Last season was the most successful in Cerezo Osaka’s history as they not only managed to secure 3rd place in J1 League but also won the J-League Cup as well as the Emperor’s Cup. They also had a very strong start to the current campaign as they won the Super Cup after beating Kawasaki Frontale 3-2. They also had a successful start in the AFC CL league, winning against Jeju United.
Cerezo Osaka were quite busy during the offseason, as they went to two training camps. The first one took place in Bangkok, Thailand, where they had one friendly match against local team Bangkok FC, which they won 4-1. For the second nine-day training camp, they went to Miyazaki, where they faced J2 team, Oita Trinita, which they also won against with a score of 3-1. After the match, Cerezo’s manager, Jung-Hwan Yoon, has stated that he is very happy with both training camps and the hard work that his players have done.
This season may be much more challenging as Cerezo will play in the AFC Champions League for the first time in their history and considering that they have not brought too many quality players during the transfer window, competing on two fronts may be difficult. However, they still have a lot of talented players who are still very hungry for success and finishing the league in second position seems possible. The atmosphere seems to be excellent and players are looking forward to starting the new season. The only thing I am worried about is their defence, as they have not been able to significantly strengthen their defensive department and taking into consideration that their defence was the worst out of the top six teams last season, this may be a real problem in the upcoming campaign.
Cerezo Osaka have managed to keep all of their key players, including Kenyu Sugimoto, who scored 23 goals previous season. They were quite active during the transfer window, singing K-League’s second-best top scorer, Yang Dong-Hyun, was definitely a great move as it will certainly increase competition in the attacking line and will give some additional options to the manager. On the negative side, they have not been able to significantly strengthen their defensive department and taking into consideration that their defence was the worst out of the top six teams last season, this may be a real problem in the upcoming season. It is worth mentioning that last season was the most successful in their history as they not only managed to secure 3rd place in J1 League but also won the J-League Cup as well as the Emperor’s Cup. They are also competing in the AFC Champions League for the first time. They are currently priced around 8.00 to win the league, but going into the season with a weak defence while playing in both AFC CL and J-League isn’t ideal.
J-League: 2nd – 3rd place
AFC Champions League: After two matches, one win against South Korean team Jeju United and a draw against Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, they sit at the top of their group. They seem to be capable of going through to the play-off stage despite not having too much experience in this competition.