Three things to know: Matchweek 4

Three things to know: Matchweek 4

One perfect team left

Vissel Kobe are the last perfect team remaining in the Meiji Yasuda J1 League. The Ushi have scored eight goals, tops in J1, and only conceded once, which is the fewest in the league. With such good play in front of both goals, it’s no surprise that they have three wins from three matches.

This week, the Ushi put their perfect record on the line when Urawa Reds visit Kobe. Urawa got on track last week when they came from behind to beat Cerezo Osaka, 2-1, for their first points of the season. It was the Reds’ first home game of the season, but now they’re playing away again and at the top team in the league.

Newly promoted clubs off to very different starts

Albirex Niigata and Yokohama FC made the jump up from J2 this season, but that’s about all they have in common so far in 2023.

Albi are off to a terrific beginning to the campaign thanks to a dangerous attack that has scored six goals in three matches. They are the only team in the league to have scored multiple goals in each contest and it’s led them to an undefeated start that has them contending among the top teams.

Yokohama have not been as successful and are in last place, still in search of their first win of the season.

This weekend will be a good test of Albi’s staying power as they welcome Kawasaki Frontale to Niigata in a big match that will surely bring out the best in the supporters. Meanwhile, the Fulie visit F.C.Tokyo as they try to look more like their fellow newly promoted side and pick up some points.

Are Kashima or Avispa contenders?

Kashima Antlers were tipped to be one of the teams that could leap up and contend for the title in 2023 and that have lived up to expectations so far. They’ve won two matches already and their only defeat came in an unlucky finish against Kawasaki Frontale.

Avispa Fukuoka did not enter the season with nearly the same expectations after last year’s 14th place finish, but they’ve been just as good as Kashima with two wins of their own. Their only loss came away to table topping Vissel and they’ve shown the ability to manage games extremely well, putting them in contention to challenge at the top very early on.

This weekend, Avispa head to Kashima in a match that could be a clue as to which team is ready to be a factor in the title race. Is it Antlers, as expected, or are the boys from Fukuoka ready to shake things up?