Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 26 Preview – History makers, Kawasaki Frontale, eye on another milestone, while Osaka brace for derby

Meiji Yasuda J1 League Match-day 26 Preview – History makers, Kawasaki Frontale, eye on another milestone, while Osaka brace for derby

On Tuesday, seven matches of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League’s Match-day 26 will be in the limelight. The depths of the squads are on trials as teams brace for the mid-week fixture with just two days to recover.

The capital outfit, FC Tokyo and Kashima Antlers will be off the scene this mid-week, having completed their round earlier on the 26th of August. Kashima thumped the host through Everaldo Stum and Juan Alano. Meanwhile, recently on-form Shonan Bellmare will house Yokohama F. Marinos next Wednesday as the sole game of the day.

History makers, Kawasaki Frontale eye on extending their already historic record when they guest Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo this Tuesday. Last Saturday’s triumph over FC Tokyo meant they have now amassed 12 straight wins in the league, as they show no vulnerability on their stride to the title. The previous head-to-head was in absolute favor for the runaway leaders on a six-goal rout and the Jakarta Palembang 2018 Asian Games medalist, Kaoru Mitoma, is banked on to replicate his previous brace against Hokkaido. Sapporo’s away defeat to Gamba Osaka last week will do no favor to stop the fresh graduate, albeit October has been a pleasant surprise for them, collecting three wins in five. The Brazilian forward, Douglas Oliveira, has been scoring in the past two games and will be vital for the visitors to stop the history.

It’s the derby week at Osaka, as the neighbors of Osaka prefecture galvanize for an intense fixture. Gamba Osaka have recently overtaken their rivals to sit second on the ladder and will be visitors at the Yanmar Stadium Nagai this Tuesday. They have been unbeaten for ten games and won the last three fixtures including a 2-1 victory over Sapporo last week. They have been reproducing their 2008 AFC Champions League (ACL) winning outfit with a balanced display on both ends of the pitch. The derby win would provide an immense impetus for their race towards the end of the season, having been defeated by Cerezo Osaka in the previous meeting. However, Cerezo, too, are in dire need of the three points. Their October slippery has caused them the all-or-nothing ACL spot and are three points behind the second-placed Gamba. Despite their latest fixture being a lackluster defeat to Urawa Red Diamonds, the ten days of recovery may prove to be decisive when faced with the fatigued visitors. The sharpened forwards in Hiroaki Okuno and Yuta Toyokawa may cause trouble for the on-form travelers.

Also contending for the Champions League spot, Nagoya Grampus sit third on the table after beating Kashima Antlers last week. Backed by the solid defence, diminutive forward, Mateus, has been leading the frontline. Pressing intensively upfront, the systemic display could take its toll on the away side, Sagan Tosu, who have been winless for eight games. Tosu’s bright young talent, Daichi Hayashi is the dim light of hope for the muddled team.

After sharing the spoils with Vegalta Sendai last week, Sanfrecce Hiroshima will house Urawa at home. The Saturday’s rested players such as forward Leandro Pereira will be demanded to invigorate the team. Likewise, Urawa come off from a disappointing draw at the Oita Bank Dome last week. The goalless draw on Saturday may have sent messages to the occasionally valiant forwards.

Baffled Yokohama FC finally return home after two outings of away crushing. Having failed to score during these two fixtures, improvement at the final-third would be critical for them to overturn the recent gloom. The gloomy outlook is no different at Oita Trinita. They have not won in the past four matches and have only managed to score once. The sole scorer of their previous head-to-head against Yokohama, 28-year-old Tatsuya Tanaka, is all they count on.

Mired Shimizu S-Pulse open the fixture with a new gaffer, Hiroaki Hiraoka, after the departure of Australian Peter Cklamovski. Former Shimizu defender Hiroaki takes over at a tough sitch, with the outfit winless for the past seven games. And the team that best understand the impact of managerial shift is visitors, Vissel Kobe. They have won five out of nine games since the change of management. It includes a recent victory against Vegalta Sendai last weekend and despite the worrying number of concessions, Kyogo Furuhashi and Douglas have been remarkable enough to relieve the Atsuhiro Miura-led setup.

The wooden spoonist, Vegalta, will house Kashiwa Reysol at home. The goalless draw last week with Hiroshima was rather a relief for the 16-match winless Sendai and their consistent display of congealed defence could increase their chances of winning this Tuesday. Similarly, Kashiwa drew with a clean sheet against Shimizu on Saturday. However, their last head-to-head records a stunning 5-1 triumph through Michael Olunga hat trick, and the repetition of the previous rout would be beneficial ahead of their J. League Cup final this weekend.