It’s the final weekend for the continental leagues before their winter break, so get your matches in now before the winter doldrums!
U.S. Listings (all times EST)
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*Ji Dong-Won is currently recovering from injury
Korea Listings (all times KST)
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*Daum usually streams matches that appear on TV, but the site isn’t working at time of writing, so I can’t be sure. Check Daum out as the match approaches
Watching this Weekend
3. Guangzhou Evergrande vs Atletico Mineiro – Kim Young-Gwon
So, Guangzhou and Kim Young-Gwon failed the Bayern Munich test as they were battered by the Germans 3-0. But, they can still take a third-place finish, and get some pride back by beating the Copa Libertadores champions in Atletico Mineiro. Atletico Mineiro has former World Player of the Year Ronaldinho to count on as well as Brazil national team forward Jo.
2. Sunderland vs Norwich City – Ki Sung-Yueng/Ji Dong-Won
Sunderland’s chances of getting out of the relegation zone are getting slimmer and slimmer. After shocking Man City back in early November, the team has gone on a barren run in the league. The midweek win over Chelsea in the League Cup will hopefully give the team a boost going into the weekend. Sunderland currently sit five points adrift of safety, but have not been able to take advantage of any West Ham slip ups.
1. Liverpool vs Cardiff City – Kim Bo-Kyung
Cardiff seems like a team that is possibly on the verge of unraveling. Very public “spats” between owner Vincent Tan and coach Malky Mackay seem to keep popping up and the team is drifting closer and closer to relegation (currently four points clear). And while all this is concerning for Bluebird fans, for Korean fans the worry will mainly be the shrinking about of playing time for Kim Bo-Kyung. A player who is becoming increasingly marginalized as the season has gone on. And in all likelihood, it seems like Kim will probably start on the bench again for the trip to Anfield as he rarely starts against the bigger teams.
- Keeping with the Cardiff theme, in a bizarre turn of events, The Guardian is reporting that Vincent Tan has sent a letter to Malky Mackay expressing a number of grievances against the manager. In the letter Mackay has essentially been told, quit or get the sack. New flash for Mr. Tan. Mackay will get another job in a heartbeat if he’s let go, finding another manager whose willing to deal with your insanity is another question.
- If things on the pitch aren’t going too well for Park Chu-Young, it seems he’s still having some fun off it. Arsenal released photos from their Christmas party, and Park seems to be enjoying himself with the rest of the squad. If you don’t see him, Park is the Santa Claus. Two notes, Park apparently didn’t get the message that “Santa is just white” (not Korean), and hopefully Santa can bring Park a move this January so he can be fit and in-form for the World Cup.
- Mentioned yesterday in the Son-Ryu photo, but Ryu Seung-Woo will apparently wear the number 24 with Bayer Leverkusen. An interesting number to give him, as it’s a number that would traditionally worn by a squad player, and not a ‘fill out the numbers’ reserve. Perhaps we’ll see Ryu at some point this season after all?
- Park Ji-Sung’s father has said that his son will retire (completely) from football after the 2014-15 season, and that Park is not considering rejoining the senior national team for one last World Cup.
- Hong Myeong-Bo has announced that key central defender Kim Young-Gwon will not be included in the January camp team that goes to Brazil and the US. Hong wants to give the young defender a rest before the 2014 Chinese Super League kicks off in the spring as well as the World Cup.
- In Seoul this winter? Check out the “Share the Dream Football Match” at Jamsil indoor gymnasium on December 29. Hong along with Kim Tae-Young will lead two squads, ‘Hope’ and ‘Love’ in a overseas vs domestic match. Players confirmed for the match are Son Heung-Min, Koo Ja-Cheol, Park Joo-Ho, Hong Jeong-Ho, and Kim Young-Gwon.
- Don’t know if there’s any truth to it, but on Twitter it was rumored that the KFA was in talks to play Portugal in the final official friendly match before the World Cup (March 2014). Stay tuned for any developments.
- Continental European leagues will go on their winter break following this weekend’s round of matches. Restart dates: Spain (1/5/14) Germany (1/25/14) Netherlands (1/18/14) France (1/11/14)