The Korean Players Abroad were largely anonymous this weekend as only Ki, Chungy, Koo and Ji got playing minutes. Lee Chungyong did come close, however, to opening his goal scoring account, though Pardew’s words post-game may mean ominous clouds lie ahead for the Blue Dragon. That and a brief recap of the K League Classic & Jeonbuk-Seoul, round III, after the jump.
Player, Club, Opponent, Result, Notes
Son Heungmin, Tottenham, Liverpool, 1-1 D, Unused sub
Ji Dongwon, Augsburg, Wolfsburg, 0-2 L, Bench + Came on in 63′
Koo Jacheol, Augsburg, Wolfsburg, 0-2 L, Started + Came off in 82′
Park Jooho, Dortmund, Mainz, 2-1 W, Not in 18
Lee Chungyong, Palace, Bournemouth, 1-1 D, Bench + Came on 66′
Ki Sungyueng, Swansea, Leicester, 1-2 L, Bench + Came on 59′
Kim Jinsu, Hoffenheim, Leipzig, 2-2 D, Not in 18
Hwang Heechan, RB Salzburg, Rapid Vienna, 0-0 D, Unused sub [/tb]
*Hwang Heechan is added to this table because he received a national team call-up*
Alive or Not?
First off, the bad news in our Korean Players Abroad recap. Neither one of the leftbacks, Park Jooho nor Kim Jinsu, were in the matchday squad for their clubs. Park has said that he wants to press on and break through in Dortmund, which you have to admire him for. However, from a national team standpoint, when you know that one of our strongest positions depth-wise is leftback, and yet none of the three players there (Yun Sukyoung being the other) are playing professional football… it’s concerning. Hopefully, something is figured out, and we can start having leftbacks moving towards first team starts again.
Wait, Yun Sukyoung is alive? Yes, surprisingly. It sounds like he’s looking for another European club before calling it quits. Currently remains unattached.
Augsburg: Koo rusty, Ji anonymous
Over in Augsburg, Koo Jacheol got his first start of the 2016 season. He had an okay performance, only actually attempting 24 passes all game long, however, his influence on the game, as described in the below chart, fairly minimal…
By the looks of his attacking third passes map, however, you can obviously see that Koo and striker Finnbogason probably have some gelling to do this season. All of Koo’s successful passes in the game were really defensive, lateral or out to the wide midfielders.
WhoScored gave him a fairly average rating of 6.37, while Ji Dongwon, who came on in the 62nd minute, playing as the right midfielder, received a 6.08 rating.
Ki Sungyueng and Lee Chungyong come off the bench
Ki didn’t start this game after what sounded like a fairly poor game midweek in the EFL Cup, where he played the number #10 role. Francesco Guidolin deployed him there again as a substitute for Gylfi Sigurdsson. His dashboard is nothing really of note either:
Our own Tavern Owner Roy Ghim had this to say about Ki in the Tavern forum:
I saw a few minutes of that Leicester /Swans game – I have never seen a more rain soaked pitch – it was like dribbling on water. Ki had 1 successful slide tackle and 1 unsucessful attempt – water slide time.
While WalesOnline gave Ki’s performance a 7:
Ki Sung-Yueng (for Sigursdsson 59): Brought first bit of control. 7
Also interesting is this article about Ki Sungyueng’s month-long mandatory military training, from a Welsh local media perspective (if you win exemption, you get to do this instead of the 18-month full service).
Lee Chungyong also did not start, which was disappointing, given that he was a substitute midweek in the EFL Cup, which was indicating a start here. However, he was subbed on in the 66th minute with Palace down 1-0 at home against Bournemouth (of all teams!), and was good. He missed just one pass, created a chance, a couple ball recoveries, a decent cross, suffered a foul.
He missed a big chance for Palace to go level in the second half, skying Zaha’s cut-back pass…
Nonetheless, local paper the Croyton Advertiser wasn’t harsh at all:
Lee – Was another positive influence after coming on and had a couple of chances. Should have done better with Zaha’s cut-back but at least he looked like he was interested. 7
However, the major issue is that it seems Alan Pardew is going from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-1-1 shape, which means that’s one less midfield position for Lee to play.
PARDEW: It's the line-up we've been trying to work towards with 2 strikers on the pitch, a new look with the goalkeeper and Benteke up top.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) August 27, 2016
In a 4-4-1-1, obviously you want your central midfielders to a good balance of defensive clout and passing going forward… this deeper central midfield role really isn’t Chungy’s game. Pardew’s decision to play Lee as a CAM in the first couple games was interesting, as he in our eyes is a 4-2-3-1 style winger, but he received plaudits on August 15th for his good showing in the hole. Changing the system probably leaves Lee on the bench as a substitute winger, as Korean Footballers Abroad’s “skimmilk” points out:
Not ideal for Lee Chung Yong who ends up as sub winger at best. https://t.co/FmPE8hneXm
— Korean Footballers (@KoreaFootAbroad) August 27, 2016
Is Son on his way out?
It was a bit of an anxious moment in the Twittersphere as we were waiting for Spurs’ team news… If Son started, that would be a fairly clear signal that he will remain in London, for this transfer window at least. On the flipside, an exclusion from the squad would be a fairly clear indicator that he’s on his way out. Rumours were swirling throughout the week, from *one* tweet (source questionable indeed) that he had agreed terms with Wolfsburg.
Instead, Son was neither a starter, nor excluded, but rather sat on the bench. Despite this, he never came on to play in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool. Stay tuned here as the Transfer Window shuts on August 31st and there could be last minute drama on Deadline Day with Son making a return to the Bundesliga. Even news now that Wolfsburg have made a bid…!
Bild reporting Wolfsburg have made a €30M bid for Heung-Min Son. Also state player has already agreed terms. #THFC
— e-Spurs (@e_spurs) August 29, 2016
Should Son transfer or should he stay?
— Tim Lee (@korfan12) August 29, 2016
And that’s your Korean Players Abroad recap.
Roy updated us with K League Saturday results in the fashionably late weekend listings, but for completeness’ sake, here are the results from both day’s action:
Jeju 1-0 Seongnam
Ulsan 1-1 Gwangju
Suwon City 2-0 Incheon
FC Seoul 1-3 Jeonbuk
Jeonnam 2-1 Pohang
Sangju 1-1 Suwon Bluewings
Of note, Jeonbuk was classic Jeonbuk, taking a third victory over FC Seoul this season. It was a defense first approach from Choi Kanghee, who so obviously had trapped Hwang Sunhong’s steeltaka tactics from the very beginning. Jeonbuk sat deep and defended – early possession stats an incredible 85-15 swing for Seoul. But central midfielders Takahagi and Lee Seokhyun were ineffective and invisible, respectively, while Park Chuyoung kept on coming deeper and deeper down the pitch, looking to create, but there was so little available to do.
Jeonbuk stifled Seoul then took their opportunities: the first goal was a bit of a fluke, a botched clearance in the Seoul penalty box deflecting off of U23 defensive midfielder Jang Yunho and scoring. Leonardo scored the 2nd and the 3rd, with Lee Jaesung getting his 9th assist of the season on a beautiful lobbed pass.
Lee Jae Sung—> Leonardo= goal. 8th assist in the league. Roughly an assist every 3 matches.https://t.co/dbHBWydrAb
— Korean league gifs (@kl_gifs) August 28, 2016
And the third, a smashing volley finish from the Brazilian winger:
Leonardo crashed home a superb volley from Choi Chul-soon's cross. Jeonbuk beat FC Seoul 3-1. pic.twitter.com/gSiTV1gcpH
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) August 28, 2016
Park Chuyoung won a penalty in injury time, which Adriano converted for a consolation goal, but 3-1 Jeonbuk, the job was done. The Green Machine’s lead atop the table? 13 points. 10 games to go, but it would take a miracle to prevent a three-peat for the Jeolla side.
On the other side of the table, the Bluewings’ draw coupled with a Suwon City win drags Seo Jungwon’s team a little bit deeper into sh*t. It’s looking impossible for the Samsung owned side to find the form needed to move them into the top half before the K League splits in 5 rounds. A relegation battle among Suwon teams might be awaiting us.
Jeonnam’s last minute goal over Pohang, through Jair (assist by the promising U23 star Han Chanhee) means that they have a real shot at breaking into the top half now. Only 5 points separates 3rd to 9th position, with Jeju, Sangju, Ulsan, Seongnam, Gwangju, Jeonnam and Pohang all duking it out for potential ACL qualification & a top half finish above the split.
Here’s how the table stands:
In the 2nd-tier K League Challenge, Daejeon’s Hwang Inbeom had a scintillating game, scoring a cracking goal and assisting another. A 5-0 rout of league leaders Ansan Police has me in a very good mood. My boys are back in promotion playoff position!
Remember, this week, on September 1st, we’ve got a big game ahead. Korea opens the final (hopefully) round of World Cup Qualifying at home against a Chinese side who, perhaps delusional, perhaps not, are dreaming of a shocking victory in Seoul. 20k supporters will be cheering on Gao Hongbo’s team… so can we pack the stadium? And can we begin the Road To Russia with 3 points (a smooth qualifying campaign would be really, really nice this time)? It’s a busy week in Korean football, and we’ve got you covered here at the Tavern!