Hiroshima had a positive season last year, finishing sixth thanks to their possession football, a well-oiled 3-4-2-1 system and young players such as Tsukasa Morishima, Hayao Kawabe and Keisuke Osako who all showed great improvement. However, there were a few games they failed to win due to lack of finishing quality, and that is where they need improvement in order to be serious challengers for the title this season.
As often, Sanfrecce were quiet in the transfer market and there were no major changes to the squad, thus young players will need to step up and play a more important role. The performance of Leandro Pereira, who joined the team in the middle of last season, could be also a key to determine the team’s results.
Hiroshima have beaten Kashima Antlers 3-0 in the opening match. The front three of Leandro Pereira, Douglas Vieira and Morishima all scored a goal, and the defence was very solid. They would want to keep up momentum as they return to the field.
Aoyama is one of the best Japanese holding midfielders and provides high-quality lateral and vertical passes. He suffered because of injuries during the past season, but he is in a fine condition this year.
A Brazilian attacker with great speed and technique. Although he is only 167 cm tall, he overwhelms the opponents with skilful dribbling, and he is capable to unleash sharp shots. His natural position is attacking midfielder, but he is expected to play as a winger, to take advantage of his ability of pushing forward.