First match of the new season against the almost joint winners of Division 1, Kanto Celts who only missed out on the title by goal difference.
What we know a little bit about Celts is that they acquired a bunch of former Sala players who wanted to remain playing division 1 football and possibly a reason for the Celts improved performance.
Now Sala are also in division 1 it will be interesting to know which team those players will choose to side with.
When we did play Celts in our own division 1 campaign they were decent and close matches. BEFC generally lost games by trying too hard to win matches. This was fine because that was our style, but if we intend to play a little smarter this season we have to prevent the counter attacks. In division 1 you get punished very easily for mistakes and their strikers don't need much chance to finish the tasks. This again was very apparent during our time in division 1.
So, we will as usual go out and play our own game, and as always look to improve our own game and style against better opposition. However this season we should pay more attention to game management, especially because the majority of all goals scored against us are either in transition or by counter-attack. When we are set up to defend, with our proper shape the BEFC defensive record is excellent. The year we did it properly, we went 6 games with a clean sheet. Even last season despite some ropey performances (and decisions!), we had the best defensive record in division 2, and if it wasn't for Sala it would have been the league.
In division 1, defence wins titles. Look at Hibs for that, and more recently how Pumas balanced their already strong attack with a D1 class defence to win the title.
It's a little bit back to basics, but that's how it should be. Unlike last season, before we get all gungho in attacking, we need to focus on putting back in a proper and patient defensive shape and better transitions into attack that don't leave us open.
Celts will be a good test for this. They already have a strong defence themselves, and our losses to Celts came from being impatient and being counter-attacked with our players out of position and unable to support.