Meiji Yasuda J1 League, Match-day 5 Preview – Kawasaki Frontale’s massive attack to challenge Yokohama FC, while Kashima Antlers hope to end losing streak against defending champions

Meiji Yasuda J1 League, Match-day 5 Preview – Kawasaki Frontale’s massive attack to challenge Yokohama FC, while Kashima Antlers hope to end losing streak against defending champions

Match-day 5 of MEIJI YASUDA J1 League will take place on July 18.

Kawasaki Frontale will face Yokohama FC away. The league leaders' attackers are in a fine form, scoring nine goals in the last three games, securing as many consecutive wins. Akihiro Ienaga, who scored a brace in the last match, is expected to play an important role. Meanwhile, Yokohama FC drew with Vegalta Sendai. Their confidence is improving, and young strikers Kazunari Ichimi and Koki Saito are bringing positive energy to the team.

The clash between FC Tokyo and Urawa Reds is one of the biggest matches of the week. FC Tokyo defeated Yokohama F.Marinos 3-1 last week, when Kensuke Nagai’s speed gave them an extra edge. This will be the last match for Kento Hashimoto in the FC Tokyo kit before he moves to Russia. Urawa are currently in second place after winning the last two games. Their defense is getting increasingly stable and ready to contain FC Tokyo’s speedy attack.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima versus Cerezo Osaka is another interesting match. Hiroshima failed to win the last two, after thundering through the first two games of the season. Their most recent game was a goalless draw at Sagan Tosu. Cerezo Osaka, who suffered their first defeat of the season against Nagoya Grampus, will try to bounce back this weekend. Since both teams boast solid defense, the performance of the attackers could be a decisive factor.

Fifth-place Nagoya Grampus, as said above, gained momentum by defeating Cerezo Osaka, and host Sagan Tosu this week. Hiroyuki Abe is in fine form and could be a key player this week as well. Tosu occupy the 15th spot in the table as they have not seized their first win of the season yet. Although there are serious concerns over their attacking department (which is yet to produce a goal!), things can change if they improve their finishing, as they were finally able to create some chances against Sanfrecce in their last game.

Vegalta Sendai meet Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo at home. They drew with Yokohama FC on their last match-day as Alexandre Guedes scored his first goal. Expectations are high for Takuma Nishimura, who is yet to score after returning to the team. Sapporo had a goalless draw with Shonan Bellmare. Since their main striker Musashi Suzuki will be absent, they need to figure out other ways to find the net.

Gamba Osaka, who jumped up to eighth place by beating Shimizu S-Pulse, will host Oita Trinita. Kazuma Watanabe scored last-minute goals in the last two games and again he could play a decisive role. Oita are maintaining their good form and are undefeated since the restart of the league. While they show strong character even when falling behind, they need to be careful not to concede early in the game.

Kashiwa Reysol will try to stop their losing streak as they host Shonan Bellmare. To achieve such goal, their defense, that conceded three goals in two consecutive matches, needs to become more steady. Shonan as well are struggling, failing to claim a win so far, although they gained a first point by drawing with Sapporo last week. While maintaining  their defense solid, they will try to exploit the opponents through speedy attacks.

Vissel Kobe face Shimizu S-Pulse at home. They usually enjoy more possession of the opponents, but they are struggling to turn it into goals. Brazilian Douglas has the potential to solve the problem, playing in this game against his former team. Shimizu are in dire straits, having lost all four league games so far.

Kashima Antlers are another team yet to win a point in 2020. Their biggest problem is the lack of goals, and young talents such as Itsuki Someno and Ayase Ueda have not stepped up yet. Defending champions Yokohama F.Marinos also did not have the best start of the season as they have won only a game so far. Coming from a defeat versus FC Tokyo last week, they need three points to put an end to this negative period. Last season’s join top scorers Teruhito Nakagawa and Marcos Junior could be the ones to lead the team back to the title race.