It seems like just yesterday that the J-League season kicked off back in March. And now, it’s is just over the halfway stage.
FC Tokyo remain in firm control with a six-point lead atop the table. However, they face a tough test this weekend as third-placed Kawasaki Frontale stop by for a visit.
Meanwhile, there’s another top-six clash in-store when Oita Trinita host Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, who are aiming to get back on track after recent setbacks.
And at the bottom end of the table, Matsumoto Yamaga and Jubilo Iwata collide in a six-pointer as they look to claw their way out of the relegation zone.
Allow SBOBET to break down how those three intriguing matchups in the 19th section of the J-League season will all play out.
FC Tokyo vs Kawasaki Frontale
FC Tokyo have seemingly gotten through their recent rough patch. After losing three of four matches, the leaders have bounced back with back-to-back home wins over Yokohama F. Marinos and Gamba Osaka as they continue to have a six-point lead.
Promisingly, they scored seven goals in those two games, with forwards Kensuke Nagai and Diego Oliveira scoring three apiece.
After a considerable scoring drought, the Brazilian has finally rediscovered his scoring touch. He is currently the league’s co-leading goalscorer along with David Villa with 10 league goals.
However, Oliveira and Nagai will have their work cut out for them as they face Kawasaki Frontale, who now boast the best defence in the league. The defending champions have shipped just 11 goals in their first 13 matches. Although, they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in three of their last four league assignments.
Kawasaki have lost just once thus far this season — the fewest in the league — and have gone undefeated in their last nine matches (five wins, four draws).
Kawasaki and FC Tokyo played out a goalless draw in their first meeting of the season, which also happened to be the first match of the season. With the calibre of defence on show, this has the potential to be another tight, low-scoring affair.
Oita Trinita vs Consadole Sapporo
Oita Trinita continue to trend in the wrong direction following last week’s 1-0 away defeat to Yokohama F. Marinos. Trinita have now won just once in their last seven matches (three draws, three defeats).
The defence, which had been such a strength early in the season, has started to struggle. They’ve shipped nine goals over the last seven games with just one clean sheet after giving up just six goals in their first 11.
It also hasn’t helped that star striker Noriaki Fujimoto’s goals have dried up of late. He’s scored just one goal in his last eight appearances.
Trinita can’t afford another defeat against their next opponents, Consadole Sapporo, who are just one point below them in sixth.
Although, Sapporo haven’t exactly been a picture of consistency of late. They’ve won just twice in their last eight matches, with four draws and two defeats.
However, Sapporo remain a dangerous proposition, in large part due to the talents of Anderson Lopes. After missing a month and a half, the Brazilian has gone back to making J-League 2019 highlights; he’s scored four goals in his last four starts and now has 11 on the season.
With a potential match-winner in Lopes coupled with Trinita’s shaky defence, this is a perfect opportunity for Sapporo to overtake Oita in the table.
Matsumoto Yamaga vs Jubilo Iwata
It’s been a tough season thus far for both Matsumoto Yamaga and Jubilo Iwata. Both clubs are now second-bottom and bottom, respectively, after some poor run of form and are also the two lowest-scoring sides.
Matsumoto did pick up an important point last week in a draw away to Sapporo, which snapped a three-match losing skid.
Speaking of three-match skids, Jubilo are in the midst of one themselves following last week’s 2-0 defeat to Kashima Antlers. They’ve now gone six matches since their last victory, suffering four defeats and two draws as they’ve steadily descended to the bottom of the table.
With a matchup between two equally matched sides such as these, home-field advantage could just be the difference in determining the result. It proved to be in their first meeting of the season as Jubilo Iwata came out on top, 1-0.
Matsumoto Yamaga will now have that advantage this time around and will look to capitalise in order to earn some much-needed points. But given the lack of firepower on either squad, it’s also quite possible this match ends in a drab goalless draw.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.