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Saturday, March 8, 2008
J. LEAGUE 2008
TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS
Last season: 15th
Omiya Ardija live to fight another day after a tooth-and-nail struggle against relegation last season, but that doesn't mean things are set to get any easier.
Ardija's goalscoring record was truly atrocious, with its final tally of 24 a full 20 less than Sanfrecce Hiroshima, which nevertheless finished one place below and was duly relegated.
Omiya's defense fared far better, and no one else in the bottom half of the table conceded less than the back line marshalled by Leandro and Daisuke Tomita.
Star man Daigo Kobayashi will pull the midfield strings, but he will need help if the club is to avoid the drop that many have been predicting for a few seasons now.
There are several teams which need to get their houses in order to stave off the threat of relegation, however, and if Omiya is indeed doomed to another season of struggle, it will definitely have company.
The prospect of putting rich neighbor Urawa Reds' nose out of joint always seems to rouse Saitama's country cousin, but in truth, Omiya looks like relegation fodder.
Then again, this prediction has been made before.