KPA Weekend Roundup + Midweek Listing (updated)

Think it was a quiet weekend for KPAs did you? Let me channel my best McLaughlin: Wrong!  Plenty to digest, but if you haven’t seen Jae’s post on the K-League roundup, hella weekend in Korea with the split table in full effect – dramatic action galore -go there first!

Back again?  Then let’s begin:

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This post is not complete, there’s some talking points to go over but I need to pick up my son from his Kindergarten class. Be back soon but I leave you with this from Gary Neville:

 

Though it may look like a dark screen below, click on it to hear the analyst himself deliver the assessment of Yun:

  Turns out QPR supporter agree with Neville and this came in earlier today:

 

…and for midweek we may see some KPA’s in action. Let’s go to Korean Footballers Abroad for the midweek listing:

Tuesday:

Ki Sung Yueng and Swansea go to Liverpool for Capital One Cup. 4PM ET on BeIn. Ki was tidy, calm and efficient on Saturday vs Leicester City, particularly on the defensive side of the pitch. Swansea were barely troubled and cruised to a 2-0 win. Its unclear how hard Swansea is gonna push to move on in the cup. Ki may get rested on the bench with a tough run of fixtures ahead.

Ji Dong Won and Dortmund go to St Pauli (2nd division) for DFB Pokal. 3:30 PM ET on ESPN3. Its uncertain if Klopp will want to get BVB working right or if he wants to rest his stars to get them sharp for the weekend and Bayern. [Update: Ji has a minor knee injury and out of the 18 man roster].

Wednesday

Son Heung Min and Leverkusen go to Magdeburg (4th division) for DFB Pokal. 2 PM ET on ESPN3 (!). Son was a creative force even if some of his individual skills were a bit off as a rough Leverkusen was good enough to scrape out a good win vs Schalke. I imagine Son will get rested for this match on the bench.

Kim Jin Su is still out for Hoffenheim hosting FSV Frankfurt (2nd division) at 3:30 PM ET.

 

>> ok back again. Let’s get to the talking points from the weekend:

  • Since Neil Lennon took over as Bolton manager, Lee Chung-Yong’s move to the hole (translation: center of the midfield) has been a revelation. Lee was named Man of the Match for Bolton for the 3rd consecutive game.  So far, Bolton has won 2 out of the last 3 matches, still in the relegation zone, but have pulled themselves out of the bottom and are within 2 points of safety.
  • Koo Ja-Cheol’s first game in quite some time, coming back from various injuries, he saw 2nd half action against his former club Wolfsburg. Unfortunately he had a bit of rust, it showed but that probably was to be expected.
  • Ji Dong-Won had a knee injury on a Sunday BVBII game. It’s thought to be minor but enough for him to be scratched from BVB’s lineup on Tuesday in a German Cup tie.  BVB meanwhile suffered their 6th straight league loss on Saturday – talk about deep trouble. Following a pattern of consistent wins strictly outside of the Bundesliga, they won their Champions League last week in convincing fashion and enjoyed a 3-0 win against St Pauli today.

One more item about Yun: Kim Sang-Yeol for Naver Ilgan Sports got a decent interview with the QPR man in which Yun described his trials of perseverance waiting for his turn at Loftus Road. (Jae jumping in, it’s not a full translation from the Korean article, but Ilgan Sports posted this short excerpt in English of the interview with Yoon) 1 year and 9 months later he finally made his EPL debut against Liverpool. Some interesting revelations from the interview:

  • Manchester City put an offer for him right after the 2012 Olympics – Hoffenheim tried to recruit him even earlier, but he rejected several bids from Europe to help Jeonnam fight off relegation.
  • Once the season was over, he targeted a January transfer to Europe and it came down to Fulham and QPR. He was leaning towards Fulham but eventually chose QPR. Most suspected at the time that Park Ji-Sung’s presence was the real reason he went to Loftus Road, but he says that wasn’t so.  What was the reason for siding with QPR then? He wouldn’t go into detail but said there were situational factors that led him to believe QPR would be career wise a better choice. An agonizing decision at the time, he continued to agonize as he didn’t end up getting any playing time for the club initially.
  • He then asked Redknapp several times to be transferred. Each time, Redknapp would tell him: wait, wait and your time will come.  Yun nodded but said it was hard to accept Redknapp’s word.
  • Yun was told days before the match that he would suit up and get in the starting XI against Liverpool. He couldn’t sleep the night before the big game in what would be his EPL debut.

And we know the rest of the story – played well against Liverpool (save for the free kick restart) and earned generally positive reviews in his debut. Now he has 2 EPL starts to his name, he’s gotten effusive praise from pundits like Gary Neville.  Tentatively it looks like he’s locked in his place in QPR’s starting XI.  While QPR has the capability of playing dismal football, you can see a glimpse (from both the Liverpool and the Aston Villa performances) that this squad does have enough talent on paper to pull themselves out of relegation trouble. Whether the R’s can keep that up remains to be seen.

 

> last word:  I forgot to mention some specifics to Yun’s game on Monday against Aston Villa.  Being a nerd, I got to lay it out there:  despite Gary Neville’s praise, Yun had a shaky start to the game, looked tentative on the ball and conceded unnecessarily a corner kick.  He and his teammates were an absolute mess for the first 15 minutes and it was painful to watch this brand of clown football. A despondent Redknapp looked resigned to a tough evening – especially in the wake of the bitter 2-3 loss to Liverpool and the controversy over his ‘over-weight’ Taarabt comments last week. QPR and Yun settled, and the ex Jeonnam defender exponentially grew in confidence – it showed with some nice moves, deft defending and zealous tenacity chasing and winning the ball, helping to establish some order for the R’s in the midfield. He pushed up several times, getting a good shot on goal and forcing Guzan to concede a corner. Yun’s crossing? Still problematic. Surprisingly, he took some free kicks and corners – dangerous set pieces that gave Guzan more trouble. Yun claims Redknapp ordered him to practice free kicks last year (so that’s what he’d been doing when we thought he disappeared all last season).

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