Football Tribe Japan
After two successive defeats in all competitions, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo faced Matsumoto Yamaga in Matchday 18 of the J1. Also in this game, Thai National team star Chanathip Songkrasin was unable to participate.
Even without Chanathip leading the offense, Consadole showed a very offensive game style and managed 16 shots on Matsumoto’s goal.
The opening goal was from Consadole but the team wasn’t able to maintain the advantage until the end of the game. The result was a draw and Consadole lost two important points.
I will introduce Sapporo’s strengths and needed improvements based on their performance in Matchday 18.
Suzuki Musashi as a Shadow Striker
With Chanathip Songkrasin injured Consadole played the last 2 games (against Vegalta Sendai and Matsumoto Yamaga) with Jay Bothroyd as the main striker and Suzuki Musashi as a shadow. These two games showed us that Suzuki Musashi has the potential to cover different positions.
Suzuki Musashi unexpectedly played the same role as Chanathip quite well.
Also, with his propulsive power and speed, he was able to give the team a better performance then Chanathip when the game moved to one side of the pitch. His incredible speed and crosses meant that the opponent was not able to organize their defense inside the area properly.
Additionally, he has very good compatibility with the top striker Jay Bothroyd. Jay usually likes to draw back a little and receive the ball on his feet. With this movement, Jay created space for the offense and made it very difficult for Matsumoto Yamaga`s players to defend. Suzuki Musashi, as a natural striker, was always there to create dangers.
The absence of Chanathip is definitely a big problem, but it has also demonstrated the flexibility in Suzuki Musashi play.
Arano Takuma is Improving his Skills
With Anderson Lopes not able to play, Arano Takuma played instead of him as a shadow for several games. The experience he gained in those games is also improving the performance in his main position.
In this game, he showed perfect timing to enter on opponents block when the Consadole’s offensive play started. Also, he was very good at creating chances for Jay Bothroyd.
Playing in a different position in this case of emergency made his "wild" play more "sophisticated".
Against Opponents Who Make Blocks...
As several teams do at Sapporo stadium, also Matsumoto looked to defend their goal with a 5-4 defensive block.
Against a team that makes a solid block the presence of Akito Fukumori as a defender with playmaking ability is very important. When free of pressure, Akito Fukumori’s passing skills are world class.
His ball for Jay Bothroyd at the start of the game, the accurate long ball at minute 33 of the match, Akito Fukumori's passes are a very powerful weapon for the team.
With opponents that build solid block, it’s really important to make him play outside the block and work to break it down.
Great Countermeasures against Matsumoto Yamaga
At the beginning of the match, Consadole’s countermeasure against Matsumoto was really interesting. Consadole didn't try to make possession so much but, when the opponent’s press was not so high, Consadole tried to search the forwards with a long ball. Even if the opponent stole the ball Consadole didn't try so hard to press back immediately and win back the ball. The moment Matsumoto tried to use more player on the offense, they stole the ball and counter. With a combination of long balls and dribbles from Lucas Fernandes and Anderson Lopes, Matsumoto Yamaga had a really hard time on defending.
Also, when Matsumoto start pressing after making their 5-4 defensive block, Consadole started to push forward using their wing-backs.
Consadole changed his way to play depending on the opponent’s style perfectly.
Things to be Improved...
In this game, their defense against set plays was something that bothered me, especially the routine that led to the goal.
Consadole placed Fukumori Akito at the near post, thinking it would be a major danger area for them. However, it is a bit strange to bring Fukumori, with a height of 183 cm, in that position. Isn't a player with a shorter stature enough to cover the near post?
Also, we have to pay attention to the defender Shindo Ryosuke. Together with the goalkeeper Gu Sung-Yun, he has played all the J1 league games until now.
In this game, he took care of Matsumoto Yamaga`s Daisuke Maeda wonderful speed. However, the Japanese hot summer has started and it is getting more difficult to play every game with this weather. He will need to rest at some point.
Additionally, Sapporo still need a bit of time until Hiroki Miyazawa comes back at full power on the pitch.