After a valiant challenge for the J League title last season, FC Tokyo will start the 2020 season with an opening game away at Shimizu S-Pulse on Sunday.
The club from the capital lead the pack for the majority of last season before finally letting their form slip and being overtaken by eventual winners Yokohama F Marinos.
Manager Kenta Hasegawa has opted to reshuffle the pack and is set to implement a new, high pressure, 4-3-3 formation for the season ahead.
This match will be the debut game for new S-Pulse manager, Peter Cklamovski. The Australian was head coach and second-in-command to Ange Postecoglu at Marinos last season.
Cklamovski is expected to apply an ultra-attacking and open style of play, similar to that which enabled Marinos to achieve massive success last season.
Hasegawa is likely to receive a warm reception from the home fans. As a player, he made 207 appearances and scored 45 goals for the Shizuoka-based club. He later went on to manage them from 2005 to 2010 with mixed success.
Key Talking Points: Shimizu S-Pulse
- S-Pulse raised eyebrows with a surprise last-minute signing. The arrival of Brazilian forward Carlinhos adds much-needed potency to their attack.
- Last season saw Shimizu drawn into the relegation dog fight, but they narrowly avoided the relegation play-off.
- Their season has not kicked off in a promising manner, as they were convincingly beaten 5-1 by Kawasaki Frontale in the Levain Cup last weekend.
Key Talking Points: FC Tokyo
- Tokyo have reinforced their attacking options with new arrivals Adailton from relegated side Jubilo Iwata and former ACL winner Leandro on loan from Kashima Antlers.
- Captain Keigo Higashi and speedy forward Kensuke Nagai are ruled out with injury for the foreseeable future.
- Tokyo boast the better head-to-head record between the two sides, winning 3 of the last 4 meetings.
Published 22 Feb 2020, 11:26 IST