Sept 27, 2012
Wasn’t sure last weekend when midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung in his debut start for Swansea was shifted to play as a defender in the last 30 minutes of a loss to Everton (after Dyer’s red card suspension), but speculation abounded whether Ki playing the centerback position made him the first Korean in the Premier League to play the role. Tavern statisticians lazily googled it up; Lee Young-Pyo was a defensive player for Tottenham several years back, but was positioned by then Spurs manager Martin Jol as a leftback and a few times as a rightback. So there you have it: Ki Sung-Yeung -1st Korean centerback in the EPL. If anyone comes up with a different conclusive answer, please let me know -which would mean I will be in the need for new Tavern statisticians.
In Tuesday’s Cup match with League 1 side Crawley, Swansea started Ki in centerback. Unusual move, but Manager Michael Ladrup had few options with Neil Taylor out with a season ending injury, Kyle Bartley knocked out for 3 months, Ashley Williams with light injuries and Chico Flores finishing up his suspension. That is one banged up defense (Swansea picked up 26 year old Dwight Tiendalli recently to help out). So how’d he do in his new temporary role? While Swansea unconvincingly advances in the tournament, (Monk header in stoppage time to win 3-2), Ki played the full 90 minutes and according to the official Swansea website, “Ki was clearly enjoying his new role in the heart of the Swans defence as he spread some great early passes out from the back, much to the delight of the 1,000 Jacks behind Gerhard Tremmel’s goal.” The final verdict on Ki’s centerback performance, not bad, especially for someone who’s never played the postion. His distribution was spot on and he came out aggressively forward at times, switching it up as if deep midfielding again. Ki’s stock is rising amongst Swansea fans and is showing quality and versatility for the team. Yet another first in this new season for Koreans in top flight european football.
Ji Dong-Won was in the 18 man roster for Sunderland’s Cup match v the MK Dons, but didn’t get any minutes. Time to make a Tavern telephone call. Let me crack this machine up: Hello? Martin? Martin O’Neil? You got a dynamic impact player over there, sitting on his bum, no minutes yet. I’m talking about Ji. Yeah him. Hey, you saw the Olympics – you know what I’m talking about. Tragic for Great Britain, just tragic, I know. Yeah, Fletcher is good. He’s great even. But Louis Saha? Come on man, what’s he done for you lately? Ji’s young and fast. Saha, he’s getting a bit…geriatric, ya know what I mean? Wait, what’s this I’m seeing on the official Sunderland FB site? What’s this, Ji photographed like he’s a first team player? What’s this all about?
Whew. That was uncomfortable. Sunderland advances on a 2-0 score.
Poor Park Ji-Sung. His QPR side just can’t manage a win, despite some improvements to their overall performance. On Wednesday, QPR was knocked out of Cup competition by Reading, a game QPR was in command of until the 76th minute. Despite a Djibril Cisse strike putting them ahead 2-1 in the 71st minute, Reading scored twice in a 10 minute span of time. Park had a great shot at his first goal in the 57th minutes, only to see McCarthy react quickly to block his shot. He was subbed out in the 67th minute for Bobby Zamora.
On to Germany: Wednesday Son Heung-Minwas looking to score in his third straight game for Hamburg SV, rejuvenated after getting it’s first win last Saturday; Son netting the game winner and brace against Borussia Dortmund and snapping like a twig it’s 31-game unbeaten streak. The happy thought didn’t happen, but his teammate Rafael Van der Vaart got his first goal and nearly got the game winning penalty shot in the second half. Didn’t happen – blocked by the goal keeper for Borussia M’gladbach. Son played 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw. One positive takeaway, the Van der Vaart reinforced Hamburg is looking far better than at the beginning of the season, and with some tweaks, the north German side is looking like a force to reckon with in the Bundesliga. On a side note, on Hamburg’s team website, Son, like many athletes, is kinda superstitious:
(translated) Do you have a ritual that you apply after successful games or goals scored?
Son: Yes, I wear the same shoes. Whenever I make a goal, then I would then return to the same shoes. The shoes (a silver-orange Adidas-Paar/Anm) have brought me luck against Frankfurt and Dortmund. Maybe they bring me luck against M’Gladbach. When I lose two or three games, then I replace them and consult with them at a later date only restart.
Can I hope for some really rankin’ boots from Son?
Cha Du-Ri‘s Fortuna Dusseldorf won their first match of the season on Tuesday. This was Cha’s 2nd game with the newly promoted team since taking some time off for a family related emergency. The defender played the last 20 minutes of a solid 2-0 win over SpVgg Gruether Furth.
Park Joo-Ho and FC Basel won their Swiss league match with FC Sion Wednesday. Park played 90 minutes in a 4-1 win at home.
Park Chu-Young is making news for slightly injuring his knee in last Saturday’s Celta Vigo win over Getafe. Apparently this happened during his usual goal line prayer celebration knee slide, which he performed after netting the game winner. His knee got hung up with the dry turf, and he was observed tending to his knees during practice this week. Next post: we’ll see what indications CV coach Paco Herrera is giving about PCY starting for the La Liga side.
Finally the Taeguk Warriors (v.U-16) is facing off this morning against Saudi Arabia (9:30am EST) in the last group match for the AFC U-16 Championship. The Taeguk Warriors already won the group with a 3-1 win over Japan last tuesday. Good luck future Taeguk Warriors. [Update: South Korea rested the regulars and installed nearly the entire bench to start the game and won 1-0 on a Jeong Hunu goal. They face off against Uzbekistan on Sunday Sept 30 at 7:30am EST. Live streaming at http://www.ustream.tv/afcu16 ].
Gots to go – we’re going to see what games are happening this weekend very soon on Tavern. Have a great day!