Could Yokohama Marinos' F. stand for 'flukes'?

Yokohama F. Marinos still sit proudly at the top of J1, but will this magic run continue? Obviously, the 'F' in their name is for their former name, the 'Flugels' but could it be that the Marinos have 'fluked' all 6 J.League games so far?

'F' always stands for 'famous'. Shinsuke Nakamura is arguably the most famous player plying his trade in J.League, but he's no spring chicken at 34. His equally senior team-mates might be enjoying an Indian summer of sorts, but surely their ageing legs will run out of steam?

Not for a while, judging by the fixture list: relatively easy games will follow for Marinos as they travel to 14th-placed Albirex next. Then it's a home game against mid-table Ventforet, before the toughest test so far when they host the Antlers.

The chasing pack, that'll be Urawa and Omiya, have had tougher fixtures so far: Urawa facing and beating 4th-placed Nagoya in Saitama, while their local rivals have beaten the Antlers already and won away at 7th-placed Cerezo last weekend.

The upshot of all of this is Marinos will stay top for quite a while, at least as long as the fixture list is kind. Meanwhile, Urawa travel to Omiya next weekend, so one or both of the chasers will drop points.

We will have to wait until July to assess Marinos true title credentials. That month, they travel to Urawa, fours days after hosting Omiya. Things will certainly hot up in July (particularly with Arsenal visiting Urawa on 25th and Nagoya on 22nd) and I'm not just talking about the temperature!

I'm predicting that the two unbeaten Saitama teams will get closer to toppling Marinos in the league as the season hits the summer, as they've both looked in impressive form in the J.League. You have to respect Marinos determination to stay top, meanwhile, but will it be enough in the final analysis. I think not, long-term. But short-term, before the chickens come home to roost, expect Marinos to stay perched at the pinnacle of the J.League.

You can call them the 'fixture list freaks' if you like, or anything else beginning with 'F', but they won't care for now!

See J.League table from http://www.soccerway.com


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