Episode 265 - J1 Matchday 4

March 19, 2019

Sam Robson returns to the pod for a full review of J1 Matchday 4, while there's also a full debut from Alex Bishop, who joins us at the start of the episode to chat about new table toppers FC Tokyo.

Alex and Sam discuss Tokyo's home win over Nagoya that saw them leapfrog Grampus to the summit, the capital club's progression in their second season under Kenta Hasegawa, and whether that will be sustainable in the long term (to 17:03).

Then after we bid Alex farewell, Sam and I run the rule over the other results, beginning with Oita's meteoric rise to third following their excellent home win over Yokohama, and working our way down the table before finishing with the matchday's only draw, between Kobe and Shimizu (to 56:55). We finish off the episode with a chat about Hajime Moriyasu's experimental Japan squad, ahead of the friendlies against Colombia and Bolivia.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sam - @FRsoccerSam

Alex - @abishop32

Episode 264 - J1 & J2 Matchday 3

March 12, 2019

In this week's episode we go east and west (and north and south?) in J1 with Scott McIntyre and Alan Gibson, and Jon Steele fills us in on another terrific J2 matchday.

In Part 1 Scott discusses Sunday's big Kanagawa Derby at the Nissan Stadium, FC Tokyo finally breaking their home league goal drought, first wins for top flight powerhouses Urawa and Kashima, and Sapporo's goalfest at home against Shimizu in all its Anderson Lopes-inspired glory, before we finish with a spot of ACL chat (to 42:45).

Then Alan chats about a mixed weekend for the Kansai clubs - home defeats for Osaka pair Gamba and Cerezo, but a strong away win for Kobe at Sendai - before we cheer plucky Oita's second away win of the new season, and look ahead to a quirky Matchday 4 fixture list (to 1:11:18).

Finally, Jon gives props to surprising J2 table-toppers FC Ryukyu and Mito, and we work our way through all of the second tier Matchday 3 action, a round of games where if you weren't winning 1-0 away you just weren't doing things right. We finish the episode by touching on J3, after the first round of the 2019 season was played over the weekend.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Scott - @mcintinhos

The Asian Game podcast

Alan - @jsoccermagazine


Jon - @J2KantoBites

Episode 263 - J1 & J2 Matchday 2

March 5, 2019

After another action-packed weekend in J1 and J2, Sean Carroll, Adrian Serna, Sean Galbraith and Charlie Houghton all guest (separately) on this week's episode, which is dedicated to the memory of Yokohama F.Marinos supporter Han Kessels, who tragically passed away last week at the age of just 52. Messages of condolence for Han can be left here (http://bit.ly/rememberingHan) and will be passed on to his family and friends.

In Part 1 of the podcast Sean Carroll begins with his thoughts on joint table-toppers Nagoya and Yokohama, before discussing the Kawasaki vs Kashima game that he attended last Friday night. We then move on to review six other J1 Matchday 2 games (to 37:40).

Then Adrian joins me to chat about Nagoya's improved squad and their excellent start to the new campaign (to 48:30), before Sean Galbraith shares his own memories of Han Kessels, and enthuses about Yokohama's strong first two games (to 1:02:50).

Then finally Charlie raves about Kofu's offensive outburst in their big win at Yamaguchi, and Ryukyu's burning start to life in J2, before we finish with some of the other noteworthy scores and storylines from the second round of the second tier season.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sean Carroll - @seankyaroru

Adrian - @758adrian

Sean Galbraith - @1amSage

Charlie - @FRsoccerCharlie

Episode 262 - J1 & J2 Matchday 1

February 26, 2019

Sam Robson and Stuart Smith guest to review the first weekend of the new season in both J1 and J2.

In Part 1 Sam and I begin with Kawasaki's home stalemate with FC Tokyo and the other three draws in the top flight matchday, then move on to discuss the impressive opening day away wins for Yokohama, champions-elect Oita and Nagoya. We round off our chat with the two home winners - Cerezo Osaka and Shonan (to 34:05).

Then Stuart joins me to revel in FC Gifu's win over Yamagata, before we give praise to second tier new chums FC Ryukyu and Kagoshima United, who both won at home in their first ever J2 fixtures and join Gifu in the top three. Wins for Machida and Kashiwa are also discussed, before we wrap up by touching on the remaining results.

#NOTE# This episode is plagued by audio problems caused by very spotty Skype connections in my chats with both guests. I apologize and did my best in the editing suite, but there were numerous occasions where their voices cut out for over a second at a time. This will certainly affect your listening experience, and again, I apologize.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sam - @FRsoccerSam

Stuart - @sushi_football

Episode 261 - 2019 J1 Season Preview Part 2

February 21, 2019

In Part 2 of our J1 Season Preview, Scott McIntyre picks up where we left off in Part 1, previewing all of the teams from Yokohama (12th in 2018) down in last season's standings. We work our way through the teams as follows...

- Season 2 of The Era of Ange at Yokohama - goals galore again (to 9:50)

- Have Shonan restocked enough for a season of mid-table mediocrity? (to 13:55)

- Scott sees a brighter outlook for Tosu, and then our first bet of the new season follows (for the record he still hasn't paid up on our Jo over/under bet from last year) (to 18:00)

- Nagoya's massive range of outcomes (to 23:30)

- Iwata sitting on their hands in the transfer market... bonkers, right? (to 27:00)

- Promoted J2 Champions Matsumoto - have they got juuuuuust enough to hang on second time around? (to 30:35)

- Loads of traffic in and out at promoted Oita, but not enough quality to survive (but possibly a better defence than Kobe, according to Scott).

We then finish (from 33:40) with predictions that are sure to spectacularly blow up in our faces.

Follow Scott on twitter @mcintinhos and check out The Asian Game podcast.


Episode 260 - Jay Bothroyd & 2019 J1 Season Preview Part 1

February 20, 2019

In Part 1 of our monster J1 preview, the Sapporo striker Jay Bothroyd leads things off by talking about his disappointment at Consadole missing out on the ACL places on the final day of last season, and how, despite the club finishing in its highest-ever position in 2018, that setback is driving himself and the team to go one better this year. Jay also chats about the offseason comings and goings at the club, his relationship with Thai forward Chanathip, and how long he will continue playing (to 20:05).

Then my co-pilot for the episode, Scott McIntyre, gives his thoughts on Sapporo, before I chat with Neil Debnam about two-time defending champions Kawasaki (to 44:30) and Scott waxes lyrical about Frontale, before we move on to Hiroshima and Kashima (to 58:55).

Ryan Steele joins me to chat about Urawa's improved squad depth (to 1:10:40), and Scott discusses Reds before we move on to FC Tokyo (to 1:22:20), then, on triple duty, Alan Gibson talks about the contrasting offseasons, and prospects going forward, of the three Kansai clubs - Cerezo Osaka, Kobe and Gamba Osaka (to 1:41:00).

Scott follows with his thoughts on the Kansai trio, before we finish the episode by running the rule over Shimizu and Sendai.

#NOTE# Part 2 of the J1 Preview is also now available for download, and covers Yokohama, Shonan, Tosu, Nagoya and Iwata, as well as promoted teams Matsumoto and Oita.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Jay - @jaybothroyd

Scott - @mcintinhos

The Asian Game podcast

Neil - @frontalerabbit

Neil's Frontale Rabbit blog

Ryan - @steelinho

Alan - @jsoccermagazine


Episode 259 - Gary White & 2019 J2 Season Preview

February 13, 2019

We're back with our usual in-depth preview of the new J2 season, with an extra special twist, as new Tokyo Verdy manager Gary White leads things off by sharing his thoughts on the early days of his role in charge of The Greens (to 22:00).

Then Stuart Smith and Jon Steele bring the knowledge on the teams relegated from J1 last season, Kashiwa and Nagasaki (to 32:30), before we work our way through the teams who made the playoffs in 2018 (to 1:02:20), with a special cameo from Steve Barme on Omiya.

I then open the floor to the guys on teams they are looking out for this year, in order, Fukuoka, Kofu, Yamagata, Tokushima, Chiba, FC Gifu, Kyoto and Yamaguchi, before we finish with the two teams promoted from J3 last season - FC Ryukyu and Kagoshima United (to 1:33:15) - and Jon and Stuart share their predicted top sixes.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Gary - @GaryJWhiteTD

Stuart - @sushi_football

Jon - @J2KantoBites

Steve - @AgentOrange2009

Episode 258 - Samurai Blue Fail to Fire in Final

February 8, 2019

Dan Orlowitz and Stuart Smith guest on this bumper episode of the podcast to wrap up Japan at the Asian Cup, after the Samurai Blue's disappointing performance in the final against an inspired Qatar.

We naturally begin with the two terrific goals in the first half hour that saw the Qataris take control of the game, with an extended discussion on whether the criticism the Japan 'keeper Shuichi Gonda (and captain Maya Yoshida) faced in the wake of them was fair. We then segue on to the Japan Goalkeeping Summit (17:00 - 31:00), and finish with the two second half goals that firstly gave Japan hope, then VAR'd it away (to 39:15).

The rest of the episode is dedicated to answering a wide array of questions on Japan's performances, players that might come into (or back into) the national team frame and lessons for Hajime Moriyasu to take forward posed by listeners on twitter, before we finish with a chat about Dan's latest Japan Times piece.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Dan - @aishiterutokyo

Dan's archive at The Japan Times

Stuart - @sushi_football

Stuart's We Are Gifu website

Episode 257 - Asian Cup Special

January 31, 2019

After Japan made it through to the Asian Cup final with their 3-0 win over Iran on Monday night, Paul Williams of The Asian Game podcast and Sam Robson of Football Radar guested on our first podcast of 2019 to review the Samurai Blue's progress through the tournament, and to look ahead to Friday's final against Qatar.

We begin with my two guests sharing their experiences of the tournament, and the contrasting fortunes of Japan and Iran heading in to the semi final, before discussing the major talking points from the game, Japan's star men and then the second semi final before we preview the final.

Our look at the Asian Cup concludes with the disappointing campaigns of Australia and South Korea, and some of the developing nations who have caught the eye (to 1:14:30).

After we bid farewell to Paul, Sam and I finish the episode by touching on some of the major winter transfer window moves J1 clubs have made.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Paul - @PaulWilliams_85

The Asian Game podcast

Sam - @FRsoccerSam

Episode 256 - Glory for Urawa, Relief for Iwata

December 12, 2018

Our final episode of the 2018 J.League season features Sean Carroll and Dan Orlowitz chatting about Urawa's win over Sendai in the Emperor's Cup Final, and then in Part 2 Stuart Smith joins Dan to discuss Iwata's J1/J2 Playoff Final victory over Tokyo Verdy.

We begin Part 1 with a brief check on how both Vegalta and Reds made it through to Sunday's showpiece, before running through the events at Saitama Stadium and wondering if this is the start of a new era of success for Urawa under serial winner Oswaldo Oliveira (to 24:00). We then wish Kashima all the best at the Club World Cup, before finishing with Sean and Dan's picks for J1 Player of the Year, and our choices for the top flight Best XI (to 38:50).

Then in Part 2 we start with Dan's thoughts on his first experience of the Yamaha Stadium, before moving on to Iwata's win, with goals towards the end of each half proving too much for Verdy to overcome. Are the playoffs, as they are currently constructed, fair? After Dan bids us farewell, Stuart and I attempt to answer that question towards the end of the episode, and I manage to not only straddle the fence, but jump from one side to the other on multiple occasions.

Thanks for listening throughout the year, we've done over 40 episodes, featuring 23 different guests, and after a short hiatus - that may be interrupted for some Asian Cup specials - we'll be back to do it all again in 2019.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Sean - @seankyaroru

Dan - @aishiterutokyo

Stuart - sushi_football