Sanfrecce Hiroshima Well Placed To Lift J-League Crown In 2018?

Sanfrecce Hiroshima have been one of Japan's standout football clubs in recent times. With three J.League titles since 2012, Sanfrecce are used to competing at the top of Japanese football. However, they finished down in 15th position last season – a result that ultimately cost former boss Hajime Moriyasu his job. The former Japan midfielder had been in charge since 2012 and it was a real shame to see Sanfrecce struggle.

Since then, Hiroshi Jofoku has taken over at the helm and Sanfrecce have flourished. The three-time J.League champions are sitting pretty at the top of the table, having lost just three of their 17 regular season fixtures so far this year. It would take a brave man to back against Sanfrecce given their dominance in recent months – FC Tokyo are currently five points off the pace with exactly 14 matches remaining.

 Sanfrecce’s rise to prominence has been incredible to watch. They survived relegation by the skin of their teeth last season, securing their J1 status by a single point at the expense of Ventforet Kofu, the former club of not only Jofuku, but Sanfrecce players Sho Sasaki, Sho Inagaki and Yoshifumi Kashiwa as well. Jofoku has had an instant impact since taking over at EDION Stadium, and plenty of punters will be backing Sanfrecce to go on and lift the J1 title at the end of the campaign.

If you look directly at the J1 table, you notice Sanfrecce’s statistics instantly. Only one team has scored more goals than Sanfrecce so far this season whilst they also  boast the joint-best defensive record in Japan’s top flight. You won’t find too many Japan football fans arguing against them if they do go on to win the title. It has been a season to remember for Sanfrecce fans and it might be about to get even better…

Brazilian forward Patric leads the way at the top of the J1 goalscoring charts and he has been a revelation for Sanfrecce this year. Patric has notched 15 goals in 20 appearances in 2018 – the best record of his professional career. To put his efforts into perspective, the Brazilian had scored 28 goals in 95 matches before the start of this season. Patric’s form has helped the club to maintain the gap at the top of the table.

At the time of writing, Sanfrecce are in control of their own destiny and punters will be keeping a close eye ontheir title odds in the coming weeks. The latest J-League betting has Sanfrecce as red hot favourites to win their upcoming fixture but that is hardly surprising; Jofoku’s side are usually fancied to prevail in most of their league games. FC Tokyo closed the gap in July but Sanfrecce should regroup ahead of the business end of the campaign.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima are the strongest team in Japan by some distance and the J1 title looks destined to return to EDION Stadium. You won’t find too many fans writing the league leaders off at this moment in time – they have been on a higher level than most of their domestic rivals. Watch this space, a fourth title since 2012 beckons.


 

 

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J1 Standings

 

. Team Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima 56 17 5 5 42 21 +21
2 Kawasaki Frontale 52 16 4 6 42 20 +22
3 FC Tokyo 43 12 7 8 34 25 +9
4 Kashima Antlers 42 12 6 9 37 34 +3
5 Cerezo Osaka 41 10 11 6 34 30 +4
6 Vegalta Sendai 41 12 5 10 36 38 -2
7 Consadole Sapporo 41 11 8 7 35 38 -3
8 Urawa Reds 38 10 8 9 37 27 +10
9 Vissel Kobe 36 10 6 11 33 35 -2
10 Shimizu S-Pulse 34 10 4 13 38 40 -2
11 Jubilo Iwata 33 8 9 10 29 37 -8
12 Yokohama Marinos 32 9 5 13 45 46 -1
13 Nagoya Grampus 31 9 4 13 43 48 -5
14 Shonan Bellmare 31 8 7 11 31 36 -5
15 Sagan Tosu 30 7 9 11 22 28 -6
16 Kashiwa Reysol 30 9 3 15 33 42 -9
17 Gamba Osaka 30 8 6 13 29 39 -10
18 V.Varen Nagasaki 27 8 3 16 32 48 -16

J2 Standings

. Team Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif.
1 Yamaga 56 16 8 5 42 26 +16
2 Zelvia 53 15 8 5 48 34 +14
3 Trinita 51 15 6 8 50 35 +15
4 YokohamaFC 49 13 10 5 42 32 +10
5 Ardija 47 14 5 10 47 34 +13
6 Verdy 46 12 10 7 39 29 +10
7 Avispa 46 13 7 7 37 27 +10
8 Fagiano 44 12 8 9 31 27 +4
9 Renofa 43 11 10 7 47 46 +1
10 Vortis 41 12 5 12 35 29 +6
11 Montedio 40 11 7 10 34 35 -1
12 Hollyhock 39 11 6 12 34 32 +2
13 TochigiSC 38 10 8 11 29 33 -4
14 Ventforet 37 10 7 12 45 37 +8
15 Zweigen 36 9 9 11 36 37 -1
16 JEF United 35 10 5 14 49 56 -7
17 EhimeFC 33 9 6 14 24 38 -14
18 FC Gifu 32 9 5 15 36 43 -7
19 Albirex 29 8 5 16 30 45 -15
20 Roasso 26 7 5 17 37 55 -18
21 Sanga 25 7 4 17 25 41 -16
22 Kamatamare 24 6 6 16 23 49 -26

J3 Standings

. Team Pts W D L GF GA G.Dif.
1 FCRyukyu 35 10 5 3 35 20 +15
2 Azul Claro 32 9 5 3 19 9 +10
3 KagoshimaU 31 8 7 3 26 17 +9
4 FukushimaU 28 6 10 2 21 18 +3
5 Gainare 27 8 3 7 24 23 +1
6 Gamba U23 26 7 5 6 31 25 +6
7 Thespa 25 7 4 7 18 21 -3
8 Cerezo U23 24 6 6 6 24 23 +1
9 Blaublitz 24 7 3 8 17 16 +1
10 YSCC 23 5 8 5 26 22 +4
11 Sagamihara 23 6 5 6 29 27 +2
12 Grulla 23 7 2 9 22 30 -8
13 Parceiro 22 5 7 6 23 23 0
14 FujiedaMyFC 21 6 3 8 18 22 -4
15 Kataller 20 6 2 10 21 32 -11
16 Giravanz 14 3 5 9 13 27 -14
17 FCTokyo U23 13 3 4 11 18 30 -12