The mid-season break has been unbelievably unkind to the team that play in orange.

Only one win for Omiya since the break has seen them concede the lead to Champions Sanfreece and also seen Yokohama F Marinos and Urawa Red Diamonds take second and third respectively.

Omiya has suffered defeats to both Sanfreece and Marinos in this period. It’s not all doom and gloom however, as Sanfreece contrived to lose this past weekend meaning the top four are separated by just three points.

This is what makes the J1 so thrilling to watch, and with Kashima Antlers desperately trying to hang on in fifth (they are four points further back on Omiya) it will be intriguing to see where the title ends up.

Whilst it may have been all change at the top, the same cannot be said for the bottom.

Oita Trinita look utterly doomed as they have failed to win a single match since May 18, the winning goal in that coming in the seventh minute of added time at the end of the game.

Jubilo Iwata also find the gap between them and survival beginning to widen. They are now four points adrift and a minor miracle will be needed if they are to keep their top flight status.

The last relegation place is currently occupied by Shonan Bellmare, but it could be taken by any of three clubs, namely Sagan Tosu and Ventforet Kofu.

Mid-table is as one would expect it to be, wholly unpredictable as clubs fail to win on a consistent basis.

FC Tokyo and Cerezo Osaka still have faint hopes of continental competition next season; however the top four would now seem beyond them. Perhaps a good run of form would see that assumption change.

Vegalta Sendai currently sits middle of the table on joint points with Kashiwa Reysol. The Champions League quarter-finalists; Reysol, will soon be turning their concentration back to the ACL as they face Al Shabab of Saudi Arabia.

Reysol are hoping to be the first J.League side to win the tournament since Gamba Osaka in 2008.

The ACL is already destined to have new champions as current holder Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea failed to qualify for this year’s tournament.

There is still a way to go in the J1 (15 games in fact), so the title race is far from over. Sanfreece are obviously in the strongest position as of current, but as is so often the case, it is much harder to retain a trophy rather than win it for the first time.

Hisato Sato and his boys will still be full of confidence however.

As for the Squirrels, they serious need to turn this run of form around fast, otherwise they will quickly see how easy it is to drop out of the title race.  


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