Saturday, 30 January 2010

Grampus 2010: Gunning for the Title

Nagoya have announced their squad for this season. Below is an abbreviated table of the players that will hopefully be challenging for the title come the end of the season.

So what can we expect from this team? Well, they should certainly be stronger than last year. We may have lost a good young defender, Maya Yoshida, to VVV, and the inconsistent Milos Bajalica, but Tulio and Chiyotanda are more than adequate replacements. This leaves the defence stronger and much more experienced than last year.

However, it is in midfield that the biggest improvement has taken place. Last year, both Josh Kennedy and Keiji Tamada spent a lot of time dropping back into midfield. This was partly due to the fact that the midfield was too slow to get the ball forward. The addition of Danilson and Mu Kanazaki should alleviate this problem and allow the two forwards to concentrate on wreaking havoc in the opposition area.

Nagoya Grampus 2010

Italics denote new signings for 2010.

Pos. Name No. H/W Age
GK Seigo Narazaki 1 187/80 33
GK Koji Nishimura 21 186/78 25
GK Toru Hasegawa 31 187/70 21
GK Yoshinaari Takagi 50 187/86 30
DF Akira Takeuchi 2 180/71 26
DF Mitsuru Chiyotanda 3 183/80 29
DF Tulio 4 185/82 28
DF Takahiro Masukawa 5 191/93 30
DF Shohei Abe 6 171/70 26
DF Genta Matsuo 23 177/75 23
DF Tatsuya Arai 26 188/80 22
DF Hayuma Tanaka 32 174/64 27
MF Naoshi Nakamura 7 176/72 31
MF Magnum 8 174/72 27
MF Igor Burzanovic 9 183/80 24
MF Yoshizumi Ogawa 10 173/67 25
MF Keiji Yoshimura 14 176/72 30
MF Danilson 20 185/80 23
MF Koji Hashimoto 22 177/70 23
MF Shinta Fukushima 24 171/69 21
MF Mu Kanazaki 25 180/70 20
MF Sho Hanai 27 179/66 20
MF Taishi Taguchi 28 174/65 18
MF Ryota Isomura 33 181/70 18
MF Alex Santos 38 178/69 32
FW Keiji Tamada 11 173/67 29
FW Josh Kennedy 16 194/84 27
FW Yuki Maki 17 182/75 25
FW Keita Sugimoto 19 173/70 27
FW Hikaru Kuba 29 165/57 19

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Cerezo Part Company with Kaio (Borrow Adriano)

On Monday, Cerezo Osaka announced that Brazilian midfielder Kaio would be leaving the club as his loan period has expired. At the same time, they also announced that they have acquired (on loa)n a different Brazilian, striker Adriano from Internacional in Brazil.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Grampus to Kick-off Against Gamba

The league has announced the pairings for the first three games of the season, although no kick-off times have yet been decided.
J1 and J2 Fixtures (Rounds 1-3) in Japanese

Nagoya will get an early test of their new lineup. They have been drawn away at Gamba Osaka for the opening game of the season on 6 March and home to Kawasaki Frontale for the second.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Four Grampi Called Up for Japan Training Camp

Japan manager Takeshi Okada has called up four players from Nagoya (Narazaki, Tulio, Kanazaki and Tamada) for the training camp ahead of the friendly against Venezuela early next month. The squad also includes Cerezo's Shinji Kagawa, who missed the recent trip to Yemen due to his foot operation, and Vissel's Yoshito Okubo.


Seigo Narazaki (Grampus), Eiji Kawasaki (Kawasaki Frontale), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)


Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama Marinos), Tulio (Grampus), Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Yuhei Tokunaga (FC Tokyo), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers), Taisuke Muramatsu (Shonan Bellmare)


Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima Antlers), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Naohiro Ishikawa (FC Tokyo), Yuki Abe (Urawa Reds), Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe), Mu Kanazaki (Grampus), Shinji Kagawa (Cerezo Osaka)


Keiji Tamada (Grampus), Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Sota Hirayama (FC Tokyo), Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse), Shinzo Koroki (Kashima Antlers)

Other Coverage
Japan Times: Surprise callup breathes new life into Ogasawara's World Cup hopes

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Maya Injury Clouds Move to VVV

Newly promoted to the full national side, Japan defender Maya Yoshida has broken his foot in training. Since the injury is likely to sideline Maya for a couple of months, it means that his move may not go through. (Although, I think it more likely to go through than otherwise.) Don't forget, all he has signed so far is a provisional agreement, his official signing had not been expected to take place until later in the month. (Can only see Dutch reports on this so far, Google News finds nothing in English yet.) (Dutch): Langdurig geblesseerde Yoshida houdt hoop op VVV-contract
SportsNavi: 吉田がトルコ合宿で骨折 VVV移籍に影響も

One has to wonder why VVV did not allow Maya a few days to get used to things in Holland. The lad has had a tough schedule the last few week, playing 120 minutes against S-Pulse on 29 December, then 90 minutes against Gamba on 1 January, and 90 minutes against Yemen in the Gulf on 6 January. Not wonder he is a bit fatigued after a long hard season (playing 46 games) in which he was often our only dependable central defender. (Bajalaica was missing for several months of the season.)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Grampus Roundup (+ FC Gifu)


Last, but certainly not least, a round up of all the comings and goings at Nagoya Grampus and FC Gifu, for all our readers in the Tokai region (which is about 40% of our readers in Japan). As I have already noted elsewhere, Grampus have moved quickly and decisively during this off season, and overall look in a good position to challenge for the J1 title this year. But, a lot will depend on how quickly the new players settle into the team.

IN Age OUT Age
DF: Tatsuya Arai (From Chuo University)
22 MF: Kei Yamaguchi (Full transfer to JEF United)
MF: Mu Kanazki (Full transfer from Oita Trinita) 20FW: Oribe Niikawa (Full transfer to FC Ryukyu)
DF: Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Full transfer from Urawa Reds) 28 GK: Koichi Hirono (Retired)
MF: Danilson (Loan from Consadole Sapporo) 23 DF: Kazuto Tsuyuki (Full transfer to Roasso Kumamoto, from loan at Tokushima Vortis) 25
GK: Yoshinari Takagi (Full transfer from Tokyo Verdy) 30 DF: Milos Bajalica (Released) 28
DF: Mitsuru Chiyotanda (Full transfer from Albirex Niigata) 29 DF: Maya Yoshida (Full transfer to VVV Venlo) 21
MF: Yoshiki Hiraki (Loan to Roasso Kumamato) 23
DF: Masaya Sato (Loan to Thespa Kusatsu) 19
FW: Tomohiro Tsuda (Loan to Tokushima Vortis) 23
MF: Jun Aoyama (Full transfer to Tokushima Vortis) 22


Meanwhile, FC Gifu will be looking to consolidate their position in J2. Last season saw them finish a respectable 12th in J2 and make it to the quarter-finals of the Emperor's Cup; not bad for a recently promoted team. They will be hard-pressed to match such heroics this year, I suspect.

FW: Kazuto Sakamoto (From Kagoshima Jitsugyo High School) DF: Kan Kikuchi (Released)
DF: Flavio Augusto Pereira (From Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen High School) MF: Seo Kwan Soo (Released)
GK: Tatsuya Murao (From Miyazaki Sangyo-Keiei University) MF: Satoshi Otomo (Released)
DF: Tomohiro Yamauchi (From Tokai Gakuen University) GK: Masatoshi Mizutani (Released)
DF: Kazuki Murakami (From Hiroshima University) FW: Masato Katayama (Full transfer to Mito Hollyhock)
FW: Kang Hyo-Il (Released after loan to FC Kariya)
FW: Hiromi Kojima (Released after loan to FC Kariya)
MF: Yosuke Kawasaki (Released after loan to FC Kariya)
FW: Cha Dong Hoon (Released after loan to FC Kariya)
FW: Yuki Tamura (Released after loan to Gainare Tottori)

Friday, 8 January 2010

Grampus Bag Chiyotanda!

Nagoya have signed Albirex defender Mitsuru Chiyotanda. Like the signing of Danilson, this was muted time ago ago, but seemed to have receded from the horizon. This gives us another central defender, and means that we will be going into the new season with Tulio, Masukawa and Chiyotanda, as experienced defenders. (Going in the opposite direction, young defender Masaya Sato has been loaned out to TheSpa Kusatsu. Masaya is a promising youngster and should prove a worthy addition to TheSpa's squad.)

This may well spell the end of our acquisitions, since it gives us a good defence, even if two of the players are new to the club, and a much more creative midfield. Provided Josh Kennedy extends his contract, as expected, we now look well set for the season. So far, it looks like manager Stojkovic and general manager Kume have learned their lessons from this year. Now it is up to the manager to get the most out a much improved and deeper squad.

Club announcement: 千代反田充選手、移籍新加入のお知らせ

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Grampus Sign Verdy Goalie Takagi

In our continuing quest to strengthen the team, for a push for the league title, Nagoya have signed Tokyo Verdy goalkeeper Yoshinari Takagi. Yoshinari will not cause Seigo Narazaki to loose much sleep, but give the team more depth when Narazaki is injured. The lack of reliable cover in this position was cruelly exposed when the Japan 'keeper was out for three months.

Bad boys take a beating in TV ads | The Japan Times Online

There is nothing about football in this interesting article about sponsorship in sport, but it does have a Kansai connection with the mention of the Kamedas. By the way, does anyone really believe that the media and the golf authorities knew nothing about Tiger's floosies until after his crash? They were just more interested in not killing the golden goose, until it became such a big story.

Bad boys take a beating in TV ads | The Japan Times Online

Japan's Young Guns Clinch Asian Cup Place

Japan's youngsters got off to slow start, being pushed back by the lively home team and finding themselves 2-0 down in the first half. Fortunately, Sota Hirayama pulled one back before the break, and the team went one to win the game 3-2. The FC Tokyo striker came off the bench when the team was trailing 1-0, but made the most of his opportunity to press his claim for a place in the squad for the World Cup.

Shuichi Gonda
Kosuke Ota, Maya Yoshida, Naoya Kikuchi, Tomoaki Makino
Kazuya Yamamura, Takuji Yonemoto, Mu Kanazaki, Naoki Yamada (Sota Hirayama 20), Yosuke Kashiwagi
Kazuma Watanabe (Kensuke Nagai 84)

Other Coverage
Japan Times: Hirayama's hat trick lifts Japan by Yemen
Daily Gomiuri: Hirayama triples up in debut
ESPN: Japan seal place at 2011 Asian Cup finals
AFC: YEM 2-3 JPN – Hirayama hat-trick rescues Japan

Monday, 4 January 2010

Grampus Strengthen Midfield with Addition of Danilson

The much rumoured (a month or so ago) signing of Colombian midfielder Danilson from Consadole Sapporo has indeed taken place... sort of. The two clubs have announced that the 23-year old Danilson (full name Luis Danilson Cordoba Rodrigues) will join Nagoya on a one-year loan from February to January of next year.

With Mu Kanazaki and Danilson in the team, we should be much stronger in an area that has been one of its weakest areas for several seasons. Both Keiji Tamada and Josh Kennedy should benefit from the improved service they will receive. We might even see an improvement in the workrate of Igor Burzanovic, since both Mu and Danilson are younger than the talented but often ineffective 24-year old. (Now, as for the central defence, we may have to hope that Tatsuya Arai can adapt to life J1 quickly.)

Club announcement: ダニルソン選手、期限付き移籍新加入のお知らせ
Japan Times: Nagoya flexing muscles with ambitious big-name signings

Cerezo Keep Kagawa for 2010

Good news for football fans in Kansai. Hot property, Shinji Kagawa has signed a one-year extension with Cerezo Osaka and is now officially staying for the 2010 season. With Bando up front, the team should have a great chance of surviving in J1 next year, and should make them one of the most attractive draws in the league.

Cerezo's official announcement: 香川真司選手 契約更新のお知らせ
Japan Times: Kagawa decides to stay at Cerezo

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Keita: Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Nagoya's erratic speedster Keita Sugimoto has still not agreed terms on a new contract. This is mainly due to the fact that the club has offered him a new contract at a much reduced salary. As a result he is said to be contemplating offers from other clubs. The question is should Nagoya let a player with such a strong lucky touch leave? Surely his decisive pinball blast in the penalty shootout against Shimizu is worth an extra million yen or two on top of the club's current offer. :-)

Sugimoto himself has said that he is willing to consider playing as a wing back. While this would use him in a position where he has put in some of his better performances, when previous manager Sef Vergoossen was forced to use him in that position when Makoto Kakuda was injured. SInce he was starting from a deeper position, he was able to make good use of his speed on the overlap whilst not getting caught off-side with monotonous regularity. Unfortunately, he would have a hard job getting a starting place ahead of either Hayuma Tanaka or Shohei Abe, both of whom are good defenders, even if they are not much better at getting over accurate crosses. He is also prone to run out of gas after about 70 minutes, which makes it hard to see Pixie using him on a regular basis. He may well be get more chances to play if he did move, and he would certainly add some character to whichever team he chose to join.

So, will he stay or will he go? The cLub, the player himself and fans alike will be in two minds on which of these options is best.

Honda Signs for CSKA

As expected, former Grampus midfielder Keisuke Honda has joined CSKA Moccow, where he will get a chance to play in the Champions League. This seems a strange move for Keisuke since he will have to adapt to a different style of football in the months ahead of the World Cup, something that is likely to hurt his chances of forcing his way into Okada's plans.

However, we should remember that CSKA were willing to pay close to the 10 million euro transfer fee VVV were demanding. This is what prevented a move within Holland before the season began. Unlike then, VVV will have been keen to encourage Honda to leave, rather than wait for him to go on a free transfer after his contract expires at the end of the season.

Other Coverage
Goal.Com: Official: CSKA Moscow Sign VVV Star Keisuke Honda
UEFA Donkeys: 'Emperor Keisuke' joins the Army Men
Japan Times: Honda signs 4-year deal with CSKA Moscow

Friday, 1 January 2010

Gamba Ease Past Grampus in Cup Final

An intriguing matchup saw Gamba control much of the first half with their slick passing and quicker speed of thought. This duly saw them take an early lead when a quick string of passes sliced through our defence. Nagoya equalised when Naoshi headed home Josh's lay-off near the end. The second half was much more even, with neither team able to stamp their authority on the game. However, Gamba's superior technique and control saw them eventually run out 4-1 winners after a closely fought second half saw them score three goals in the final 15 minutes.

Good link play by Josh. Tamada shot from loose ball. Lucas goal from neat lay-off by Yamazaki after slick move down left flank. Ogawa curler after good break by Magnum down right. Tamada header from Abe cross, straight at Matsuyo. Yamaguchi header from Endo FK comfortably saved by Narazaki. Gamba closed down Grampus build-ups quickly, making them even slower than usual. Bajalaica outfoxed by Myojin to allow Lucas to get free shot off, but fortunately he dragged it wide. Yamazaki long-range effort. Ogawa fluffed FK from 30 meters. Yoshimura shot clips outside of post. Magnum shot flies over. Narazaki smothers good through ball to Yamazaki. Naoshi goal from headed lay-off from Kennedy, after good work by Tamada on right. His beautifully weighted cross gave Josh time and space to head across to Nakamura. THis saw Nagoya get back into the game and spend the remaining minutes pressing for a second.

HT: 1-1

Ogawa shot forced good save from Matsuyo and Tamada's effort from the loose ball deflected wide by good block from Yasuda. Yamaguchi shot drifted wide. JOsh header glanced wide. Scrappy spell. Magnum break through center but cross just slightly under-hit with Josh and Tamada free. ANother good break by Magnum was even more frustrating, as he pulled the ball back behind Kennedy. Futugawa free in box but shot/pass goes out for goal kick. Tamada yellow card for simulation. Endo pick up loose ball in middle drifts past Maya and Milos to place shot wide of Narazaki. Maki shot from 20 meters easily handled by Matsuyo. Maki flick headed over by Cho. Futugawa break through middle sees him add third after exchanging passes with Endo. In added time, an Endo neat chest trap leaves Bajalaica in the dust as he calmly strokes home to add a fourth in injury time.

FT: 4-1

Gamba Osaka
Naoki Matuyo
Akira Kaji, Sota Nakazawa, Satoru Yamaguchi, Michihiro Yasuda
Tomokazu Myojin, Hideo Hashimoto, Yasuhito Endo, Takahiro Futagawa
Lucas, Masato Yamazaki (Cho Jae JIn)
Scorers: Lucas 6, Endo 77, 90+2, Futagawa 86

Nagoya Grampus
Seigo Narazaki
Hayuma Tanaka, Milos Bajalaica, Maya Yoshida, Shohe Abe
Yoshizumi Ogawa (IGor Burzanovic 21), Naoshi Nakamura (Yuki Maki 80), Keiji Yoshimura (Alex Santos 80), Magnum
Keiji Tamada, Josh Kennedy
Scorer: Nakamura 40

Other Coverage
Malaysia Star: Endo steers Osaka to victory in Emperor's Cup