January 7, 2013
How many times has Ki Sung-Yeung been so close, so tantalizingly close to getting his 1st goal in the Premiership this season? It’s so painful to think about, I’m not going to even bother waking up the Tavern Statistician to find out such statistical anomalies. Then again, statistically speaking -the next best thing to scoring is getting an assist, and Ki delivered a cracking one Sunday in their FA Cup battle with Arsenal. As the stench of defeat was closing in around Swansea in the 85th minute, what with 2 late goals given away from incomprehensible defensive lapses in close succession, Ki suddenly found the ball after a free kick, and with Koscielny and Sagna closing in on him with 13 yards between himself and Szczesny, Ki attempted to blast a shot past Arsenal’s keeper. Szczesny instead blocked the power shot with his mitts and the rebound came straight back out, miscleared by Sagna back to Ki. He shot again, this time blocked by Sagna, but Ki wound up with the ball yet again. He maneuvered a fade away cross to get it back into play. Micchu is the on receiving end, passes to Dyer, Dyer SHOOTS and it’s deflected over the top of the post for a corner. The resulting corner kick later, Ki get the ball in almost the exact same position, but as everyone’s bracing for his shot, he calmly passes it to Danny Graham, forgotten and unmarked in the box who himself calmly shoots it into the corner of the net. The resulting celebration was anything but calm and Swansea fights to see another day in the FA Cup tournament. There’s my words and then again, there’s that satisfying visual image. I won’t deny you of that:
Ki played the full 90 minutes in this match. And they’re not even done yet as they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the semifinals of the Capital Cup (formerly Carling Cup). That game is set for Wednesday at 2:45 pm EST. In the US it will air on tape delay at 10pm EST by BeInSport network.
Earlier in the day, Park Chu-Young earned an assist for Celta Vigo in their 3-1 win over Real Valladolid. While he didn’t score, Park still exhibited a strong performance that did not go unnoticed by the home crowd of the Balaidos, as evidenced by the standing ovation given him as he was subbed out at the 72nd minute. What did they see in Park: he dominated the air game as he won nearly every battle, had dynamic movement, and provided excellent passing that created multiple chances for his teammates -including the 52nd minute assist to Alex Sanchez for the 3rd goal. Earlier before the match began, Park received some encouraging words from manager Paco Herrera:
From SportalKorea correspondent Santiago Perez’s twitter:
Herrera: “Of all of our strikers, the one that allways has a chance to score is Park, and we have to work with it.”
— Santiago Perez (@RM18Oficial) January 5, 2013
Herrera: “we will not sign a new striker. Park has to be our goalscorer”
— Santiago Perez (@RM18Oficial) January 5, 2013
Park seems to be back in Herrera’s good graces; correspondingly, Park’s improved performance in this match appears to validate Herrera’s newfound faith in the striker. Celta Vigo is also playing on Wednesday, also against a formidable opponent: this will be the 2nd leg of the Copa del Rey at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium. Celta Vigo leads by an aggregate score of 2-1. Wednesday’s match will be at 3:30 pm EST, aired live in the US on BeInSport network.
We’re going to do a little globehopping for our Taeguk Tavern Kickaround. Let’s go over to Korea for a quick transfer news update:
Lee Seung-Gi was rumored to be eying a move, possibly to a European club during the January transfer window. The attacking midfielder instead will be transferring from Gwangju FC to Jeonbuk next season, this according to footballKorea blog.
And switch back over to Europe…
Park Jung-Bin, an 18 year old forward on Wolfsburg’s youth squad, has now been picked up by Grunther Furth, presumably to join their 1st team in order to help them avoid relegation as the 2nd half of the Bundesliga season is about to get underway. From what we understand, the deal points to a long term loan all the way up to the summer of 2014, with the option to buy his contract.
An interesting blog article in the Guardian by Michael Cox from a tactical perspective on Ki Sung-Yeung’s strategic value to Swansea’s offense, despite being a deceptive central defensive midfielder. You can find that section on Ki is near the middle of the post.
Lastly we go to the Middle East and to a player that the Tavern has followed but hasn’t really covered extensively in the blog thus far: Nam Tae-Hee, a South Korean midfielder who plays for club Lekhwiya. He was a part of the Taeguk Warrior side that won Bronze in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He delivered a textbook cross and assist to Park Chu-Young in the 2-1 group stage win against Switzerland. Nam and Lekwiya had a pair of high profile exhibition matches in the past few days, against PSG and Bayern Munich. Needless to say, they lost both of them, but in this shaky videocam youtube video, in the PSG match last Wednesday, Nam had a clever freekick that PSG’s keeper barely got his hand in to knock it over the crossbar. Nam took the subsequent corner kick. A really nice effort from Nam that you can see for yourself. With that, I bid you goodnight!