Park Chu Young needs a good game against Iran to retain Celta Vigo starting role: interview with Santiago Perez

October 14, 2012

The Tavern interviewed blogger and newly hired correspondent for SportalKorea, Santiago Perez concerning Park Chu-Young, his ongoing knee issues, and his prospects for starting for Celta Vigo in their upcoming game at Real Madrid. That highly anticipated matchup is set not too long after Park takes part in South Korea’s World Cup Qualifier against Iran in Tehran this Tuesday.

Tavern: You mentioned (on your blog prior to Celta Vigo’s match against Sevilla that Park had a knee bandage [possibly from a knee injury when celebrating his first goal for his club against Getafe and being the first Korean to score in La Liga]. There was some doubt that Park would start, but eventually Paco Herrera decided to give him the green light. In your opinion, did the knee situation factor in Herrera’s decision to pull Park in the 57th minute of the Sevilla match, possibly as a preventative action -or did Herrera view Park’s performance and decision making as lagging at that point in the 2nd half?

Perez: He surely has been sore for some time now, and it all started after Getafe’s game. I don’t know if that was because of his celebration, but it’s a possibility. I don’t think that situation influeneced Herrera on making the decision; that was based on looking for another style of play with Bermejo. He had doubts to play with him or Park as a starter, and wanted to give the team some fresh air, and it surely worked.

Tavern: Now Park has been known to do that “Prayer Celebration” after scoring goals where he’s sliding/digging his knees in the ground immediately in a prayer pose. I’ve always thought, one day, he’s going to suffer a knee injury because of that peculiar display. You witnessed one of his Celta Vigo teammates pointing out to Park that the celebration was the reason for his knee ailments. You think Park will be able to adjust his post goal display to preserve his knees or will he continue to do it?

Perez: I really don’t know, but there are a lot of players that do that, and nothing happens. The grass was too dry and that’s what stopped him. I don’t think he needs to stop that celebration as long as the condition of the field allows him to do it safely.

Tavern: Park did appear to have a decent first half against Sevilla. Nevertheless, he didn’t score, and Park was taken out early in the 2nd half. What’s Paco Herrera thinking now in terms of possibly starting Park for the big October 20th match against Real Madrid in the belly of the Bernabeu? There is the consensus that if he has an outstanding performance for South Korea (in their October 16th World Cup Qualifier clash with Iran), Paco Herrera will continue to go with that positive momentum and start Park. Your thoughts on all that?

Perez: I don’t think Herrera was thinking on something else but the win when he changed Park, and believe me he was not thinking about the Bernabeu’s game. The fact that Park won’t be able to come back until two days before the game does not play in his favour, and surely a good game against Iran will allow him to have a good position in the run for a starter postion. His two main rivals, De Lucas and Bermejo scored in their last matches, De Lucas against Sevilla and Bermejo scored twice against Lugo in a friendly match played three days ago. Park needs a good display against Iran in order not to lose his starter spot.

Tavern: Lastly, as you are a longtime observer of Celta Vigo, how do they stack up overall against Real Madrid, especially considering Real is coming off another tight El Classico draw last Sunday with Barca. What might we expect in this matchup at the Bernabeu – is the world about to witness a shocker on October 20th?

Perez: The truth is that Celta has won in his last two visits to Real Madrid’s stadium, with shocker victories. Three victories in a row seem difficult, but not impossible for Celta, and they have nothing to lose in that game, so they will play without pressure.

Tavern statisticians looked it up and sure enough, Real Madrid lost at home to Celta Vigo by a score of 3-2 in the 2005-2006 campaign, and in the following year Celta Vigo won at the Bernabeu by a score of 2-1. Celta Vigo eventually finished that year in 18th and relegated for 5 years before winning promotion last season.

The Tavern wants to thank Santiago Perez for taking time for the interview. He currently is looking to expand his operations with Park Chu-Young’s links with Korean fans further.  The Tavern will undoubtedly check in with Santiago soon.

Let’s turn our attention right now to Tehran and the Taeguk Warriors October 16th World Cup Qualifer. As we mentioned in an update last week, South Korean coach Choi Kang-Hee made some late roster switches -all defensive changes: OUT: Hwang Seok-Ho and Park Won-Jae, IN: Kee-Hee Kim & Park Joo-Ho. We’ll let K-Talk explain:

Park Won-Jae suffered an injury against a 0-3 lost to Pohang with his club Jeonbuk Hyundai in the 35 Round. Motors Coach Lee Heung-Shil said the injury is ‘serious’. In Japan, Hwang Seok-Ho has injuried his ankle for a second time in a month leaving him in question about his fitness. Coach Choi has replaced the two with Kim Ki-Hee and Park Joo-Ho. Ki-Hee was a member of the 2012 London Olympics team which won bronze medal, although he only appeared in the last four minutes against Japan. Joo-Ho is also not new to international experience as he has started in four of the last five international matches for Korea. He is currently playing at FC Basel in Switzerland.” [UPDATE: this morning SportalKorea reports Park Joo-Ho has bronchitis, possibly as a result of dry air in the high altitude terrain where the team is practicing in Iran. The team is currently 1200 meters in elevation above sea level. Separately, SportalKorea observed shoddy conditions for parts of the practice field the team is using.]

The Tavern is speculating that we’ll witness a 4-3-2-1 formation, the same formation boss Choi used in the last Taeguk Warrior match. However, Choi has also utilized a 4-4-2 in the past interchangeably with the 4-3-2-1.  For today’s musings, let’s look at a possible 4-3-2-1 with the players Choi has called up.

Park Chu Young

Lee Keun-Ho                                         Son Heung-Min

Kim Bo-Kyung                                Ki Sung-Yeung                           Lee Chung-Yong


Park Joo-Ho             Kim Young-Kwang                 Kwak Tae-Hwi                Oh Beom-Seok

Jung Sung-Ryong


Boss Choi finally shed his fetish for playing Lee Dong-Gook, and as well as the Jeonbuk forward has done for the Taeguk Warriors in the past, he is getting on in age (33 years). By not calling him up, the South Korean national team freed up a spot for Son Heung-Min, who’s been tearing it up in the Bundesliga for Hamburg. 2 out of his 4 goals have been game winnners. He’s currently the highest scoring Asian player in Germany. Unless his knee problems is noticeable enough for boss Choi, Park Chu-Young will get his first start as a Taeguk Warrior in about a year. He made headlines a few weeks back by becoming the first Korean to score in La Liga. Back to playing mostly full games, he’s put in good time and fairly decent performances on the pitch for Celta Vigo. Nevertheless, since the one big strike against Getafe, he hasn’t scored since, so a lot is at stake for Park personally in this match; he needs a convincing performance for his Celta Vigo manager to even consider him in the starting XI against Real Madrid on October 20th.  Lee Keun-Ho is right next to Son on midfield attack for good reason: he is dynamic, all over the pitch and is prone to scoring.  While South Korea will no doubt miss Koo Ja-Cheol‘s presence on the field, Ki Sung-Yeung has been a rock star for Swansea. He’s cool, calm, composed and incredibly dangerous with superman-like vision for distributing the ball with deadly accuracy. He will be Ki to winning the midfield in Iran (WHEEET!! Yellow card for bad pun using a KNT players’ name -all apologies – moving on). The only problem spot is what to do with Kim BoKyung. Where the Tavern armchair analysts placed him is not his natural attacking midfield home. Still, if he’s in form, there’s a good chance he can be very pernicious in any midfield position. Finally, defense has been a kind of weak spot for the Taeguk Warriors in recent times. Last summer’s U-23 edition Olympic Taeguk Warriors really dispelled initial concerns about overall defensive weaknesses, as they performed above and beyond what many thought they were capable of. This isn’t the Olympics however, and this is the senior national team, so it will be interesting to see if there are any improvements to Choi’s defensive arrangements in this game.  The Tavern will talk about a possible 4-4-2 formation tomorrow as well as potential subs who might see action in the match. For the complete updated roster, the Korean Football Association has it for you right here.

For US based Tavern goers, One World Sports will be airing the match (channel is on Dish Network) at 12:30 pm EST on Tuesday.

Thanks for stopping by the Tavern today.  You got thoughts on the formation, lineup or Park Chu-Young’s post goal prayer/celebrating, let me hear from you. Peace.

UPDATE: Cha Du-Ri and Fortuna Dusseldorf apparently isn’t lying around for the international break. Yesterday he switched up to offense and scored 4 goals in a friendly match with SF Baumberg. He scored in the 8th, 21st, 25th and 30th minute in a 5-0 blowout win.  Maybe he can do that against Bayern on Oct 20th?

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The old Tavern Owner

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