K-League Classic Round 21 Previews
We are almost at the mid-point of the season and the league table has an altogether too familiar leader as Jeonbuk now have an eight point lead at the top over FC Seoul. Other than Jeonbuk the rest of the top six are pretty tough to split with Ulsan fast on Seoul’s heels in third based on goals scored. There are only 5 points separating fourth and seventh so the second half of the season is going to be close for sure. At the other end of the table, Suwon FC still languish in bottom spot with Jeonnam, Incheon United and Suwon Bluewings all fighting it out to avoid the playoffs.
This midweek sees a full card in the Classic and with Seoul v Jeonbuk it will go a long way to deciding if we have a title fight on our hands for the first time in a couple of years.
Sangju Sangmu vs. Suwon Bluewings
First up we have the in form army side Sangju taking on the horrendously out of form Suwon Bluewings. The army have been a revelation this season and have an impressive six wins from their last seven games having beaten both Seoul and Soengnam in that run. This form has seen them jump up the table into 4th place and deservedly so. The Bluewings however have had a pretty awful season, they’re down in ninth place with only one win in the last four games and look a team that are completely devoid of ideas as well as being sapped of confidence. Sangju beat Suwon earlier this season and it’s going to take a monumental effort from the Bluewings to stop them doing it again.
Prediction: Home Win: Sangju 2 – Bluewings 1
Gwangju vs. Jeonnam Dragons (7pm)
Gwangju have had a mixed season so far but they do seem to be doing just enough to stay out of the dreaded relegation battle. They have only managed just the one win from their last five games but they do have the league’s joint top scorer Jung Jo Gook in their team and are more than capable of holding their own. Jeonnam are still trudging along in the league and a sit a couple of places below Gwangju in the table, that being said however they have won their last two league games and this might just give them the confidence to pull away from Suwon at the bottom. Gwangju won the first meeting this year 2-1 and it should be another close one again tonight.
Prediction: Home Win : Gwangju 1 – Jeonnam 0
FC Seoul vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai (7.30pm)
The highlight of the round is undoubtedly Seoul v Jeonbuk as 2nd place hosts 1st in a match which could go a long way to deciding the destination of the 2016 title. Seoul are currently 8 points adrift of the Champions and are having their very own mid-life crisis as they seem to be struggling to come to terms with Choi jumping ship mid-season. They scraped past a plucky Incheon at the weekend which, remarkably, was their first win in five league matches. Jeonbuk are still undefeated in the league this season and won again at the weekend which was their second win on the bounce and they are beginning to look every bit the Champions at the right time. Jeonbuk won the early season tie 1-0 and with Seoul’s awful injury problems mounting up by the day it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Jeonbuk claim another scalp at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
Prediction: Away Win : Seoul 1 Jeonbuk 2
Seongnam FC vs. Jeju United (7.30pm)
Seongnam FC are currently in 5th place and have their sights firmly set on an ACL spot for next season and come into the match having won 2-1 at the home of their rivals The Bluewings. After a shaky June they have shown some of the flair and fight that hoisted them to the top of the table away back in March and they now have three wins from their last four Classic ties. They have been better on the road than at home this season and need to start making Tancheon a fortress again. Jeju have been all over the place recently and have now gone five games without a win and are in danger of dropping out the top 6. The previous game this season ended 2-2 after Seongnam raced into a 2-0 early lead, this one will be another close one again.
Prediction: Home Win : Seongnam 1 – Jeju 0
Suwon FC vs. Pohang Steelers (7.30pm)
Bottom side Suwon FC host a stuttering Pohang Steelers side and this one is definitely a case of both sides desperately needing a win. After such a promising start Suwon FC have gone on a downward slide and lost again at the weekend, making it now nine games without a win. Pohang also lost at the weekend and after looking like they were finding form they have now lost two in a row and will need to start picking up the points again if they are to avoid one of their worst league places in the last few years. The last time these two played Suwon FC picked up an away win in a closely fought 1-0 victory, tonight will be close again and Pohang might just get revenge.
Prediction: Away Win : Suwon 0 – Pohang 1
Ulsan Hyundai vs. Incheon United (7.30pm)
The final game of this midweek round is a repeat of last week’s FA Cup quarter-final as Ulsan again play host to Incheon. That last match finished 4-1 as Ulsan easily tore through Incheon on night with new signing and ‘cult hero’ Frederic Mendy grabbing a double. Ulsan are currently 3rd in the league level on points with Seoul in second but with less goals scored. They have really come onto a game recently and look the team most likely to worry Jeonbuk with three wins in five games. Incheon United on the other hand are having another poor season and find themselves second from bottom with only four wins from twenty. They do however have Kevin Oris in their team who is always capable of creating something although maybe he should be kept away from penalty duties. Ulsan have beaten Incheon twice already this season, it’s going to take something special to stop them making it three!
Prediction: Home Win : Ulsan 2 – Incheon 1