Who would you tip to emerge as J1 and J2 winners in the J. League this year?

Fans cornered at and after a handful of recent football matches in Kanto offer their tips for the top in December.

Mikio Nozawa
Salaryman, 32 (Japanese)

I am not sure on J2, but I think Yokohama F . Marinos will take the J1 title in 2014. They have long had a solid ‘keeper in the shape of Tetsuya Enomoto, and he is a good base for the rest of the team. I have liked Marinos since the days of Masami Ihara, and like then, today they are the best team in the J. League.

Yoshi Kawano
Consultant, 32 (Japanese)

In J1, Yokohama F. Marinos. Shunsuke Nakamura is their most famous player but you can’t overrate their solid defense. After not winning the title last year, their motivation must be very high this year. In J2, as I’m a supporter, JEF United Chiba. I believe they will win the J2 title and be promoted.

Yumiko Matsu
Accounting manager, 37 (Japanese)

Cerezo Osaka for J1. When I see the names who have joined Cerezo this winter, such as Diego Forlan and Gojko Kacar, it is difficult to say anything else. It is also good that they kept Yoichiro Kakitani and others. In J2, Jubilo Iwata. I think J2 will see another competitive season but Jubilo are better than all the rest.

Yasuhiro Ueno
Student, 22 (Japanese)

I want to say Sanfrecce Hiroshima because in the Xerox Cup final last month we saw them beat Marinos using young players, and these youngsters could power them to a third successive title. In J2, I think it will be Jubilo. They were relegated but still have the players to win at that level — and they know how to win.

Tony Concannon
English trainer, 42 (English)

If Yoshito Okubo can finish as J1 top scorer again, he could lead Kawasaki Frontale to the title. With support from the Brazilian Renato and the experience of skipper Kengo Nakamura, 2014 could just be their year. For J2 it’s going to be Shonan Bellmare. They always bounce back, don’t they?

Shinobu Iimura
Editor, 50 (Japanese)

Reysol. I went to school in the Kashiwa area of Chiba, so I am hoping Kashiwa Reysol take J1, just like they did a few years ago [in 2011]. Maybe they can do it again, but I’m not too knowledgeable about the J. League, to tell the truth. As for J2, I really don’t care about that level.

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