Gamba continue on the road this weekend and look to make it five wins from five games as we take on Yokohama FC at the Mitsuzawa Stadium on Sunday with this 18:00 local time kick-off match. Both teams had similar expectations at the start of the season but have had contrasting seasons thus far and we will aim to continue to pile on the pain for the Kanagawa side.
The hosts for the match come into the game in terrible form having won just once in their last 8 games, even if that victory was their last home match, a 1-0 win over the also out-of-form Kyoto Sanga. Before that, they had won 4 in 5 games but have hit the wall in recent times. Their result in midweek was a 2-0 away defeat to V-Varen Nagasaki which means they have not scored in 5 successive away days.
Gamba, on the other hand, are on very good form after a mini-blip in July when we won just 1 match in 4 games. Since then, we have taken down our last 4 opponents and have scored a total of 14 goals in that time whilst conceding 3. The combination of Takashi Usami and Adi Rocha has wielded 10 of those goals in that time.
If we take a look at Yokohama FC’s home form this season, then we can see that they did not win at home until the 8th June, a total of 3 draws and 5 defeats but getting the win on the 9th attempt against Gainare Tottori thanks to a 2-1 score line in their favour. They have since won 3 of the last 5 and have scored in all of those contests but have kept just one clean sheet. The only notable name on the list of teams they have beaten is Kyoto Sanga however. That was just their 3rd clean sheet in total at home whilst they have failed to score in 5 home games this season.
The first meeting between Yokohama FC and Gamba came all the way back in match day 3 when both teams could not find the back of the net in a 0-0 draw at Banpaku, although it was not for the lack of trying. That match was also Takaharu Nishino’s first ever start and my word hasn’t he grown in stature and importance since that day.
Yokohama have one man suspended for this game and that man is defender Bae Seung-Jin after he picked up his 8th booking of the season and will therefore miss 2 matches whilst defender Takanori Nakajima and midfielder Takumi Watanabe are set to miss out through injuries. Bae’s replacement is set to be Morimoto. Starters from the midweek defeat to Nagasaki Takumi Watanabe and Kensuke Sato are forecast to be replaced by Yuki Matsushita and Tomoya Uchida. You can see their entire predicted line-up to the side.
As for us, I cannot see many changes, if any at all, to the starting eleven that conquered Gainare Tottori at a canter on Wednesday. Of course, the most likely replacements would be Takahiro Futagawa and Tomokazu Myojin but the only player I could see dropping to the bench would be Kenya Okazaki. That is only as he has played 2 games in a week and Kenta Hasegawa likes to moderate the inclusion of the younger players. I would expect no changes to be made although one or two would not hurt in the overall scale of things. You can see my predicted line-up on the opposite side.
With all that in mind, I choose Kotaro Omori as my man to watch for this match day as he has been superb since getting his chance back at the start of last month. I have probably said similar things when I gave him man of the match against Avispa Fukuoka but I think Omori has always had that raw talent but was never really given many opportunities under Masanobu Matsunami last season and he has only recently started games this season. Having said that, his energy makes him a very good winger in attack and defence whilst his combination play with the forwards and Kaji is great. He just needs to be a bit more selfish at times when going forward and get a goal that he would thoroughly deserve. Yokohama FC must be at their best if they are to stop him supplying Usami and Rocha with the chances that they are gobbling up right now.
So yes, I think we will win this match as well. I think another 3-0 prediction will not be far off the mark as long as the back line stops giving away some decent chances to the opposition. I look at the team and I just see goals. Usami and Rocha in particular but with the set-up play from Omori, Endo and Okazaki (to name a few), I think we can get goals from all corners of the pitch, as we showed against Tottori on Wednesday. Yokohama are in pretty poor form and are terrible at home to be honest. I believe that they were quite lucky to leave Banpaku with a point at the start of the season and I also believe that we are better now than we were back then and having won the majority of our away games, I think this might just be another home defeat for Yokohama. We seem confident right now and are able to flick the switch that wins us the game thanks to short bursts of greatness and are just that much better than everyone else in the league. Anything less than a win would be a bad result.
Photo taken from Gamba Osaka’s Official Website. No copyright infringement intended. Original here.