Hello everyone, hope you had a Happy Chuseok. The midweek review for the Champions League WtW edition (United vs Leverkusen) should be up tomorrow. But, since the weekend is almost here, it’s time for the regular edition. There are two games that I’ll have my eye on this weekend, and they are:
2. Mainz vs Bayer Leverkusen (Park Joo-Ho [Mainz], Son Heung-Min [Bayer])
It strikes me that Son Heung-Min and Bayer are featuring a bit too often in this column, but since there are two Korean players that will likely feature in this match, I feel I can’t just ignore it. Son seems to be showing a bit of fatigue lately, likely down to the sheer number of air miles he’s racked up in the last couple weeks (Germany -> Korea -> Germany -> England -> Germany). I don’t feel it’s affecting his overall performance levels, but he did get subbed in his last two matches (against Wolfsburg and United), so maybe it’s a factor. I don’t think he’ll get benched yet, but another second half substitution may be in the cards.
On the other side is left back Park Joo-Ho, who seems to have made a solid decision to move from his part-time status at Basel to regular left back at Mainz (no Champions League though, oh well). Mainz has been solid early on, and are currently in the mix for European action next year. Sadly we won’t get to see any hot Korean-on-Korean action, as both Son and Park play on the left, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if they cross paths a couple times during the match.
1. Cardiff City vs Tottenham Hotspur (Kim Bo-Kyung [Cardiff City])
For the main game, we head to the English Premier League to watch Kim Bo-Kyung and Cardiff host Tottenham. It’s still very early goings, but Cardiff seems well poised to survive their first season back in the top, with 5 points from their first four matches. Their highlight, a 3-2 win over big-money Manchester City. Other than that they’ve pulled a respectable draw with Everton, as well as a draw with fellow promotion side Hull City. Their lone loss of the season thus far was on opening day to West Ham.
Tottenham made big news over the summer through yet another long, dragged out transfer of one of their players to Real Madrid. That was of course, the sale of one Gareth Bale. And while Bale’s departure certainly weakens Spurs, they remain a good side, and currently sit 1 point off the top of the table (which is surprisingly held by Liverpool). Spurs re-invested the mammoth Bale transfer fee well, bringing in solid players like Roberto Soldado, and promising young players like Christian Eriksen, Paulinho, Erik Lamela, and Nacer Chadli. Spurs had a bit of a slow start with back-to-back 1-0 wins (via the penalty spot in both) over Crystal Palace and Swansea. That was followed by a 1-0 loss to rivals Arsenal. However, Spurs have picked up the pace a bit as of late, with a 2-0 win of Norwich in the league followed by a 3-0 win in the Europa League over Norwegian side Tromoso.
Cardiff has been good at home, while Spurs have been okay away, so this one could be a bit of a toss up. On paper, Spurs are the better side, and should be slight favorites to win it, but Cardiff certainly has the quality to pull an upset. Tottenham have struggled a bit to break down well-organized sides, as their new creative players like Eriksen and Lamela are being worked into the side. Admittedly I haven’t watched Cardiff much, but would expect them to be a little more compact and defensive. Andres Villa-Boas likes his team to be very compact with a high defensive line, and more direct in terms of their attacks. It worked quite well for him at Porto, but was disastrous at Chelsea. After a year with Spurs, it seems to be working okay, but last year’s team wasn’t well equipped to play that style, and supposedly this year’s squad is. Neither team is scoring at a fantastic rate (both with 4 goals in 4 games), but Spurs have a better defensive record (1 conceded vs 5 for Cardiff).
>>>Tavern owner here, once again intruding on Jae’s post. Got the listings for the weekend on Koreans playing abroad – and what better way to do that then to look over to Korean Footballers Abroad to steal their listings. Just kidding. Prior arrangements made, it’s all legit.
All times are in Eastern standard time in the US. Broadcast/streams are in the US. Korean Time: add 13 hours+ forward.
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Hong Jeong Ho||Augsburg||@Hannover 96||None|
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Son Heung Min||Bayer Leverkusen||@Mainz||None|
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Park Joo Ho||Mainz||Leverkusen||None|
|Saturday||9:30:00 AM||Koo Ja Cheol||Wolfsburg||Hoffenheim||None|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Lee Chung Yong||Bolton||Brighton||None|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Yun Suk Young||QPR||@Yeovil Town||None|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Ji Dong Won||Sunderland||West Brom||NBC Extra Time|
|Saturday||10:00:00 AM||Ki Sung Yueng||Sunderland||West Brom||NBC Extra Time|
|Saturday||12:00:00 PM||Kim Young Kyu “Kiu”||Almeria||Levante||BeIn Play (BeIn Esp at 6PM)|
|Sunday||10:30:00 AM||Park Ji Sung||PSV Eindhoven||Ajax||GolTV|
|Sunday||11:00:00 AM||Kim Bo Kyung||Cardiff City||Tottenham||NBC Extra Time|
Looking at the Washington Post Soccer Insider (where Steven Goff has been a one man operation holding down the fort there), they list all international league matches on US TV -they’ve been great about listing different asian league games, nearly all of which airs on One World Sports. The Tavern Owner is dismayed then to find out that for the 3rd week in a row, they stopped airing their one lone K-League match of the week. Last year they aired 2 K-League games a week, then dropped down to one for the ’13-’14 season. In contrast, they air 3 or 4 J-League matches weekly. I called over to One World Sports today to find out why. The PR man on the phone was cordial, but didn’t have all the answers and would get back to me. Until then, those who want to see K-League games restored to One World Sports programming should contact them in their New York digs:
ONE World Sports
420 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10170
This may call for a repeat post. Stay tuned.
Across the bigger pond, K-Talk reported last week that the FA Cup finalists are in: it’s Pohang Steelers vs Jeonbuk Motors. Pohang sealed it with a 4-2 win over Jeju while Jeonbuk got the win over Busan to get their dance ticket. K-Talk: The final will take place in Jeonju, although a time a date hasn’t been set in stone. The league has set up the weekend of October 19th or 20th for it to take place. Jeonbuk and Pohang have split 3 games this season going 1-1-1 each. Tavern Owner knows who he’ll root for: Pohang. Sorry K-Talk, I know you are a Jeonbuk man, so no disrespect there. But for me, it’s all about being a Choi Kang-Hee hater. I just got no love for the man…
Meanwhile over to London England, an observant BSK poster KyopoOhNo brought to light this on Arsenal’s team Flickr page.
PCY is back, but is it back to Arsenal purgatory? Or will he escape again? Or more unlikely but not mathematically impossible, could he show up in a League cup or FA cup match? Tune in next week, same Tavern Time, same Tavern Channel…well, website rather.