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Japanese Players In Europe

Shinji Kagawa struggled against an excellent Southampton midfield.

Shinji Kagawa started in the No.10 position for Manchester United in their 3-2 win at Southampton. In the opening minutes, United kept possession and pinned Southampton inside their own box with quick passes. However, after weathering this initial storm, Southampton came into the game and outplayed United for the majority of the first half. Ricky Lambert headed them into the lead, rising easily over Rafael and leaving Anders Lindegaard with no chance. If not for an untimely slip from fullback Nathaniel Clyne, allowing Robin van Persie to equalize, Southampton could’ve gone into the break with the lead. Southampton continued to play well in the second half and looked to have collected all three points going into the last five minutes with a 2-1 lead. However, van Persie scored twice to snatch the win for United and steal a first league win for Southampton.

Kagawa struggled in this game and was substituted for Nani in the 61st minute. In the Fulham match, Kagawa was brushed aside and lost possession several times against the massive Moussa Dembele. The physical side of the Premier League is something that he will, like all newcomers, take time to adapt to. While it’s not every week that he will face a midfield power/dynamo combo like Dembele, every team throws around its weight in the middle of the park, as Southampton showed. Morgan Schneiderlin and young James Ward-Prowse were outstanding and powered through a relatively delicate United midfield. It is no wonder that all of United’s goals were set up on the wing. There will be games like this for Kagawa as he gets used to the burly side to Premier League football. Tadanari Lee was an unused substitute, while Maya Yoshida was unavailable.

Stuttgart is stuck on 0 points in the Bundesliga after they were obliterated 6-1 by Bayern, a match that both Shinji Okazaki and Gotoku Sakai started. Okazaki was caught in possession by Luis Gustavo Dias for Bayern’s second goal. Gustavo played the ball to Toni Kroos who lashed in an unstoppable shot past Sven Ulreich.

Sakai was also caught in possession, for Bayern’s fourth goal. To his credit, after he was dispossessed by Kroos, Sakai raced across the pitch to heroically block Thomas Muller’s shot. However, he could only watch in despair as the ball rolled to Mario Mandzukic who tapped in.

Okazaki was subbed off in the 69th while Sakai played the entire 90 minutes. Not a great day for either of them, but it was Bayern and it is still early in the season.

Hiroshi Kiyotake started and played the entire match as FC Nurnberg drew 1-1 at home to Dortmund. Kiyotake set up Tomas Peckhart for Nurnberg’s goal with a corner. Nurnberg weren’t without their chances and did not hesitate to attack against the reigning champions.

Schalke beat Augsburg 3-1 at home, and Atsuto Uchida started and played the entire match at rightback.

Eintracht Frankfurt dealt Hoffenheim a heavy 4-0 home defeat. Takashi Inui started for Eintracht and was credited an assist for the first goal. He set up Alex Meier and the shot found its way into net, though only after a massive deflection off of Marvin Compper. Takashi Usami came on to play the second half for Hoffenheim.

Vitesse beat Feyenoord 1-0 at home to continue their excellent start to the Eredivise season. Mike Havenaar came on in the 81st minute and set up Wilfried Bony’s stoppage time winner with a shot/cross that Bony elegantly flicked into goal. Vitesse are now in second place with 1o points going into the international break.

Wigan Athletic drew 2-2 at home to Stoke. Ryo Miyaichi came on for Franco Di Santo for the last 10 minutes.

Keisuke Honda played the entire match as CSKA beat Krasnodar 1-0 away.

Yuto Nagatomo started and played the entire match as Inter were overrun by the attacking waves of Zdenek Zeman’s Roma, 3-1 at home.

Yuki Otsu has joined VVV Venlo on-loan from Monchengladbach. He will link up with Robert Cullen who was an unused substitute in their 1-0 loss at Twente.

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