This weekend the blog will be checking out two matches. One European match and one K League Classic match. The European match will be Swansea City vs Arsenal. The K League Classic match will be Busan IPark vs FC Seoul.
Swansea City vs Arsenal
Part of me wanted to try and watch Bolton’s match against Ipswich, in an attempt to “right-the-wrong” of not bringing the Lee Chung-Yong review from last week. But, in the end, I’ve decided to watch Swansea-Arsenal because I have a Ki Sung-Yueng article that remains half-finished in the draft box, and well, Swansea-Arsenal will be more fun.
Of course there is only one player to watch for this match, Ki Sung-Yueng. He’s been a bit more in and out lately, but I think he should start. Arsenal is coming off a heartening defeat if you will. Managing to pull out a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in Germany in the 2nd leg of their Champions League tie. Arsenal was still eliminated 3-3 on away goals (3-2), but given how dominant Bayern was in the 1st leg, for Arsenal to score twice and keep a clean sheet was huge. Swansea, on the other hand are fairly set for the season I’d say. The League Cup has been won, they are in the Europa League next season, the Champions League is out of their reach, and a top half finish is almost assured.
That being said, it should still be an interesting match. Swansea is a team in the ascendancy, while Arsenal is a team that more and more see as a team in decline. Arsenal is fighting for a spot in the Champions League next year as well, and currently are sitting in fifth place, five points behind fourth place Chelsea, but only four points ahead of eighth place West Brom. So, Arsenal will be quite desperate to take all three points. Stylistically, it should be a battle of similar systems. Both usually line up in a 4-2-3-1, and try to play a short pass, movement-based game. Should be fairly even, and an interesting match.
Busan IPark vs FC Seoul
Similar to last week’s Spanish WtW match, this match is more of a biased pick. Busan is my Korean team, and FC Seoul will be coming to town this weekend. There are two called players in this match, FC Seoul captain Ha Dae-Sung and Busan goalkeeper (third choice for the senior squad) Lee Bum-Young. Both will likely start for their respective clubs, and I feel there’s a decent chance that Ha Dae-Sung will start, or at least feature, for the senior squad against Qatar.
Both teams are off to a slow start of the season. Each with a lone point from opening day draws, and a second match loss. Busan collapsed in the second half in their opener against Gangwon (2-2 draw), and fell to Gyeongnam FC last week (1-0). Defending champions FC Seoul fought out a tough 2-2 draw with Pohang, before falling 3-2 to Incheon United. One feels that FC Seoul will simply have too much for Busan, and it should be a good chance to see how Lee Bum-Young reacts. I will be at the stadium to see this match live. While you can of course watch this space for a tactical look at Ha Dae-Sung and Lee Bum-Young’s performance; for a more detailed/personal narrative about this match, check out my other site.
>> Tavern owner cutting in (apologies to Jae). The old Tavern owner figures this would be an excellent opportunity to throw in the weekend listings of Koreans playing in Europe and 1 in Korea (all times listed in US EST/ Broadcast channels in US / Streaming should be available worldwide):
Spanish La Liga, Deportivo La Coruna vs. Celta Vigo 4:30 p.m. beIN Sport Spanish (tape at midnight on beIN Sport). * SPOILER ALERT: PARK CHU-YOUNG SCORES!!!! Another post will have the video highlights. If you can’t wait to see his 4th goal for the team, click here.
German Bundesliga, Hamburg vs Augsburg, 10:30 am Son Heung-Min vs Ji Dong-Won and Koo Ja-Cheol? Who do I root for? *note: Son is scheduled to play as a midfielder instead of a striker in this match.
German Bundesliga, Werder Bremen vs Greuther Furth, 10:30 am Park Jung-Bin delivered his first complete game last weekend, encouraging signs for the 18 year old despite being on a sinking ship.
English Premier League, Swansea City vs. Arsenal 11 a.m. Fox Soccer, Fox Deportes Ki Sung-Yeung has played particularly well against Arsenal in the last several clashes Swansea has had with the gunners this season. * One of Jae’s games of the week.
English Premier League, Aston Villa vs. QPR 11 a.m. foxsoccer2go.com (tape at 3:30 on Fox Soccer). Crucial match as both teams are pitted to the death to see who escapes the relegation zone first. Park Ji-Sung is back in the fold of the starting XI just as QPR has regained their form. Meanwhile, Yun Suk-Young, while not expected to play on Saturday, did get to see action in uniform for their U-21 squad on Thursday, playing 90 minutes in a 2-1 win against Swansea. From QPR’s official website: “[Yun] Suk-Young had little to do in the opening period at left-back, but on the half hour he comfortably won an aerial challenge, coolly picking out team-mate Skapetis as he did so…the Korean was ever-eager to get into more advanced positions down the left side whenever the opportunity arose…Suk-Young’s attacking nature nearly paid dividends three minutes later when he got to the byline before producing a fantastic centre to pick out Carreiro, but the Canadian’s volley was charged down.”
English Championship League, Ipswich Town vs. Bolton, 11am. Lee Chung-Yong is looking for his 5th league goal for Bolton (6th if you include an FA Cup goal against Sunderland).
English Championship League, Sheffield Wednesday vs. Cardiff, 11am. Kim Bo-Kyung has not had any game time in several matches. Roughly about that same period of time coincidentally, Cardiff’s form has been middling. Their lead on top of the table and in front of Hull has shrunk to 4 points.
In South Korea, not only is it round 3 of the K-League Classic, this weekend marks the opening round of play for the brand new 2nd tier K-League Challenge. There is the possibility that the title winner of the K-League Challenge can vie for promotion, provided they beat the 3rd to last place K-League Classic team in one game playoff at the end of the season. The very first match features Gwanju vs Sangju Sangmu/Army team, featuring Lee Keun-Ho. Check out fixtures for both K-League Classic and K-League Challenge at soccerway.com.
South Korea K-League Classic, Buson vs. Seoul 8 a.m. One World Sports *The Tavern will be open early on Sunday as the US is broadcasting one of Jae’s games of the week.
Swiss Super League, FC Thun vs FC Basel, 8:45 am. Park Joo-Ho’s side has advanced to the Europa League quarterfinals. The drawings were announced earlier today: FC Basel will be matched up with Tottenham. FC Basel are within reach of 1st place in their domestic table, the last Champions League qualifying spot.
Portugese Liga, Maritimo vs Porto, 2 pm. Suk Hyun-Jun looking for his 2nd goal for Maritimo since joining them in January.
What will the Tavern owner watch? Why all of them (of course)! I’ve transmorgified myself and will program the other cloned Tavern owners to sit down and watch every single match and report back to the TAVERN. Wait! Where the hell are you guys going? Come back, I haven’t made popcorn and tteokbokki yet!! Don’t you want to watch these different games with me? You’re not my slaves – I promise! Aighh! I’ve unleashed all of myselves onto the world. There’s going to be trouble, that’s all I know.