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Cerezo Osaka start the new season next Saturday when they play the Fuji Xerox Super Cup against J.League champions Kawasaki Frontale at Saitama Stadium 2002. Although they signed some new players during the pre-season, such as Yang Dong-Hyun and Toshiyuki Takagi, and they seem to impress the manager to some extent, it is likely that he picks a familiar lineup.

Then, specifically, who are going to stand on the pitch in the season’s first game against Kawasaki? To consider it, let’s see which players were selected to starting lineups in training matches.

 

vs Bangkok Glass FC (Jan 23)
GK: Kim Jin-Hyeon
DF: Matsuda, Maruhashi, Kimoto, Jonjic
MF: Souza, Yamaguchi, Mizunuma, Kiyotake
FW: Kakitani, Yang Dong-Hyun

vs National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya (Jan 30)
GK: Kim Jin-Hyeon
DF: Matsuda, Maruhashi, Jonjic, Yamashita
MF: Souza, Yamaguchi, Mizunuma, Kiyotake
FW: Kakitani, Sugimoto

vs All Japan University Selection (Feb 2)
GK: Kim Jin-Hyeon
DF: Matsuda, Maruhashi, Jonjic, Yamashita
MF: Yamaguchi, Mizunuma, Kiyotake, Souza
FW: Kakitani, Sugimoto

vs Oita Trinita (Feb 4)
GK: Kim Jin-Hyeon
DF: Matsuda, Maruhashi, Jonjic, Yamashita
MF: Yamaguchi, Mizunuma, Kiyotake, Souza
FW: Kakitani, Sugimoto

 

Looking at these lineups, we can be confident about almost all of starting players. Meanwhile, there are two points of discussion: Will Yasuki Kimoto be available this weekend, and how about Sugimoto? Kimoto, who made his name last season, was named in the starting lineup against Bangkok Glass, but later somehow Tatsuya Yamashita took his place. Perhaps Kimoto was injured, and it seems not to be a serious one as he’s already back in games, but it is also likely that the manager doesn’t think he’s fully fit yet.

Kenyu Sugimoto is apparently still on the way to recover from injury after having a surgery at the end of the last year, but it seems he is steadily recovering. His playing time has increased match by match and he finally played 90 minutes in the game against All Japan University Selection. But at the same time, Yang Dong-Hyun is also highly rated from the club staff and Japanese media outlets, and indeed he has achieved good results in these games scoring two goals. The team have a ACL match against Jeju United on February 14 and have to play two games in a week, so even if Sugimoto is selected for a starter on Saturday, Yang may get a chance to play from the start against the South Korean team.

Taking these things into consideration, the starting lineup against Kawasaki Frontale will be like this.

21
Kim
14
Maruhashi
23
Yamashita
22
Jonjic
2
Matsuda
10
Kiyotake
6
Yamaguchi
11
Souza
7
Mizunuma
8
Kakitani
9
Sugimoto

 

These are just my guesses but the fact that I can do these guesses means that the new football season is almost coming. Let’s enjoy it and give Cerezo Osaka a support so that they can win titles this year again!