Kawasaki Frontale hosted Kashiwa Reysol in the fourth round of J1-League at the Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium. Kawasaki looked to keep the momentum following a win against FC Tokyo, Kawasaki looked to claim the top spot with a win. While Kashiwa was hopeful of a change in momentum on the back of two consecutive defeats. In this match analysis, we see how Kawasaki eased past Kashiwa with a 3-1 win.

In the tactical analysis, we analyze how Kawasaki outplayed Kashiwa with their tactics and incisive passing.

Line-ups

J1 League 2020: Kawasaki Frontale v Kashiwa Reysol - Tactical analysis

This match between Kawasaki and Kashiwa brought about a clash between teams on the different ends of the table. A win for Kawasaki would take the Asian powerhouse to the top of the table. Whereas Kashiwa looked to register their first point since the restart.

Kawasaki Frontale was set-up in a 4-3-3 formation, with former South Korean international Jung Sung-ryong in goal, Jeisel and Taniguchi at centre-back, up top Kawasaki had their former La Liga forward Leandro Damiao. While for Kashiwa, current Kenyan international Michael Olunga started up top alongside Esaka and Kamiya.

Phases of Play: Build-up

J1 League 2020: Kawasaki Frontale v Kashiwa Reysol - Tactical analysis
Kawasaki build up with covering zones

In Possession: Kawasaki Frontale were set-up in a 4-3-3 formation with both fullbacks pushing high and wide in the external zones with both the wide players. Shimoda played as a pivot dropping in between the centre-backs. Wakizaka (RCM) and Morita (LCM) would take positions between the opponents centre-mids and wingers in half-spaces. Up top Damiao played as a target man, holding up the ball and laying off passes for teammates.

Kawasaki had two players on each wing with a player in with either half-space. Damiao and Shimoda occupy the central zone to shift play from one wing to another. Centre-backs Jesiel and Taniguchi would take positions in defensive half-spaces to play short passes to the external or central zone. By this, they would attract Kashiwa’s wingers to press and draw them deep. Thus centre-backs can make triangular passes with pivot and fullbacks to bypass the first line of defence.

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis Fullback receives the ball, Morita draws two opponents out of position to create a pocket of space in front of the defensive line. Now, the fullback can play an easy pass to the pivot who can further play a simple forward pass in the space. The positioning of the wide player and striker is also important as they have pinned their opponent from where they cannot move to cover the space.

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis Variation 2: The entre back has the ball, a pass to the pivot, and further to the fullback looks a simple play. Opponent players are also anticipating the same with their man-marking. Due to this man-marking, pivot draws a player with him vacating space behind him. The centre-back plays a forward pass to Wakizaka (RCM) who has taken up a threatening position where he can see the opponent’s number. Both the centre mids are behind the opponent’s second line of defence. The opponent’s defensive line is pinned back with Kawasaki’s three attacking players.

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis
Center Mids draw opponents, fullback makes a run into space. Defense line can’t move forward to cover.

Overloading external zones

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis The centre-back has the ball in defensive half-space, Morita and Wakizaka have taken up positions behind the opponent’s second line of defence. Attacking players have pinned the defensive line with a 3 v 4 creating a man advantage in the midfield.

Kawasaki has 7 players covering two zones namely wing and half-space. They have created an ideal situation where they have the opponent concentrated on the left side of the pitch. Kawasaki has its players behind the midfield line where they can play a one-two and exploit the wings. From here they can also shift the ball to the right side to the fullback who can run into the vacant space.

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis
Kawasaki has overloaded the left side. Players behind midfield line and shift in-play with two players on the right.

Attacking Organization

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis

Possession in attacking third: Whenever Kawasaki Fronatle cannot move forward from the wings due to the opponent’s ‘lower line of constraint’. They move the ball back and across to exploit spaces in the opponent’s midfield line which could open up when they move up.

Shimoda and Morita receive the ball in the central zone to play simple forward passes into attacking players who can play one-twos amongst them in zone 14. Central midfielders could also shift the ball to other the wing where Kawasaki would have two players to attack the opponent fullback.

Phases of Play: Defensive transitions

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis Kawasaki Fronatle is about to lose the ball in zone 7. Since Kawasaki Fronatle look to overload either external zone while in possession. Space left vacant in the centre zone could prove costly. But since Kashiwa does not have a centre forward in this situation who can pin the defenders, thus they one of two can move forward to cover the space.

Phases of play: Defensive Organization

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis Out of Possession: Kawasaki Fronatle is set-up in a 4-3-3 formation, with a ‘high line of confrontation’ and a ‘high line of restraint’. Kawasaki’s first line of defence would protect half-spaces and the central zone by blocking passing lanes into the middle. They concede passes to the fullback. Kawasaki’s fullbacks move up to press the opponent’s fullback to not let them have time on the ball and play in behind Kawasaki’s high line of defence.

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis
Fullback moves forward to press opponent, Left center mid moves to cover the vacated space.

J1 League : Kawasaki v Kashiwa - Tactical analysis Kawasaki Fronatle with their usual formation without the ball, 4-3-3. Right centre midfielder moves forward to press the opponent. Thus, the space vacated by RCM forces Central Midfielder to make a move to the right. Now there is enough for the opponent centre back to play a pass into attacking players. This is like Kawasaki Fronatle tasting their own medicine, where Kashiwa Reysol have players behind their second line of defence. Kawasaki’s defensive line is pinned back.

Phases of Play: Attacking transitions

J1 League : Kawasaki Frontale v Kashiwa Reysol - Tactical analysisOut of possession: Since Kawasaki Fronatle has a ‘high line of confrontation’ they man-mark opponents who could receive the ball. Here they pinch the ball in attacking half and Ienaga takes a shot from outside the box and scores.

Set-pieces

J1 League : Kawasaki Frontale v Kashiwa Reysol - Tactical analysis
Attacking corners

Kawasaki Fronatle has two variations for corners. Variation 1: they play short to break opponent’s low block and then cross in space between keeper and defense or to far-post. Variation 2: Play to near-post for flick ones onto the far-post, where they have numerical superiority.

J1 League : Kawasaki Frontale v Kashiwa Reysol - Tactical analysis
Defensive Throw-ins in attacking half

Kawasaki players have overloaded the left side. They press opponents aggressively to force opponents to pass back to taker who blasts ball forward to their striker. Kawasaki Fronatle have numerical superiority to maintain possession.

J1 League : Kawasaki Frontale v Kashiwa Reysol - Tactical analysis
2nd Phase of Throw-ins

Conclusion

Following the way in which the game played out, Kawasaki Frontale are the deserving winners, they completely outplayed Kashiwa Reysol by scoring thrice within an hour. The analysis shows how Kawasaki moved the ball with intent and creativity, which ultimately won them the game. With the win, Kawasaki Frontale move top of the table with 10 points from 4 games

Kashiwa’s defensive lines lacked discipline and they were of no match of Kawasaki’s movement off the ball. Kashiwa have now lost three games in a row following the restart conceding ten goals. They sit 14th in the table, with three points.

Kashiwa Reysol have their work cut out in the upcoming matches to gain any sort momentum while Kawasaki Frontale looks early title favourites this season.