Match-day 11 of Meiji Yasuda J1 League is taking place only a few days after the previous round, and features some big matches.
J1 League leaders Kawasaki Frontale have won the last nine matches, and this week they face the challenge coming from second-place Cerezo Osaka, who are chasing nine points behind. The former has scored the most goals in the league and the latter conceded the least goals: which of these factors will be decisive for victory? Moreover, rookies Kaoru Mitoma (Kawasaki) and Jun Nishikawa (C. Osaka) are on fire, adding thrill to the big match. Both teams are in fine form, and so 90 minutes of great football are to be expected.
Third-place Gamba Osaka host Urawa Reds. Since the home side’s match against Sagan Tosu scheduled for last weekend was postponed, it will be their first league match in 11 days. The imported duo formed by Ademilson and Patrick could play a decisive role. Visitors Urawa kept a clean sheet last week and picked up three points against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Brazilian striker Leonardo is in great form, having scored five goals in the last four matches.
Fourth-place FC Tokyo will travel to Hiroshima after defeating Nagoya Grampus 1-0 on Saturday. The solid defense that kept a clean sheet in the last two matches could be a key factor. Sanfrecce Hiroshima were unable to score a goal despite having 20 shots against Urawa, and their fans are waiting for Leandro Pereira to end his five-game draught.
Fifth-place Nagoya Grampus will be away at Shonan Bellmare. They could not overcome FC Tokyo’s defense and lost 1-0 last Saturday. Their attackers are eager to deliver after failing to do so four days earlier. Shonan have lost the last four matches and sit at the bottom of the table. However, they showed great spirit in the second half against Yokohama FC, and that strong character could help them to turn their season around.
Vissel Kobe will meet Kashiwa Reysol at home. They failed to win the last two matches and drew with Kashima Antlers on Sunday, conceding an equalizer in the last minute. Improving the defense that gave away several goals in each of the last four matches will be an important theme. Meanwhile, Kashiwa suffered the first defeat in six matches last weekend, at the hands of Cerezo Osaka. Although Olunga is still in a great form, scoring in six consecutive matches, he might need more help from other attackers.
Yokohama FC meet Kashima Antlers this week after ending their five-match losing streak by comfortably topping Shonan Bellmare. Yusuke Matsuo, who impressed with his skillful dribbling and two goals, could be a key player this week as well. Kashima Antlers are undefeated for four matches and completely past their initial poor form. The performance of the rookie trio formed by Ryotaro Araki, Yuta Matsumura and Itsuki Someno deserves some attention.
There is a strong connection between Shimizu S-Pulse and Yokohama F.Marinos, as Shimizu boss Peter Cklamovski was an assistant coach at F.Marinos until last season. He is now trying to build a similar style of football at Shimizu. Yokohama F.Marinos are ahead in terms of maturity, but Shimizu are adapting to their new style of football and are unbeaten in five matches. As both managers know well the strength and weakness of their rival, it could be an exciting match, possibly with with a lot of goals.
Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo will meet Oita Trinita at home. They were heavily defeated by Kawasaki on Saturday, which means they lost the last three matches, conceding a total of 12 goals — a problem that Petrovic needs to fix as soon as possible. Oita have secured the first win in the last seven matches by defeating Yokoahama F.Marinos. They will try to keep on with their solid defense and scoring goals from speedy counterattacks.
The match between Vegalta Sendai and Sagan Tosu is postponed due to several players and staff of the visitors testing positive for COVID-19.