J-League: Slumping Vissel Kobe Desperate For a Win

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The major European leagues (i.e. the Premier League) may be winding down their respective seasons, but the J-League is still going strong to provide your fix for great football action. The current campaign is just about a third of the way through, and the excitement continues to build.

This weekend’s 12th round of games, in particular, will have a trio of mouth-watering matchups worth wagering on with us.

Defending champions Kawasaki Frontale have a chance to break into the top three as they host second-placed Nagoya Grampus.

Meanwhile, leaders FC Tokyo will be looking to extend their lead at the top when they take on sixth-placed Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo.

And finally, struggling Vissel Kobe visit Yokohama F. Marinos with the hope of finally snap their winless run this weekend.

Kawasaki Frontale vs Nagoya Grampus

Kawasaki Frontale had a somewhat slow start to the season, winning just one of their first five games (three draws, one loss). But after that rough early stretch, the champions have returned to their best form over the past month.

Kawasaki have won five of their last six league matches, which has seen them shoot back up to fourth in the table. They are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 4-0 thrashing of Shimizu S-Pulse away from home last weekend.

Kawasaki are currently the second-highest scorers in the league with 18 goals and have spread the scoring around evenly this season. Yu Kobayashi is their in-form forward, though. The 31-year-old has scored four goals in his last three matches.

However, the champions will face a firm test in Nagoya, who are the league’s top scorers with 20 goals. Nagoya are undefeated in their last five matches, winning two and drawing three. They are coming off a routine 2-0 home win over Urawa Reds over the weekend.

Jo — last season’s top scorer — was on target for the second straight game. The Brazilian and former Manchester City striker has five goals thus far this season.

Despite the two teams’ impressive defensive records — both have conceded just seven goals, the third-fewest in the league — the attacking talent on show should still provide goals in what is likely to be a very competitive match.

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FC Tokyo vs Consadole Sapporo

Eleven games into the season and FC Tokyo are still undefeated. Of those 11 games, they’ve won eight and drawn three to build up a four-point lead at the top of the table.

Tokyo have their terrific defensive record to thank for their impressive unbeaten run. They’ve conceded just five goals thus far this season, which is the fewest in the league.

They haven’t conceded a single goal in their last four J-League matches. But including cup matches, they have actually kept six clean sheets in a row, which is quite impressive.

Meanwhile, Diego Oliveira has been taking care of business on the other end. The Brazilian is the joint-top scorer with seven goals.

Oliveira shares top spot with Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo striker Anderson Lopes. However, Lopes has missed the team’s last two league games, and it remains to be seen whether he will return against Tokyo.

Sapporo have been in fine form of late, going undefeated (four wins, one draw) in their last five games. However, the J-League 2019 betting odds will not be in their favour against Tokyo if they are once again without their star striker.

Yokohama F. Marinos vs Vissel Kobe

A season full of hope and expectations has not gone according to plan for Vissel Kobe, whose J-League 2019 results have been horrendous. Despite the arrival of Spanish star David Villa to join Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski, Vissel have lost their last six league matches and are languishing way down in 13th.

Kobe have found goals tough to come by despite the presence of Villa, who had a promising start to his Japanese career. They have scored just twice in their last four games. Meanwhile, their defence continues to let in goals. They have conceded 18 goals through 11 games, third-most in the league.

Kobe now travel to Yokohama to face a Marinos side that’s been unable to find much consistency this season. They are coming off a 3-0 defeat away to Cerezo Osaka last weekend.

But Yokohama have at least been able to consistently avoid defeat at home. They have won two and drawn three of their first five games. Look for them to frustrate a Kobe side that’s short on form and confidence at the moment.

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Football of the Rising Sun: J-League Promises Exciting Asian Football Matches!

With all of the frantic football action happening in Europe, it’s easy to forget that there is a growing football scene in Asia as well. However, players like Shinji Kagawa, Son Heung-min and Yuto Nagatomo are testaments to the level of football being played in the East.

If you’re interested in how Asian football works, then the J-League is one of the best places to start watching football. Many of the popular Japanese players that are plying their trade in Europe got their start in this league, and it’s here where you can find the next Shinji Kagawa or Maya Yoshida.

Moreover, there are some big names that have decided to come to the Japanese top flight. Their presence alone has made the price of entry for these games worth spending on. It is always interesting to see how these big names can play against the Japanese and feel the effect their names have on the Asian game.

The us football team will be looking at some of these games that will surely pique your attention and punts. You’ll never know: maybe one of these games may become the gateway to your total fascination with the Japanese game.

Vissel Kobe vs Shimizu S-Pulse (March 17, 13:00 GMT+8)

If you’re a fan of the European game and have no clue on which club you should support, I suggest taking a look at Vissel Kobe. The second half of their 2018 season saw Barcelona and Spanish legend Andres Iniesta don Kobe’s kit and finish the year with them.

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They made a lot of J-League 2019 news as well when another notable Barcelona alum, David Villa, joined Iniesta and former Arsenal hitman Lukas Podolski on a free transfer. The 37-year-old showcased his stuff to the Japanese crowd as they took down Torres’ Tosu earlier this month.

Villa may find it difficult to adjust to Japan’s very controlled and calculated culture, but Iniesta will be more than happy to help his team-mate get used to things as he went through the growing pains alone. Moreover, they will bring delight to fans who hope to see some Barcelona magic translate at the NOEVIR Stadium Kobe.

Kobe started the season well as they are now fifth in the league table. Juan Manuel Lillo should know better than underestimate Shimizu, though: the visitors finished two spots above them last season, and Koya Kitagawa is a dangerous striker that they have to watch out for.

Kawasaki Frontale vs Gamba Osaka (March 17, 14:00 GMT+8)

Kawasaki Frontale are the league’s defending champions, and they are coming off two fantastic campaigns in 2016 and 2017. It wouldn’t be weird to expect some great performances from the defending champions as they tried to complete a three-peat — a feat only done by Toyo Industries during Japan’s early years of professional football.

However, they started the season quite slowly as they started the season with three consecutive draws. While it is still early in the season, fifteenth place is the last place you would expect a defending champion to be positioned. Their bitter loss to Shanghai SIPG at the AFC Champions League only adds to the pressure.

Kawasaki Frontale's Yu Kobayashi  creating a play against FC Tokyo

Kawasaki Frontale’s Yu Kobayashi creating a play against FC Tokyo

The most noticeable difference from Kawasaki’s run of form is Yu Kobayashi’s lack of production up front. The Japan international was vital in Kawasaki’s back-to-back championship runs, and his lack of production on the offensive end has a direct correlation to the team’s struggles. He must find his scoring form against Gamba Osaka if they want to get their title defence on track.

Sagan Tosu vs Jubilo Iwata (March 17, 12:00 GMT+8)

Sagan Tosu have firmly established themselves as fixtures in the Japanese top-flight ever since making it to J1 League in 2011. While they haven’t won anything significant since their inception in 1997, they have steadily built their team and fanbase. Their acquisition in 2018 can be considered as the club’s declaration to win more.

Fernando Torres may have had a worse time at Chelsea than Kepa Arrizabalaga, but that still doesn’t discount the fact that he once stood at the top of the footballing world. The 2019 World Cup winner has scored three goals in 19 league appearances, and more will be expected out of the Spaniard as he tries to help the relegation-threatened Tosu against Iwata.

However, it would be fair to say that the J-League 2019 odds are stacked against Torres and his team. While Iwata are yet to win a league game this season, they have more than showed their mettle by snagging draws against Hiroshima and Matsumoto. If they aren’t solid at the back, they could well see themselves lose another game.

 

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