Hello all, it’s been a loooong time, a lot has happened since the last update on KPA goings-on (though Jae did post up about K League Quinela for the 1st round of games as they’ve launched the 2018 season – see that here). Quick explanation: everyone here at the Tavern has been extremely busy – I finally got to finish a significant part of a family documentary detailing my father’s family harrowing escape from North Korea during the war. That of course meant the Tavern was regretfully neglected, but regardless -we’re back again. What did I miss? A whole hell of a lot, but let’s get situated for the present:
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 7, 2018
There was quite a bit of debate amongst analysts wondering what Pochettino would do: pick the in-form Son or Lamela who started leg 1 at Turin. What has Son done to make his case? All he’s done is score 4 goals and provided 2 assists in the last 2 starts for Spurs between last Wednesday’s FA Cup tie with Rochdale and Saturday’s dominating performance in Prem action against Hudderfield. Seems like the reporters and analysts got their answer a few minutes ago on Twitter with the starting XI. A lot of competition in the midfield, the case for Son – nearly foreshadowed when Poch rested Son after his 2 goals won the day vs Hudderfield – apparently won the day.
We can’t go back in time and review all the ups and downs of KPA’s in Europe in the past couple of weeks unfortunately, but we can do a quick roundup that highlights Son’s return to form, Ki Sung-Yeung and Swansea’s resurgence of late, and some positive-ish results from K League clubs in matchday 2 of the Asian Champions League, Ulsan having just notched a hard fought point at Shanghai SIPG, a 2-2 draw that ended a few hours ago.
First, back to a trusty source, here’s Korean Footballers Abroad for a brief weekend KPA recap:
Koo Ja Cheol — Augsburg struggled and Koo turned invisible. Augsburg was a bit wonky with lots of injuries and Koo had a hard time impacting the match. He wasn’t the weak link but not as dynamic as he had been in prior weeks. Augsburg 0:2 Hoffenheim
Ki Sung Yueng — Ki may have shown that he made the right decision staying with Swansea instead of West Ham, as Ki propelled Swansea to a 4-1 victory over them that moved them all the way into 13th in the table. Ki started the scoring with a long distance shot into the corner and then assisted the next with a great corner. His set pieces over the past couple months have been brilliant. While he got a bit too fancy at the end, Ki looked to be in full control of his powers which is great news for Swansea’s survival hopes.
Suk Hyun Jun — I watched some but he might as well not have been on as Troyes struggled to do anything going forward. Troyes 0:2 PSG
Kwon Chang Hoon — I didn’t watch him come on as a sub but apparently had a decent chance at goal.
Lee Seung Woo — Postponed. RIP Astori.
Lee Chung Yong — Unused sub. They found a way to throw away a two goal lead without any of LCY’s help.
- As mentioned before, Kane’s cross – which he was able to get on the ball following Alli’s pressure on Huddersfield. Despite traffic, Kane takes one look up and quickly does some mental computations before launching the audacious cross.
- That mental calculus factored in one Son Heung-Min, who, much like the goal scored in Spur’s first encounter with Liverpool last fall, Kane saw Son racing – and beating by a country mile all other defenders around him streaking on the center left of the pitch. By somehow getting the cross around the defender, the ball bounced just perfectly floating right to Son’s head.
- That’s not to dismiss Son’s role, as he famously and humbly deflected all credit to Kane for the goal, Son reacted quickly, in a flash he has to adjust for the keeper trying to make himself large on the pitch in front of him, and slightly leans back in order to head that in across goal – around Lossl – and on into the net.
Moving on, Ki Sung-Yeung put in a heroic Man of the Match performance (Son earned that too on Saturday) in a comprehensive 4-1 beat down of West Ham. Ki scored the first goal and got the assist from a wickedly precise corner kick for the 2nd goal. Good thing Ki didn’t move to West Ham!
Kickoff in a few minutes, I’ll update Asian Champions League results a bit later, I’ll leave you with video highlights from Saturday from Ki and Son – both of whom have made a bit of press, upticks in Prem power rankings and a number of Team of the Week selections.