K-League Classic Round 11 Previews – Sunday Fixtures

Now that the Asian Champions League is all but over for Korea this year it’s time to turn all eyes to the bread and butter of the K-League Classic. Today sees four games featuring all the teams from the midweek ACL matches.

Sangju Sangmu vs. FC Seoul @ 3pm

The first game of the day sees the army team of Sangju Sangmu host FC Seoul in a match which sees two teams lacking somewhat in confidence clash. Sangju have been poor of late losing their last two games and dropping down into the Relegation Group as they currently occupy 8th spot. Seoul have also been poor this year and lack the creative spark in the middle of the pitch needed. They did however beat Urawa Reds in  a ‘dead rubber’ in the ACL during the week but I think fans of both teams would’ve struggled to name more than a handful of players on either team such were the sweeping changes made. There were some epic clashes between the two last year so here’s hoping for another cracker today.

Prediction: Score Draw : Sangju 1 – Seoul 1

Ulsan Hyundai vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai @ 3pm

Next up is the first Hyundai Derby of 2017  between Ulsan Hyundai and Jeonnam Hyundai in a match which has slightly more importance this year than last. Ulsan have recently found some decent league form winning three games on the bounce and picking up a confidence booster midweek as they defeated Brisbane in the ACL. Jeonbuk, by contrast, have been rocky of late and  won for the first time in three games last weekend beating Daegu and are currently joint top with early leaders Jeju. It was almost impossible to separate the two teams last year and today could be another close affair.
Prediction:  Score Draw : Ulsan 1 – Jeonbuk 1

Pohang Steelers vs. Jeju United @ 3pm

The third and final 3pm kick off comes from the confines of the POSCO Steelyard as Pohang Steelers welcome league leaders Jeju United to town in what must be the game of the week. Pohang ended a losing run of three games by coming back from two goals behind to beat a beleaguered FC Seoul. Seoul did find themselves down to 10 men in the match but considering they’ve been on the end of many a favourable decision of late they can’t complain too much. Table toppers Jeju were the only K League side to progress from the ACL group stages and have been having a pretty perfect season so far. They look dangerous on all fronts and almost always look in control. They’ve scored a pretty incredible 8 goals in their last two league games beating both Jeonbuk and Sangju easily. Jeju thrashed Pohang twice last year but Pohang are a different team in 2017.

Prediction: Away Win : Pohang 1 – Jeju 2

Jeonnam Dragons vs. Suwon Bluewings @ 5pm

The final Sunday afternoon game is between two mid-table sides as Jeonnam Dragons host Suwon Bluewings in the 5pm kick-off. Jeonnam have bounced back from a nightmare start to 2017 and have won four from the last five in the league and  utterly destroyed  Gwangju last weekend running out 5-0 winners with Jair taking the match ball home with him. The Bluewings have been disappointing in the opening rounds and even though they went on a 3 game winning run they, rather predictably, lost to Ulsan last Saturday. Last year there was a 3-0 thrashing for Suwon sandwiched between two draws, this year it’s too tough to call.

Prediction:  Score Draw : Jeonnam 2 – Suwon 2

K-League Classic 2017 Round 8 – Saturday Previews

K-League Classic Round 8 – Saturday Previews

 

 This week we only have the two matches on Saturday as midweek saw the fifth round of the Asian Champions League and therefore the K-League entrants are given an extra day’s “rest” , although it should be noted that there shouldn’t be the need to do that for much longer! Saturday sees a resurgent Jeonnam play and also sees Pohang try to bounce back from their defeat in last weekend’s ‘retro match’ against table toppers Jeonbuk.

Jeonnam Dragons vs. Gangwon @ 3pm

The first game of the day comes from the Gwangyang Stadium as Jeonnam host Gangwon in a match which could see the hosts in the top six for the first time this year. Jeonnam started their season in the worse manner possible but  have won their last two games after losing the first five. They destroyed Ulsan 5-0 last weekend and as a result are joint top scorers, it’s a far cry from the team who couldn’t buy a win in March. Gangwon have had mixed fortunes this season and have been hugely unpredictable. They have won twice and drawn twice but it’s losing three times that has really cost them. They lost 2-1 at home to The Bluewings last weekend and look rather shaky at the back at times. Gangwon have only won twice in nineteen meetings and the last encounter finished 4-0 to Jeonnam.
Prediction:  Home Win : Jeonnam 2 – Gangwon 0 

 

Pohang Steelers vs. Sangju Sangmu @ 3pm

The other Saturday game comes from the The Steelyard as Pohang Steelers host the Army as third host fifth. Pohang lost only their second league match of 2017  last weekend as they fell to Jeonbuk Hyundai in the heavily advertised “retro match”. They still occupy 3rd place in the league and are a side transformed from that which came within 90 minutes of a play-off spot last year. Sangju won last weekend and have only lost once this season and are looking like a strong team. Many wondered if they could replicate the good form of last year and early signs are that another top six finish is well within their means. This match is a tough one to call and should be a tight affair. Sangju had the better of their hosts last season winning two of the three battles, but the head to head is firmly stacked in Pohang’s favour.
Prediction: Score Draw: Pohang 1 – Sangju 1

K-League Classic 2017 Week 6 Previews

 

If there is one thing that we learned form Round 5 it’s that when football sucks it REALLY sucks as we witnessed only two wins last weekend with all four matches on the Saturday finishing with the points shared. The hotly anticipated Seoul/Jeju match in particular did more to increase alcohol sales then any 4 for 10,000W GS promo could never achieve. 

There are only two matches being played on the Saturday this weekend due to the midweek ACL exertions. 

Incheon United vs. Jeonnam Dragons @ 3pm

First up on Saturday is a trip to Incheon Football Stadium where Incheon United welcome bottom side Jeonnam Dragons to town in a battle of the ‘winless’. Incheon have lost twice and drawn three times so far this season but have played better than their record would suggest to be honest. They have shown a battling quality when needed but unfortunately have also been suicidal at the back at times. They lost 2-0 down at Pohang last Sunday although they played the whole 2nd half with ten men. Han Suk Jong was sent off in controversial circumstances and that red card has since been rescinded.  Jeonnam  have had an alarmingly poor start to the season losing all of their matches so far, shipping twelve goals in the process. Last weekend they lost in Daegu which could have been so much worse if Incheon hadn’t also lost. Last season Jeonnam were undefeated in this fixture and the head to head says they are pretty much on a par.
Prediction: Draw : Incheon 1 – Jeonnam 1

 

Pohang Steelers vs. Daegu @ 3pm

The second game of the day comes from The Steelyard as a resurgent Pohang Steelers host new boys Daegu. Pohang seem to have have managed to put last year’s horrendous season behind them and have had a pretty sweet start to the season winning three games while being the league’s highest scorers to boot with ten goals in five games. A lot of their success comes down to the goal scoring exploits of Yang Dong Hyun who has hit the net four times already. Daegu have surprised more than a few people this year with their performances so far and are undefeated since the opening game of the season with three draws before their victory over Jeonnam last weekend. They currently occupy 7th spot, only the solitary point adrift of Ulsan in 6th. Pohang won the last four meetings between the teams and in fact have only lost five times in thirty-two matches.
Prediction: Home Win : Pohang 2 – Incheon 1

Quickly on to the Super Sunday and we have Jeonbuk joining the four ACL teams in what should be a fantastic day of football….well unless like me you are at Tancheon!

 

Jeonbuk Hyundai vs. Sangju Sangmu @ 3pm

The first 3 o’clock kick off on Sunday comes from the Jeonju Civil Stadium as Jeonbuk play host to Sangju. Jeonbuk have started the season well and have won three and drawn two of their opening five  games as they bid to reclaim their crown. They have been blessed by some stellar performances from full-back Kim Jin Su who has made the official K-League ‘Team of the Week’ four out of the five so far. He has definitely been the ‘buy of the season’. They drew last week with The Wookie scoring, Kim Jin Su the supplier.  Sangju are replicating their fine 2016 form and are currently sitting pretty in 4th place after going undefeated since losing their opening match. They drew 0-0 at The Big Bird last weekend and definitely have players capable of pulling something special out the bag. Jeonbuk won both home ties last year with an emphatic 4-1 victory towards the end of the season

Prediction: Home Win : Jeonbuk 1 – Sangju 0

Jeju United vs. Gangwon @ 3pm

Next up we travel to the island paradise of Jeju and to Seogwipo, as Jeju United host Gangwon as league leaders take on 8th place. Jeju looked almost unbeatable in the early weeks of the season winning their opening three games also looking impressive in the ACL and it’s unfair to say the wheels have come off but their form of late hasn’t been great. They have drawn their last two league matches albeit against Jeonbuk and Seoul respectively but they lost 3-1 at home to Adelaide in the ACL midweek.  Gangwon haven’t won since the opening game of the season and all that pre-season bluster seems to be blowing up in their face. Last time the teams met was in 2013 with Gangwon winning 3-0 that day, although the head to head is slightly in Jeju’s favour.
Prediction: Home Win : Jeju 2 – Gangwon 1

Suwon Bluewings vs. Gwangju @ 3pm

Our third Super Sunday battle comes from The Big Bird of Suwon World Cup Stadium, where Suwon Bluewings welcome Gwangju. For a team predicted by many to be title contenders The Bluewings have been woeful in the league and are still searching for that elusive first league win. The have drawn four times and lost the other. However their ACL form has been much better with them hammering Hong Kong’s Eastern 5-0 during the week. Gwangju are one of those footballing enigmas, they aren’t great but the aren’t bad either, they are more than capable of pulling off an upset when they are on their game. They came from behind last weekend to snatch a point against Ulsan and might just have enough about to get something in this one too. They drew three times last year with Gwangju winning the fourth clash.

Prediction: Draw : Suwon 1 – Gwangju 1

Ulsan Hyundai vs. FC Seoul @ 3pm

The final game of the day and probably the highlight of the weekend comes from Ulsan as two ACL teams go head to head in the battle of 6th v 5th. Ulsan have had yet another mixed bag of a season, retching from the sublime to the downright ordinary.  They come into the match on the back of a 1-1 league draw at home to Gwangju and a confidence-destroying 1-0 defeat in Thailand in the ACL. With the players at their disposal there is no hiding from the fact they are under performing. Seoul  have also struggled this year and were held to a 0-0 draw at home by Jeju last weekend. They did come back from Australia with all 3pts after defeating WSW 3-2 but even that victory was marred as they conceded two late goals. Even though Dejan scored a brace in the match it was his Brazilian strike partner Maurinho who took all the plaudits as he put in a performance that could and should see him start this one. Seoul had the upper hand over their hosts last season wining twice, with both teams midweek exploits we could see a couple of tired teams on the pitch.
Prediction: Draw : Ulsan 1 – Seoul 1

K-League Classic 2017 Week 4 Predictions

The K-League Classic returns this weekend following the international break while matches are coming thick and fast for the Challenge players after their mid-week FA Cup exertions. It’s been a good start for the ‘Super J’s’ of Jeju and Jeonbuk and yet another disappointing opening from the Bluewings. This weekend sees old foes Jeonbuk and Seoul go head to head for the first time this year and sees the aforementioned Bluewings head to Incheon Stadium for a warm-up before their 4th round FA Cup clash.

 

 

Incheon United vs. Suwon Bluewings @ 3pm

The game of the day on Saturday comes from Incheon Stadium as Suwon Bluewings come to town for the first of two visits this month, the FA Cup 4th Round tie being on April 19th. Incheon haven’t looked great in their opening games of the season although they do sit above their rather more illustrious opponents in the table.  They were able to hold Jeonbuk to a goalless draw two weeks ago and are often a tough nut to crack at home. Kim Dae Kyung grabbed a brace in round 2 against Daegu and given the void created by the departure of Kevin Oris it’s going to take someone to step up to the plate. Suwon Bluewings are level on points with Incheon but sit below them on goal difference.  After a positive pre-season flurry of transfers its safe to say that the Bluewings are yet again underachieving. They drew 1-1 at home to new boys Daegu last time out and that equalizer came courtesy Johnathon scoring from the rebound after his penalty was saved.  Bluewings won 3-2 last November and have amazingly won this tie twenty-one times although last season they certainly found it tough going with three draws to go with that November victory.
Prediction: Score Draw : Incheon 2 – Bluewings 2

 

Jeonnam Dragons vs. Pohang Steelers @ 3pm

Next up we have a trip to Gwangyang Stadium for Pohang as Jeonnam welcome them to town after what has been a miserable start for the Dragons. Jeonnam have started their 2017 campaign by losing all three of their games so far and they also have the worst defensive record in the league to boot conceding seven goals in three games. Both their goals thus far have come from their new signing Feczesin. He also came close in the last round as they succumbed to a free-flowing Jeju team. They have looked incredibly shaky at the back at times and need to plug those gaps ASAP.  Pohang have started 2017 like they played all thru 2016, erratic and unpredictable. So far they have managed one win, one draw and one defeat, which is obviously not the hat-trick they were hoping for. They drew 2-2 in Gwangju in the last round after fighting from a goal down to take the lead and then surrender it again.  The head to head is fairly even although the Steelers did fail to beat Jeonnam last year, losing two and drawing one. Is 2017 to be the year of revenge?

Prediction: Away Win : Jeonnam 1 – Pohang 2

 

Sangju Sangmu vs. Daegu @ 3pm

The final 3 o’clock kick off on Saturday comes from the Sangju Stadium, where Sangju Sangmu host Daegu. Sangju lost their opening game of the season to Gangwon , but have since gone from strength to strength and have won their last two matches with Joo Min Kyu and Kim Ho Nam looking sharp. The army team currently occupies fourth place in the table and you have to imagine that they will be there or there about  come season end. They come into the match on the back of a 1-0 away win down in Ulsan and look like a team that is beginning to gel. Daegu have drawn their previous two matches against both Incheon and Suwon Bluewings with the latter being a tad unexpected. They actually took the lead at The Big Bird, Cessinha the hero, but were undone by a Johnathon penalty. In the match against Incheon they also threw away a lead and that must be a worry for their fans and manager alike. The head to head in this one is interesting as Daegu have by far the upper hand but then there have been some utterly honking Army teams down the years, this one definitely isn’t.

Prediction: Home Win : Sangju 2 – Daegu 1

Next up we have the Sunday fixtures with the highlight undoubtedly being down in Jeonju as FC Seoul come to town.

Jeonbuk Motors vs. FC Seoul @ 3pm

Last years title rivals clash for the first time this season as Seoul make the trip South to Jeonju albeit to the rather unfamiliar surroundings of the Jeonju Civil Stadium. Jeonbuk have made a good start to the season and sit in second place 2pts adrift of league leaders Jeju. They had a minor slip up in the last round when they drew 0-0 at Incheon but in fairness they did everything but score that day. Their first big test of the season should have been against Suwon Bluewings at the Big Bird but the hosts never really turned up that day so it’ll be interesting to see how they do against a Seoul team who also look a pale shadow of last year’s Champions. Seoul come into the match on the back of a rather fortuitous double penalty victory over Gwangju in a match which resulted in an indefinite ban for the referee. They have really failed to impress this season and although often tagged as “slow starters” you wonder if they possess the quality in their ranks to really be a force. In Dejan and Go Yo Han they have players capable of winning matches from nowhere and new recruit Lee Sang Ho looks a good addition. It is at the back though that they look as frail as me the morning after a Yeouido tent. The pitch in the Civil Stadium was shocking last time out and that might impact again this week but you do get the feeling that Jeonbuk just have the edge.

Prediction : Home Win : Jeonbuk 2 – Seoul 1

 

Ulsan Hyundai v Gangwon FC @ 3pm

Our second match on Sunday is a clash between two teams that were being hotly tipped for success in the close-season only to disappoint come the real thing. Ulsan started brightly enough and we can talk all day about their annihilation of Brisbane Roar in the ACL but it is closer to home where they have been found lacking. They lost in the last round at home to Sangju and that was their second defeat on the bounce after losing to Jeju. It will be the lack of goals in those two matches that you would imagine would be of most concern to manager Kim Do Hoon. His team has many an attacking outlet and so to go 180 mins without a goal should set alarm bells ringing. Gangwon are also not living up to their lofty and often arrogant assertions of where they would finish in the table. They won their opening match but have since lost and drawn at home to Seoul and Pohang respectively. They did come from behind in the last round to steal a point from The Steelers (see what I did there) and that might give them a little extra confidence travelling to Ulsan. Ulsan are quite a bit ahead on the head to head and you get the feeling that if they can click they will be a force.

Prediction : Home Win : Ulsan 1- Gangwon 0

v

Jeju United v Gwangju FC @ 3pm

The final match on Sunday sees league leaders Jeju host Gwangju FC in a match which on paper should be as predictable as a Stephen King novel (spoiler alert it’s always aliens). Jeju have been a revelation this year with their cavalier and often free-flowing football. They won 2-0 against Jeonnam in the last round but it could have been any number of goals as wave after wave of orange shirts caused havoc. They seem to be capable of scoring from anywhere on the pitch and with Park Jin Po rampaging up the left flank they pose a real threat. It should be noted though that they are yet to concede a goal so it’s not all just about the attacking power they have. Gwangju are sitting in seventh in the table but are on a two game losing streak, although they really should have got something at Seoul in the last round. They do look a little naive in defence and without Jung Jo Gook up front they also lack that killer instinct needed to secure a win. They seemed to have the measure of Jeju last year, winning twice and also knocking them out the FA Cup. That could all be a distant memory come 5pm on Sunday though.

 

Prediction : Home Win : Jeju 2 – Gwangju 0

K-League Classic 2017 Week 3 Predictions

 

Week 2 of the K-League saw the Super J’s of Jeonbuk and Jeju United continue on their winning ways with huge wins over the Bluewings and Ulsan respectively, even at this early stage they do both look a cut above the rest in the league. Seoul came back from the ski jump resort with a win and Jeonnam had another dismal day at work as they fell to a confidence-sapping 3-1 defeat at home to the Army with Joo Min Kyu netting his first goal of his military service.

 

Son Heung Min excited about Week 3 of the K-League

K-League Classic 2017 Week 3 Previews and Predictions

 

Gangwon vs. Pohang Steelers @ 3pm

Depending on where you look this match may or may not be postponed but I’ll preview it just in case, it’s our second trip of the season to the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium as Gangwon welcome Pohang to the Korean Alps. Last weekend didn’t go according to plan for the newly promoted Classic team as FC Seoul came to town and left with all 3pts. A lot of the talk was about the goings on off the pitch as there were more than one or two issues for those hoping to see their heroes. On the pitch it was a pretty dour affair and neither team could have complained about a scoreless draw. Yet again a poor pitch played a huge part in the proceedings and with an extra week (or more if the match is truly postponed) hopefully things will be better. Pohang grabbed their first points of 2017 with a 2-0 home victory over Gwangju courtesy of a Yang Dong Hyun brace. Last year they were woefully inconsistent, they will need to rectify that if they want to avoid another year in the doldrums of the Relegation Group.  The head to head is totally in Pohang’s favour, with the last two matches seeing them rack up seven goals with no reply.

Prediction: Away Win : Gangwon 1 – Pohang 2

Incheon United vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai @ 3pm

The other match on Saturday sees a rather fragile and shaky looking Incheon host Jeonbuk in what will probably be a ‘backs to the wall’ performance from the home team. Incheon haven’t looked great in their opening two games of the season, but, just like last season, they showed their spirit with a  comeback from 2 goals down against Daegu last week. They’ve looked like leaking goals almost every time a team attacks them but are definitely capable of grabbing the odd goal themselves. Last week they had Kim Dae Kyung to thank for saving their blushes as his last minute penalty sent them back up the road with a point. Jeonbuk have had a perfect start to the 2017 season beating both Jeonnam and Suwon Bluewings, with the latter barely requiring them to break sweat. They easily brushed Bluewings aside at The Big Bird with goals from Kim Bo Kyung and Lee Jae Sung making even the most ardent Leonardo fan begin to forget him. The match was marred by a shocking challenge on Lee Seung Ki, but Jeonbuk do look every bit the title challengers and it’s already looking like it will take something special to stop them marching to the title. Last time out Jeonbuk beat Incheon 3-1 however over the years the head-to-head record is pretty even.

Prediction: Away Win : Incheon 1 – Jeonbuk 2

Ulsan Hyundai vs. Sangju Sangmu @ 3pm

The first game of ‘Super Sunday’ comes from Ulsan as they take on the Army side of Sangju Sangmu as 8th hosts 4th. Ulsan come into the match short of confidence having lost 3-0 last weekend in the league against Jeju United and then drawing at home to Muangthong United in the ACL. That annihilation of Brisbane Roar is already paling into the background and it is exactly this inconsistency which plagued their fans last year. It has now been over 180 mins since they last hit the net and although not exactly time to run panicking into the night it is something of a concern.  Sangju are level on points with Ulsan after bouncing back from losing week one by romping Jeonnam 3-1 last weekend with the highlight being that Joo Min Kyu strike.  The two teams are evenly matched and it could be a really tight match. Ulsan have had it easy over their previous meetings with 24 wins from 36 matches but interestingly it was honors even last year, one thing is for sure there should be goals as both teams have lethal forwards.

Prediction: Score Draw : Ulsan 1 – Sangju 1

Suwon Bluewings vs. Daegu @ 3pm

Next up we have our second visit of the season to Suwon World Cup Stadium as The Bluewings take on Daegu in a match which on paper the hosts should be winning every time. Suwon, like 2016, have had a poor start to their league season drawing the ‘Super Match’ in week 1 and then losing at home last weekend to Jeonbuk. They beat Eastern in the ACL 1-0 during the week but even that was somewhat closer than it should have been and took the introduction of Johnathan and Yeom from the bench to garner the win. They were incredibly pedestrian against Jeonbuk last weekend and look as though the same ailments from last season are still afflicting them. Daegu lost their opening game and then last weekend let a 2 goal lead slip to draw against Incheon to draw 2-2. Their goals came from Leo and Cesinha but it will be that lapse at the back which will be playing on their minds come kick-off. Suwon won 2-0 back in August 2013 when they last met and over the head to head haven’t lost since 2009.
Prediction: Home Win : Bluewings 2 – Daegu 0

FC Seoul vs. Gwangju @ 3pm

The final 3 o’clock kick off on Sunday comes from the Seoul World Cup Stadium, and features FC Seoul versus  Gwangju. FC Seoul rught now look a team devoid of confidence, creativity and guile as they suffered a 3rd straight ACL defeat mid-week and all but resigned themselves to crashing out of the group stages.  In the league they’ve notched up four points from their opening two games but have impressed nobody in either game. Dejan was the hero last week down in Gangwon and he is always going to be Mr. Reliable but it is the performance of Yoo Hyun in goals that is proving costly to the Champions. Gwangju won their opening game but lost last weekend down in The Steelyard and although they are a plucky team they do lack that killer ball and little bit of imagination that wins matches. Seoul won all four games last year and even though they are struggling for form it would be folly to look beyond them repeating the same feat this year too.
Prediction: Home Win : Seoul 2 – Gwangju 0

Jeju United vs. Jeonnam Dragons @ 5pm

Rounding off the weekend we have the late afternoon Sunday game from the Jeju World Cup Stadium between Jeju United and Jeonnam Dragons. Jeju traveled to Adelaide during the week on ACL duty and came back with a credible draw although having led twice in the match they might feel that it was more two points lost than one gained. They’ve had a perfect start to the Classic this year with two wins from two and look very much like the only team who will push Jeonbuk for the title. Not only are they scoring for fun but they are still to concede in the league. It is going forward though they they look incredible and are capable of scoring from almost anywhere on the pitch.  Jeonnam are the complete mirror image of that and have had the worst possible start to the season with two defeats from two. They might have felt bad after losing the Jeolla Derby in the last minute but losing 3-1 at home to Sangju was unacceptable and they rightly languish at the foot of the table. The head to head is reasonably split with Jeju just edging it, last time out though it was Jeju who emerged the victors winning 5-3 back in October.
Prediction: Home Win : Jeju 2 – Jeonnam 0

K-League Classic Round 12 Previews

K-League ClassicK-League Classic Round 12 Preview K-League Classic

number_12

 There will be a full card of Classic fixtures again this weekend after Jeonbuk and then Seoul had matches rearranged to aid their ACL campaigns. There will also be a one week break for a series of International friendlies although Jeonbuk have opted to play their rescheduled match with Gwangju next Saturday. As we completed the first set of matches it definitely looks like like we are beginning to see a small pack of front-runners put some light between themselves and the rest of the table, with Seoul, Jeonbuk and Seongnam opening up a gap at the top. This week’s fixtures could see that gap open up just a little wider still.

Saturday:

 

Seongnam_FC.svgIncheon_United.svg

Seongnam FC vs. Incheon United (2pm)

Seongnam have had a strong season so far and the boys in black are currently sitting pretty in third in the table, two blips against Seoul and Jeonbuk aside they’ve looked a pretty solid unit and have won three of their last four games. Much of this is down to new signing, and top scorer,  Tiago who has been a fantastic capture for the Tancheon faithful. This week will also see captain Kim Do Heon make his 300th K-League appearance and there is no denying the importance he plays at the heart of the Seongnam midfield. For those attending Tancheon this weekend there will be a special event to mark this landmark near the gate to the Sky Seok stand. Where Seongnam have excelled this season Incheon have been shocking and remain still the only team  to not have won all season. They lost to a last minute goal at home to Gwangju last weekend and have truly looked like a team that has resigned themselves to Challenge football next year. Their new Vietnamese signing, Lương ,  played last weekend but lasted only an hour before being hooked for Kim Dae Kyung. Seongnam won the last meeting of the two teams 3-2 at Incheon, it will take a mighty effort from the visitors this weekend to avoid shipping all three points again.
Prediction: Home Win : Seongnam 2 – Incheon 0

 

Jeju BadgeUlsan Badge

Jeju United vs. Ulsan (3pm)

The 3pm kick-off on Saturday is a clash between 4th and 5th in what is a pretty huge match for both sides if they want to keep within sniffing distance of the top three. Jeju’s home form this year has been impressive as always and they remain undefeated on the island having won three of the five league matches played there in 2016.   They have, like last season, been scoring for fun at home and fourteen goals in five games is a pretty amazing return. There were rumours that they were looking to add ex-Daegu front man Jonathon to their attack but that seems to have been scuppered by the Bluewings. Ulsan are 2pts below Jeju in the league table, but have been inconsistent in the opening rounds, although they did run out 4-2 winners at the Big Bird last weekend with Croatian playmaker Kovacec putting in a faultless and tireless performance. They lost the last clash with Jeju 1-0 and will need to repeat last week’s heroics to get something from this match.
Prediction: Home Win : Jeju 2 – Ulsan 1

GwangjuFCsuwon fc

Gwangju vs. Suwon FC (4pm)

The final match on Saturday is between two rather surprising victors from Round 11 as Gwangju host Suwon FC and both will have their tails in the air after coming through Round 11 with all 3 pts. Gwangju have put a little bit of a run together and have won their last two matches including last weekend’s away victory at Incheon. They currently sit seventh in the table and although it’s still early they look like they have enough about them to avoid being drawn into a relegation dogfight.With Jung Jo Gook spearheading their front line they always look like they have a goal in them and although he didn’t find the net last weekend he was a constant thorn in the side of Incheon’s defence.   Suwon FC come into this match having picked up a shock win last weekend when they defeated Pohang in The Steelyard which in turn ended a rather worrying run of defeats. They seem to be having trouble adjusting to the demands of playing in the top division and will need to become both more clinical and more consistent if they are to cement a place for 2017. This is probably the closest match to call on Saturday, last time out Suwon came from behind to win the tie with two late goals. It will be another close one this time around and both teams could end up cancelling each other out.
Prediction: Draw : Gwangju 0 – Suwon 0

Saturday's kick-offs and media coverage
Saturday’s kick-offs and media coverage

Sunday:

 

FC Seoul BadgeJeonnam Badge

FC Seoul vs. Jeonnam Dragons (2pm)

FC Seoul will host Jeonnam on what is known as ‘Expat Day’ as the club try to capitalize on the growing number of foreign residents within their catchment area, with free beer and hotdogs on offer to all expats they will hope the game is up to a standard that ensures a return to the stadium in future.  Seoul remain atop the table, albeit on goal difference, after postponing last week’s clash with Jeju. They have started to show signs of fatigue of late having drawn with Suwon Bluewings before being comprehensively beaten by Pohang on their own patch. They did however get back on track with an away victory over Seongnam in Round 10 and will hope to keep that momentum going in the league. They came through their midweek ACL clash with Urawa as victors although extra-time and penalties were required to dispatch the stubborn Japanese team, this could impact on them if the match is still alive as we enter the final stages.    Jeonnam continue to look like a team lost as they fell to defeat yet again last weekend, this time throwing away a 1-0 home lead in the Jeolla derby. They have just one victory to their name from the first eleven rounds and are in real danger of letting tenth placed Suwon FC out of their sights. The last time these teams met was embroiled in controversy as Seoul were awarded a ridiculously contentious penalty in the final minutes which won them the match. Jeonnam will be keen on revenge but then again I’m keen on dating Seol Hyun from AOA but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
Prediction: Home Win : Seoul 2 – Jeonnam 0

 

Jeonbuk BadgeSangju_Sangmu_FC

Jeonbuk Hyundai vs. Sangju Sangmu (4pm)

Champions Jeonbuk have been in the news a lot this week for both the right ad wrong reasons. They emerged victors in the Jeolla derby last weekend before progressing to the quarter finals of the Asian Champions League at the expense of Melbourne. However they have been implicated in a bribery scandal involving which dates back to 2013 similar to that of Gyeongnam who recently received a whopping points deduction for their role. All eyes will be on the KFA to see how they deal with one of their favorite sons. Back to football though and in the league they are still unbeaten and have won their last three, this while still playing at what looks like less than 100%, heaven help the rest of the league if they hit form. Sangju  will be looking to bounce back from a home defeat at the hands of Seongnam last weekend, it was a match they will feel they should have taken something from after fighting back from 2-1 down to level things only to concede an own goal. The two teams drew the last time out in a pretty epic match, can Sangju hold their own again?
Prediction: Home Win : Jeonbuk 2 – Sangju 1

 

Pohang BadgeSuwon Badge

Pohang Steelers vs. Suwon Bluewings (5pm)

To say Pohang have had a pretty poor season so far would be an understatement, out of the ACL, the FA Cup and languishing in eighth place is not the start new coach Choi would have imagined. They have only managed to win three matches thus far this season with last week’s home defeat to Suwon FC being probably the lowest point of their league campaign.  In reality they don’t look like a team capable of turning things around and it you get the feeling more misery than cheers is in store for the POSCO boys. That being said today’s visitors, Suwon Bluewings, also went out of the Champions League at the same point and have only managed to win twice this season. They are another team that have looked devoid of both ideas and character and have been easily brushed aside at times this year.  Both sides need a win desperately the last match finished a 1-1 draw at The Big Bird and you would have to imagine a similar score this time around  wouldn’t be unexpected.
Prediction: Draw : Pohang 1 – Bluewings 1

K-League Classic Round 11 Previews

K-League ClassicK-League Classic Round 11 Previews K-League Classic

 

This weekend sees the completion of the first round of matches between each team, well at least it would if Jeonbuk and Seoul hadn’t postponed their matches in Round 10 and 11 respectively to allow them to concentrate on the ACL. So for the second week in a row we have only five matches in the top flight instead of six. It does mean that with table-toppers Seoul taking a break that the chasing pack have the chance to steal some ground back.

11_black_yellow-round.svg

Round 11 has a lot to live up as last weekend provided us with a heady seventeen goals including two comebacks in what was a pretty entertaining, if somewhat depressing weekend for some. Seoul extended their lead while Incheon delved even further into the confines of relegation. So what will this weekend give us?

Saturday May 21st

Sangju_Sangmu BadgeSeongnam_FC

Sangju Sangmu vs. Seongnam FC (2pm)

The morale of both these teams coming into the match couldn’t be more different, Sangju came back from two goals down to beat Incheon 4-2 last weekend while Seongnam FC blew a 2-1 lead at home to FC Seoul as they fell 3-2 in a match not for the faint-hearted. The man of the match for Sangju was undoubtedly Park Ki Dong who was in quite simply devastating form, scoring two and setting up another. Sangju have looked a lot more suited to the Classic this time round than last and have definitely raised a few eyebrows. Seongnam ,although losing, were unlucky against league Seoul, they fought back an early goal to lead at HT and were on top as the whistle sounded. As is all too often the case against Seoul they came out the second half and tried to defend their lead only to see it disappear quicker than my paycheck when the Soju tents open.  They are still doing well this season but will need to put last weekend behind them quickly if they are to keep title hopes alive.  This will be close and there should be goals.

Prediction: Away Win : Sangju 1 – Seongnam 2

Suwon BadgeUlsan Badge

Suwon Bluewings vs. Ulsan Hyundai (2pm)

The Bluewings emerged victorious from the inaugural Suwon derby last weekend which not only allows them to claim bragging rights over their city neighbors but also stops the poor run of results they’ve been on. The fact that it was just their second win of the season shows just how much they’ve under performed so far this year. It was a close encounter but goals from Santos and Yeom sealed the win and it looks as if the diminutive Brazilian is beginning to see a return to the form that saw him claim the Golden Boot in 2014 .  Ulsan followed up on their 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Seongnam by playing out a relatively dull goalless draw with Pohang and they’ve now gone almost 270 minutes of K-League football without finding the net. The Bluewings haven’t lost in this clash since Nov 2013 which is a pretty incredible record, you would have to imagine they will continue that run for another match at least.
Prediction: Home Win : Bluewings 2 – Ulsan 0

Jeonnam BadgeJeonbuk Badge

Jeonnam Dragons vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai (3pm)

The final match on Saturday sees the first Jeolla Derby of the year with the match taking place in Suncheon. Jeonnam have been uncharacteristically slow starters this year and  must be thanking their lucky stars that Incheon are even further down on their luck. They were comprehensively beaten 3-0 last weekend by Jeju and will probably have been glad that nobody could really see the game for the fog.  That defeat on the island was their third defeat in five games and they already look like the plain girl in the nightclub who just wants to get her jacket and go home.  Although not exactly oozing class and or confidence their local rivals Jeonbuk occupy 2nd place just 3 points adrift of Seoul but having played one game less. They still remain the only unbeaten side in the Classic but have a lower goal difference than those teams closest to them in the table. They have been grinding out results more than overpowering teams but then that is often the way of Champions. They played in Melboune midweek in ACL action and although they are returning with a 1-1 draw they might be a little less ‘fresh’ than they would normally be going into the match. Can Jeonanm exploit the ‘continental hangover’ though?
Prediction: Away win : Jeonnam 1 – 2

Sunday May 22nd 2016:

Pohang Badgesuwon fc

Pohang Steelers vs. Suwon FC (2pm)

Sixth placed Pohang host tenth placed Suwon in the early kick-off on Sunday with the hosts undefeated in their last three matches having drawn last weekend away to Ulsan. That recent upturn in form has seen them enter the top half and as they seem to be strengthening their team early ahead of the summer window they could yet have a say in the title race.  They are a strange one this season lurching from the sublime to the inane within minutes of each other. They have some class players in their team and are should be much higher up the table, if they have plugged the holes at the back then they might just salvage the disaster yet.  Suwon on the other hand look like a team on the slide, they have now lost four of their last five league games and are beginning to look like the team so many in pre-season predicted they would be. That cocky swagger and pressing style seems to have been replaced by a more subdued stroll and they really need to find a way of getting out their slump as both Jeonnam and Incheon won’t play like seaside donkeys all season… okay Jeonnam won’t.
Prediction: Home Win : Pohang 2 – Suwon 0

Incheon_United.svgGwangjuFC

Incheon United vs. Gwangju (4pm)

The final match of the round sees bottom side Incheon United, who still haven’t won in the league all season, take on Jung Jo Gook’s ninth placed Gwangju.  The hosts looked to have finally won a battle  when they raced into a 2-0 lead against the Army last weekend only to completely capitulate and lose 4-2. They didn’t so much raise the white flag as stick their underpants on their head, put a pencil up each nose and pretend they were crazy. They have been unable to avoid criticism this week and fully deserve all the flak they’ve been getting. Gwangju didn’t play last weekend as Jeonbuk were sunning it up down under in preparation for their tie with Melbourne. They have improved slightly recently and although they sit in ninth place only 3 points separate them and Jeju in fifth. They are a tough team to beat at times and this is a much down to a ragged stubbornness as it is to tactical prowess. Last year there wasn’t much between the teams, this year should probably follow a similar pattern.
Prediction: Draw: Incheon 1 – Gwangju 1