In a new (aren’t they all new?) regular feature I, @sushi_football, will be pitting my predicting wits against the cream of J.League knowledge. The inaugural challenge is between myself and the king of J2 – @J2 KantoBites.

The rules are simple:

  • Predict the score for each game
  • 3 points for a correct score
  • 1 point for a correct result
  • 0 points for looking a mug and getting the prediction completely wrong

This week, we are going head to head with the opening slate of J2 fixtures. Bring it on!

Tokyo Verdy v Consadole Sapporo

  • @sushi_football: 0-1
  • @J2KantoBites: 1-1
  • @J2KantoBites says: I expect both of these sides to be in and around the Play-Off scramble this year. Verdy were pretty strong at home in 2015, despite struggling to score goals, and Sapporo were a bit of a disappointment all round. I think Verdy will go all out to win this game, and take the lead, but Sapporo will equalize. The visitors will probably consider a draw at Ajinomoto to be a decent opening day result, and settle for the point.

Zweigen Kanazawa v V-Varen Nagasaki

  • @sushi_football: 0-0
  • @J2KantoBites: 0-0

Shimizu S-Pulse v Ehime FC

  • @sushi_football: 4-2
  • @J2KantoBites: 2-0

Renofa Yamaguchi v Fagiano Okayama

  • @sushi_football: 2-2
  • @J2KantoBites: 1-2
  • Sushi_football says: The fresh, new team against the team that you always suspect might crack the top six, but ultimately end up letting everyone down. I expect Renofa to get off to fast start, and I can easily see them going 2-0 up before eventually being pegged back by the more experienced Okayama side.

Roasso Kumamoto v Matsumoto Yamaga

  • @sushi_football: 0-2
  • @J2KantoBites: 0-1

ThespaKusatsu Gunma v FC Gifu

  • @sushi_football: 2-3
  • @J2KantoBites: 2-2

Machida Zelvia v Cerezo Osaka

  • @sushi_football: 1-4
  • @J2KantoBites: 0-2
  • Sushi_football says: I think Zelvia will do OK this year, but I think they’re in for a rude awakening at the hands of Kakitani, Sugimoto, Kiyohara and whatever other attacking options Cerezo decide to play.

  • J2KantoBites says: Home form will be absolutely crucial to Machida’s survival hopes, and I think they’ll come flying out of the blocks against Cerezo at a sold-out Nozuta. However, the visitors will probably dominate possession (this may even be part of Machida boss Naoki Soma’s game plan). I’m not sure that the hosts will be able to keep Cerezo at bay if they cede too much of the ball, and the pitch, to their illustrious visitors.

Yokohama FC v Kamatamare Sanuki

  • @sushi_football: 0-0
  • @J2KantoBites: 0-0
  • Sushi_football says: It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see these two teams battling relegation this year. The two teams were incredibly goal-shy last year, and I doubt another 30 goal season effort from Sanuki will keep them out of the danger-zone. Having said that, Yokohama FC aren’t much better. This has 0-0 written all over it.

  • J2KantoBites says: Yokohama will be desperate to get their campaign off to a winning start. With Matsumoto and JEF United coming up in the next two games, defeat here could easily be the start of a three-game losing streak for the men from Mitsuzawa. I expect this anxiety, coupled with Sanuki’s notoriously stingy defence and cautious approach, will lead to very few shots on target and a bore-draw.

JEF United Chiba v Tokushima Vortis

  • @sushi_football: 2-1
  • @J2KantoBites: 2-0
  • J2KantoBites says: JEF’s almost brand-new squad has look surprisingly cohesive in pre-season, winning the New Year’s Cup tournament and brushing aside prefectural rivals Kashiwa 3-0 in the Chibagin Cup. The confidence that these results will have generated should give them enough energy to get past Tokushima, who will struggle to get back into the game if they go behind.

Kyoto Sanga v Mito Hollyhock

  • @sushi_football: 2-0
  • @J2KantoBites: 2-0

Giravanz Kitakyushu v Montedio Yamagata

  • @sushi_football: 3-2
  • @J2KantoBites: 2-1