It was quite a weekend, and there were lots of games. Again, the basic overview from me (plus maybe some comments)
and Roy will come in later to sweep up with more.
Jae’s Random Thoughts
– Park Chu-Young remains on the outs at Arsenal, but rumors emerged over the weekend that three French clubs are interested in signing him in January. Hopeful that it happens, but similar rumors came out during the summer.
– After being a mainstay early in the season, Kim Bo-Kyung has become more of a fringe player. Another very, very late sub appearance.
– No chances for Ji Dong-Won at Sunderland, who look incapable of getting themselves out of the relegation zone. A January move hopefully for Ji.
UPDATE on Ji: [Tavern owner intruding] –just as Ji arrived in Korea to deal with a minor injury, according to Bild, an agreement in principal between Sunderland and Borussia Dortmund is in place, a formal contract to be announced and formalized in January to transfer Ji to BVB. How credible is this? Tavern analysis: there’s no reason to believe that talks aren’t happening – however we can’t conclude this is a done deal until more facts are in. Here’s some reason that this transfer might indeed come through -Jurgen Klopp and Sunderland were near a deal this summer for Ji -only to fall apart when they couldn’t agree on the financial arrangement. Ji’s contract will be up at the end of the season, all the more reason to think Sunderland’s last chance to make a deal happen with BVB or any other Bundesliga club will have to be in January. All 3 of Sunderland’s managers this season have struggled to figure out how to best utilize Ji, who made a name for himself in Germany by helping Augsburg stay afloat last season.
– Lee Chung-Yong earned a penalty for Bolton (in what was ultimately a lost cause), but because the match wasn’t broadcast I haven’t seen video of it (if found we’ll post it). Reports say it was due to a high boot [hitting him in the face]. Emmerson Boyce was the player guilty of said act, but he was fairly livid with the decision, clearly feeling that he had not made contact and that Lee had dived. A photo taken moments after the incident. You can make your own mind.
– Koo Ja-Cheol made his return to competitive action for Wolfsburg as a late sub. Hopefully one of Koo and Kim (BK) is playing regularly for that number 10 role.
– Son Heung-Min and Bayer Leverkusen’s kind of/sort of title chase is officially over (for me) as they shockingly lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 in Leverkusen. They now trail Bayern Munich by seven points, a gap which they surely cannot overcome.
– Park Ji-Sung starting means PSV winning? Captain Park returned to the PSV XI and they cruised to a 5-1 win over Utrecht. During Park’s longish injury absence PSV fell off the rails a bit.
–Ki Sung-Yeung nearly had his first Premier League goal for Sunderland in an away match at West Ham. Here’s a tweet version of what happened when Ki was given license to advance forward:
78′ Great chance for Sunderland as Ki forces a fine save out of Jaaskelainen from eight yards.
— Sunderland AFC (@SAFCofficial) December 14, 2013
Inside the area, Ki successfully got away from his marker, closed in on goal inside the box -and was so close to nabbing all 3 vital points for the Blackcats, only a stellar reflexive save spoiling Ki’s effort. Take away about 3-4 bad passes, it was a decent outing overall for Ki, who was paired with Lee Cattermole for the first time. It was said both Lee and Ki were competing for the same position. Trying something that previous managers ruled out, Poyet’s new starting XI featured both Lee and Ki on the pitch. Cattemole took the holding mid position, thus allowing Ki to get further up the pitch, with fairly good impact (Sunderland owning 60% possession at West Ham) – save for the fact that Sunderland has a devil of a time finding the back of the net this season. Glass half full: Ki looks on the verge of scoring and looks threatening when he’s able to go forward. Glass half empty: Sunderland gained only a point on Crystal Palace and Fulham, but are still 5 points behind and at the foot of the table.
– Kim Young-Gwon and Guangzhou Evergrande returned to the pitch in the FIFA Club World Cup. After a slightly sluggish start, Evergrande eventually came out 2-0 winners over CAF representatives Al Alhy of Egypt. Evergrande’s reward is a semifinal meeting with UEFA reps Bayern Munich.
Media in the Netherlands reported that former Utrecht player and coach, Ton du Chantinier, is set to join Hong Myeong-Bo’s coaching staff for the World Cup. Hong and du Chantinier met while Hong was at Anzhi, where du Chantinier was serving as an assistant coach. Du Chantinier will help continue to shore up the defense, which has improved under Hong but still has it’s moments against top opposition. The KFA has confirmed that du Chantinier is set to join the staff and it is just a matter of ironing out a few contractual details.
Tavern Owner intruding again: John Duerden mused on ESPNFC on Hong Myong-Bo and the possibilities of being the first Asian head manager of a European team – if his Taeguk Warriors team advances past the round of 16 in the World Cup. Hong’s last gig was assistant manager at Anzhi Makhachkala last season when Guus Hiddink was then manager.
I’ll repeat this on the Ryu Seung-Woo post as an update, but kind of interesting possibility: according to Bild, Bayer Leverkusen may consider loaning Ryu so that he could get some playing time as he adjusts to European football. The 19 year old Jeju United striker is starting his 1 year loan to Leverkusen and is expected to arrive later today to join up with the squad in training. Speculation is that he may not see any minutes with the first squad, especially right away, but could get some valuable playing experience at another club in the meantime.