Ueda aims to keep his place atop the scoring chart
Kashima Antlers forward Ayase Ueda’s five goals have thrust him to the top of the Meiji Yasuda J1 League scoring chart, with his team now also top of the table in points. It’s been a terrific start to the season in every way for Ueda and Co., but can he continue it against a fellow title rival in Yokohama F·Marinos on Matchweek 8?
Right on his heels for Golden Boot honors this season you'll find a pair of newly-promoted attackers, with Yuto Suzuki's four goals helping keep Júbilo Iwata out of the drop zone and 38-year-old Peter Utaka doing the same with four goals of his own for Kyoto Sanga F.C.
A group of 11 players on three goals just behind them includes top talents like Anderson Lopes and Teruhito Nakagawa from Yokohama F·Marinos, Matheus Sávio and Mao Hosoya from Kashiwa Reysol, and Takashi Inui and Hiroto Yamada from Cerezo Osaka.
The race for Top Scorer is going to be thrilling, but Ueda has the lead right now and has shown no signs of slowing down. Let's see how he does when the Antlers host Marinos.
Kashiwa get their crack at the champions
Kawasaki Frontale have lost their spot atop the table and have certainly struggled more in the early going than we have seen in recent seasons, but they are still in second place and the defending champions for a reason. Manager Toru Oniki has proven over the years that he can find solutions to any dips in form and a reshuffle could be coming in terms of personnel and style of play when high-flying Kashiwa Reysol visit this weekend.
Reysol are off to a magnificent start to the season, jumping up to third place with 16 points from seven matches. They are right on Frontale’s heels and within arms reach of table-toppers Kashima thanks to a defense that has conceded only three times.
Are Reysol title challengers? They look it so far, and a win over Frontale would be a statement that they are here to stay. By contrast, Kawasaki could really make a statement of intent by defending home turf with a win.
Sagan’s defense vs. Utaka
Sagan Tosu have not lost a match this season and it’s because of their predictably excellent defense. They’ve allowed just two goals in seven games, the best mark in the league, and look every bit like the impenetrable rearguard we saw at points last season.
That defense is what will stand between Utaka and the goal this weekend. The Kyoto Sanga F.C. striker has four goals on the campaign and his movement has given opposing defenses fits. Will his tremendous movement and clinical finishing continue against the best defense the J.League has to offer at the moment? We'll find out!