Kashima will host Shonan Bellmare at Kashima Soccer Stadium in the 3rd round of J-League on March 9th, hoping to improve their record this far in J-League where they did not have the best start of the season.
Kashima Antlers come into the match against Shonan Bellmare after a disappointing start of the season, losing the opening match against Oita (1:2) and adding a draw in the second round against Kawasaki Frontale (1:1). The defeat against Oita was disastrous and surprising at the same time, while the match against Kawasaki can only be described as subpar performance. As it stands now, Kashima seems to be trying to find their form, which would net them better results. In this season, they only managed to defeat Johor DT in AFC Champions League (2:1) in a match that was a bit underwhelming, to say the least. Now they will look to add their first win of the season on the board as they face off against Shonan Bellmare.
Shonan Bellmare travels to Kashima as the 6th team in J-League with a 1-0-1 record. In the opening match of the season, Shonan Bellmare managed to defeat Sapporo (2:0) but failed to do the same against FC Tokyo (2:3) in the second round. Despite only winning one match, Shonan performed exceptionally well. Both of the teams they faced are considered strong, and despite losing to FC Tokyo, Shonan put up a good fight. In short, I am impressed by how they performed. While it is true those two matches were played at Shonan BMW Stadium Hiratsuka, Shonan are not a terrible team on road games, which is why I believe they will be able to put up a good fight against Kashima Antlers on March 9th.
Kashima Antlers will come into this match with a long injury list which was one of the biggest issues and factors of their poor performances. They will miss Ito, Oda, Yamamoto, Nakamura, Jung, Sasaki and Suzuki. On the other side, Shonan Bellmare travel to Kashima will full squad.
Kashima Antlers enter this match as a huge favorite, which is on one hand not surprising, while on the other hand, I am a bit, dumbfounded bookmakers recognized Shonan as such underdogs. Looking at last season, Kashima did not start their J-League campaign well, winning only 3 matches out of the first 11, which seems like it will happen against this year. With ACL in front of them, their schedule looks tough for them to push through, especially with a long list of injuries. Additionally, they did not enjoy a long winter break like other teams due to the Club World Cup they attended. Looking at the two teams, I was far more impressed by Shonan than Kashima Antlers. While Kashima Antlers tend to perform well at home ground, I do not expect them to have an easy time against Shonan, who have put up a good fight against Kashima before. Odds of 4.65 on Shonan are just too high to pass on, especially with their impressive form. I would not be surprised if Shonan manages to upset Kashima in the upcoming fixture, and add another win to their record.
Prediction: Shonan to win
Odds: 4.65 Pinnacle