Ao Ashi is the only Football manga that i really like. It has a very standard plot but it is executed so well that it easily overcomes its limitations. The characters are well thought but nothing spectacular, the story is fairly predictable and there is little originality to the manga. However, Ao Ashi is a manga that is very much greater than the sum of its parts.
Pros: The football knowledge in this manga is great, but is easily explained and enjoyable to understand. This is one of the standout aspects of this manga, actually making me appreciate football more. It is much more of
a realistic take on football, without any superpowers or special moves. I especially like the focus on the fundamental skills of football instead of each character being only good at one thing. As a person who does not like watching any sports, this got me invested in the matches.
The characters designs are especially enjoyable to look at. All of them have fairly diverse designs: varying in height, eyes, hairstyles and general looks. They are not lazy designs that simply change the character hairstyles so you can tell which character is which. Each character is well thought out in design.
Cons: As i mentioned, in terms of originality and story there is little that stands out from other manga.
My Biggest con has to be the fact that everyone, apart from the players, seems to know exactly what to problems is and how to fix it. It's as if everyone knows better than the actual footballers. This is mainly a problem for one of the characters: the daughter of an important sponsor of the football club. Even though she is not a football player, we get to listen to her explain what the problem facing the players are and how to fix them. Every time a player is doing something wrong or has a problem, we cut to her and she starts explaining things. She is also pretty much a blank character who has no personality other than liking football; in other words she is a stand in for the author, explaining things and setting up story points. She is also almost always right and knows best. I really do not like this character.
As well as this there is another character who is always right and always knows best. His actions and manipulations seem to be praised rather than being seen as exploitive. These types of character are unlikable and simply a hindrance to the story.
My final con is mostly personal preference, but i like to see characters in sports manga take more losses than what happens here. At the moment, the matches often seem very one side with a couple of missteps. Once the players break through a confrontation they almost always score. The matches are fairly clean and without any random factors, which makes for a much more predictable match. The randomness and constant changing situations needs to be felt more to make it more entertaining.