3 weeks ago
The J1 League season is coming to its home straight with only 4 games remaining for all the teams. The relegation battle is vitally important for Sorare managers as teams & players relegated to J2 will not be eligible to use in Sorare. For the teams that do survive there may well be opportunities to take calculated risks in buying players. I will be looking at potential picks later in this post.
At the top of the table, Kawasaki Frontale have now won the championship to complete back-to-back titles. There is a battle between 3 or 4 teams for the ACL spots for finishing 2nd and 3rd. I will look at this aspect in another post, today I will be concentrating on the fight at the bottom, where things are extremely tight!
The above shows the table as of today (4/11/2021). These 6 teams are those that I feel are at realistic risk of being relegated. Gamba and Kashiwa are mathematically at risk but I feel they have just done enough to survive.
Yokohama FC have shown a huge improvement since the first half of the season. The arrivals of Gabriel and Mineiro, in particular, showed a big improvement in their performances and results. Sadly, the loss against Shonan in the previous game was huge. They are now 6 points away from safety and with the horrendous goal difference of -40, we can think of them being 7 points away.
Vegalta Sendai reignited their relegation escape with a highly impressive 2-0 victory versus Hiroshima. This, however, was their first victory in 5 games and only their second win since May. They are also 6 points away from safety.
Oita Trinita have found some form at exactly the right time. They have had recent victories against C.Osaka and Vegalta Sendai. A man of the match performance from Takagi against Tokushima meant they were able to leave Tokushima with a draw, followed by a victory in the Emperor's Cup taking them to the semi-final stage. However, the loss against Fukuoka leaves them 4 points from safety.
Tokushima Vortis have played some attractive football all season, however, they have lacked the consistency and quality upfront to put together a run of form. They have had decent results versus Sagan and Sendai, but all momentum was punctured by a deflating 5-3 defeat to Yokohama FC. Despite being on top and looking on course to secure victory versus Oita, they were pegged back, and I worry this could affect confidence in the camp. Still, they remain 2 points behind Shimizu-S Pulse and their goal difference is relatively good. This may well become a factor when the season ends.
Shimizu S Pulse have had a stop-start season which must be frustrating for fans. They have only won 2 of the last 15 games, including a crushing 4-0 loss to Tokyo FC. However, they still sit 2 points above the relegation zone and with a superior goal difference to everyone except Shonan.
Shonan Bellmare have slowly slid down the table in the second half of the season, with a total of 13 draws (the most in the league) and generally poor performance seeing them slip into the relegation zone. However, 2 goals in the last 15 minutes versus Yokohama FC saw them leapfrog Tokushima, and they now have destiny in their own hands.
The below shows the remaining fixtures for all the 6 teams I am looking at. The colour of the fixture indicates the difficulty of each game with red being the toughest games and green being the easiest
I primarily try to use data available to make my decisions on Sorare or any fantasy sports game. I am aware that bias can easily cloud judgment as I am living on the island in Japan where Tokushima is based. I am conscious that I have a soft spot for them which may skew how I predict the results.
Below is the table after all the predicted results are entered into the remaining games:
In short, I see the current 4 sides in the relegation spots being relegated
This of course is just my prediction for it and things can change very quickly. A lot of the teams are playing against each other and I can see a lot of twists and turns yet. Shonan Bellmare are facing fellow relegation candiates in Vegalta Sendai and Tokushima in the remaining games and the results of these could have a huge role to play on the final outcome.
From a Sorare lens, I will be keeping a close eye on the results, especially when it is confirmed a team is safe from the drop. This could bring about opportunities to potentially buy now or target during the off-season. A few players that I think are particularly interesting are:
Other players of note:
I hope this material was helping in helping you, Sorare managers, in assessing who is in danger of not playing next season and who might be worth looking at at a bargain price. Let's see how the end of the season unfolds!
I am a lover of all things football, data, fantasy sports and crypto! Tha makes Sorare a perfect fit for me :) I am from the UK originally now living in Shikoku, Japan and have a passion for all things J-league, especially the array of wonderful mascots!