Kotaro Omori and also Yasuhito Endo when he has been pushed further forward. The way Uchida played last week, it would be amazing if he does not start alongside Myojin, who was also good. The defence should stay the same even though Konno was dreadful. He needs to remember which position he is playing in!
Omori and Nishino were subbed last week but have been training this week. Paulinho and Abe will probably miss out as they have been limited to running exercises, along with Keisuke Iwashita and Shu Kurata. Akihiro Sato has however started to up his training and seems to be edging closer to a return. With that all said, my predicted team is to the side.
Avispa have Kago, Mizutani and Kihara out but they should stick with their standard 4-5-1 formation but it looks like it will be a tough day at the office for the Kyushu outfit. Their predicted side is on the other side.
Having been outstanding in the victory last weekend against Fagiano Okayama, Tatsuya Uchida has to be the one to watch this weekend. His control, awareness and use of the ball are exquisite skills he possesses but it was his leadership skills that impressed me once again last week. He dragged the team forward and without him, they would have been no way we would have got back into the match last week. I cannot understand why he was not played in recent times and I have been telling him that (although he was very shy about it all). He is only 21 and he needs to be given the chances to bloom sooner rather than later. Let’s see if he can carry on!
I do not fancy Avispa to do much and I am very much hoping that the defence has been tightened up as we have not had a clean sheet for 6 weeks now. Nevertheless, I believe we will win 3-1 as we cannot stop scoring goals in the last few games. We look to be flowing well going forward and even stubborn defences have been carved open easily but I still think Konno will cost us if he carries on from where he stopped last week. Avispa might come and have a go but with their form, being “sensible” might be a better approach if they can defend well.
Photo taken from J’s Goal. No copyright infringement intended. Original here.