As the January transfer window closed, it was supposed to be a straightforward ordeal for Lee Chung-Yong who had been completely underutilized at Crystal Palace -a long delayed loan to Bolton – this coming several months since management convinced Lee last summer to stick around for playing time rather than jump ship for friendlier climate at his former club. One bad backpass early in the season & a managerial sacking later was all that it took for the Blue Dragon to fall completely back in the pecking order. Bolton, meanwhile, has been chomping at the bits to get back their reliable midfielder. In the waning hours, Crystal Palace’s manager Roy Hodgson relayed a request to nix the deal because of a season ending ankle injury to Bakary Sako – suffered right on deadline day against West Ham. Bolton tried but to no avail to keep the deal going – contingent on Crystal Palace shoring up depth on their bench by acquiring 2 more midfielder wingers. With the clock running out and no new reinforcements – Bolton -mired in the relegation zone in the English Championship – had no choice but to give up on the deal. Lee Chung-Yong will now stay at Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season.
Lee Chung-yong's statement via his agency after failing to secure a move to Bolton: "I'm a bit taken aback to hear that I cannot join Bolton due to another player's injury. I'm going to put my disappointment behind me now and give my best to perform well when I get on the pitch."
— Steve Han (@RealSteveScores) February 1, 2018
That’s the question for Lee, will he continue to be bench fodder for Hodgson or will he actually and finally get a chance to be a impact player for Palace?
Meanwhile Ki Sung-Yeung and Swans had a decent plan, a bit of luck and hard scrabble effort to put the sword to Arsenal last Tuesday, a 3-1 victory that helped to convince Ki that his decision to stay put at Swansea would be vastly better option than jumping to West Ham. Talk about Swansea helping themselves get out of relegation trouble, they managed to leap from the bottom of the table to an inch (or centimeter by whatever measurement you’d like) out of relegation with the result. Carlos Carvahal has been nothing short of managerial magic, getting back to back wins – first against Liverpool (after LFC recorded a victory against Man City!) and on Tuesday against Arsenal – impressive. And there’s no way in hell Ki will ever join West Ham after this:
Ki Sung-yueng tells SPOTV that he has “no reason to join West Ham as they’re not a better side than Swansea.” pic.twitter.com/f4aNexqJFZ
— Steve Han (@RealSteveScores) January 31, 2018
Of course, the glaring news about West Ham’s head of recruitment blatant and shocking statements disparaging the nature of African based footballers will no doubt add that extra layer of relief in Ki’s camp that he didn’t take the plunge.
I haven’t watched the game yet, but the twitterverse spoiled the outcome – Spurs recorded an impressive 2-0 win against Man U on Wednesday. Son went 80 minutes, left to a standing ovation for being a constant menace to Man U’s beleaguered backline with his pace – though his finishing and passing in the final third left something to be desired. And yet, despite some glaring mistakes, most analysts deemed Son’s shift as mostly positive – a great team win (and a ridiculous 10.5 second goal – 2nd fastest in Prem history).
It’s at this point we go to Korean Footballers Abroad – he’s got his take on the roundup and weekend listings for KPAs for February 3 and 4.
|Saturday||10:00 AM||Ki Sung Yueng||Swansea||@Leicester||NBC Gold|
|Saturday||2:00 PM||Kwon Chang Hoon||Dijon||@Troyes||None|
|Saturday||2:00 PM||Suk Hyun Jun||Troyes||Dijon||None|
|Sunday||6:30 AM||Lee Seung Woo||Hellas Verona||AS Roma||BeIn Play|
|Sunday||9:15 AM||Lee Chung Yong||Crystal Palace||Newcastle||NBCSN|
|Sunday||9:30 AM||Koo Ja Cheol||Augsburg||Eintracht Frankfurt||Fox Match Pass|
|Sunday||11:30 AM||Son Heung Min||Tottenham||@Liverpool||NBCSN|
Ki Sung Yueng — Must have been a tough decision for Ki. With his contract ending in the summer, he could have moved to West Ham where he’d be in London, at a club with decent resources, and some financial security ahead of World Cup and next season at least. Ki decided to focus on the WC though, playing on a team that needs him now that Mesa is gone, and with a manager he seems to enjoy, and teammates that he knows. And perhaps a bullet dodged with some potential distractions in West Ham with DoF racist comments.
When Ki started, we could assume that the move was off, and Ki played well in a huge upset. A slight tweak from Liverpool, Ki was the single pivot ahead of a back five, with Fer and Clucas alongside. While I normally prefer Ki in a more advanced role, the deep spot worked well as he helped link defense and attack and allowed Clucas and Fer to make frequent runs into the open spaces of Arsenal’s defense in a way that Ki probably doesn’t have legs for. Certainly Ki should start again this weekend.
Kwon Chang Hoon — Too bad its not a Korean derby, but it seems KCH is a bench guy anyway for now. At some point, he’ll come on and maybe he’ll even start.
Suk Hyun Jun — Out injured still I think.
Lee Seung Woo — I didn’t track exactly all the movements in and out, but I’m sure at best LSW will be warming the bench and only coming on in garbage time if he’s lucky.
Lee Chung Yong — It must be very disappointing for LCY with a return loan to Bolton ruined due to injury to Sako. I think he’s not as far down the depth chart as his lack of use showed in the past couple weeks: Hodgson probably refused to use the bench to signal the need for offensive players. That said, he’s only an insurance plan and had CPFC bought a single attacker, perhaps he’d be back in Bolton colors. But as that insurance plan, probably just warming the bench hoping for last second cameos.
Koo Ja Cheol — I haven’t heard about him being out for the weekend, so hopefully he’s stitched up and doing well rather than rushing back from a possible concussion. If he’s fit, he should start I think.
Son Heung Min — An interesting match as Tottenham showed the quality at high speed that makes them so dangerous, but some selfishness and lack of finishing could have been far more problematic were it not for a Man Utd own goal. But with a two goal cushion, Son and the gang were playing with a lot of freedom and Son’s pace and quickness caused many problems. But he had a few chances to pass to a teammate such as Kane for certain goals, but that worked in reverse where Son was free and the pass never came. And on his own he wasted a few chances with a poor touch or shot. Son was the weakest of the attackers Wednesday but still a decent showing and you’d have to think he’s gonna start vs Klopp.
Let’s go to Korea – finally have some K League club action – though the season hasn’t started yet officially, Suwon Bluewings was in action, in the qualifying round of the Asian Champions League. This happened Tuesday against Vietnamese club Thanh Hoa
A snowy home field advantage saw Suwon demolish the Vietnamese visitors. Lim Sang-Hyub connection with Waguininho good for 2 goals, Lim added to Thanh Hoa’s misery + Lee Ke-Ji + Dejan opened up his Suwon account = all Suwon debutants scored in a snowy slippery game. With that, Suwon qualifies for the Group stage of the ACL.
Matchday 1 for all 4 K League Clubs (Jeonbuk / Jeju / Ulsan & Suwon) will start Wednesday February 14th, check out K-League United’s guide to the ACL group stage:
— K League United (@KLeagueUnited) February 2, 2018
Korea’s January camp featuring Asian based players will conclude on Saturday, kickoff with Latvia at 9:30am US EST / 11PM Korea Time. Korea had a meh 2-2 draw with Jamaica on Tuesday – captain Jang Hyun-Su partly responsible in both goals conceded, the head of the Wookie, aka Kim Shin-Wook offset the defensive calamity and Lee Jae-Sung looked lively as usual. This is not the full cast of the KNT, that won’t happen until the March international break, with Korea facing Northern Ireland and Poland on March 24 and 27th respectively.
Congratulations to an old Tavern contributor, Steve Price, he’s gone on to contribute for K-League United and more recently with Forbes – well this spectacular thing happened earlier this week:
.@kleaguefootball has joined KFA National Team Supervisory Committee.
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) January 31, 2018
That’s the committee that hires and supervises national team coaches. Steve says he can’t comment quite yet on his role, but we congratulated him on twitter and we do so here on the Tavern. When he’s ready to talk, we might get the scoop and deliver that here at the Tavern first. Doesn’t hurt to call first dibs! Dae han min guk ya’ll!