As expected of Tatsumi, he wasn’t quick to hop on the Natsuki bandwagon and bench Sera following the return of ETU’s top scorer. Unfortunately, Sera didn’t have too many chances against the Yokohama Mariners since they shut down Gino pretty nicely, nor could he make good on one of the chances he did get. While it was probably stressful as hell on him with the pressure of losing the sole starting forward position on the team, the desperation in his play as he constantly pushed himself wasn’t a bad side effect. I don’t think he was handling the pressure all that well, but no one could really blame him for not putting in the effort. In comparison to Tsubaki who was actually making careless mistakes and getting grilled for it a bit post-game, the only thing Sera was missing were results on the scoreboard. Scoring goals is undoubtedly a big part of being a striker, but Sera looks like he’s just in a bit of a slump and not playing badly enough to deserve being benched. The question of course is how long Tatsumi is willing to wait to see if he gets out of that slump when he Sakai and Natsuki around as alternatives.
As things stand now, Sakai actually seems like a better choice since he had a very good scoring opportunity when he was subbed in for the remainder of the game, whereas Natsuki’s just come back from a long-term injury. Still, it was good to see Tatsumi stick with Sera for their next game against Shimizu Impulse and not shake his confidence even more than it has been. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a great idea since it looks like he sprained his ankle by pushing himself too much though. In terms of confidence, it’s hard to say whether taking yourself out or letting the coaching staff do it is better, but this injury does look like it’s going to sideline Sera for a while and that’s clearly not a good thing for the team in general. On the plus side, ETU looks fairly confident after continuing their winning streak with Gino’s perfect corner kick play that set up Murakoshi beautifully. I feel bad for Sera, but I am curious to see what Natsuki can do when he gets put back in.
On a separate note, I went and double-checked all of ETU’s players’ positions last time for those wondering what formation they use. Typically, it’s 4-5-1, meaning there is only one forward. For the game against Yokohama this episode, Tatsumi swapped out a defender (Ishihama) for another midfielder (Hotta) to play 3-6-1, but the regular line-up is as follows:
|Offensive Midfielder||10||Luigi “Gino” Yoshida|
|Left Half||14||Tanba Satoshi|
|Center Half||7||Tsubaki Daisuke|
|Right Half||15||Akasaki Ryou|
|Defensive Midfielder||6||Murakoshi Shigeyuki|
|Left Side Back||16||Kiyokawa Kazumi|
|Center Back||3||Sugie Yuusaku|
|Center Back||2||Kuroda Kazuki|
|Right Side Back||22||Ishihama Osamu|
|Goal Keeper||1||Midorikawa Hiroshi|