The weekend’s headline game are the two early league leaders, Chelsea and Swansea, going head to head at Stamford Bridge. Can Ki be key to a surprise Swans win on the road? Meanwhile, over in the motherland, the Asian Games Football tournament begins (a few days prior to the opening ceremony of the event itself) as the men take on Malaysia and the women take on Thailand. Oh, and of course the U-16 AFC C’ship QF Haniljeon. Here we go.
First the KPA Listings Table, courtesy of Skimmilk over at the Korean Footballers Abroad blog:
|Son Heung Min
|Ryu Seung Woo
|@Rasen BallSport Leipzig
|Ji Dong Won
|Kim Jin Su (@AG)
|Koo Ja Cheol
|Park Joo Ho (@AG)
|Lee Chung Yong
|Kim Bo Kyung
|Ki Sung Yueng
|Hong Jeong Ho
|Yun Suk Young
Kim Jin Su and Park Joo Ho are both training for the Asian Games, which I’ll get to a little later, so they obviously won’t feature for their club teams.
Son Heung Min might be a little gassed from playing 180 minutes in two meaningless friendlies in less than four days, plus the long plane trip, plus a Champions League game midweek, so I wouldn’t be stunned if he started this one on the bench. Despite that, Julian Brandt is injured, he plays the same position as Son, so that’s the only way it makes sense for him to start. In any case, I hope Son gets some rest, but maybe Schmidt won’t take him out of the XI because he’s in good form. We’ll see.
Oh dear, that’s a new most hilarious opposition name for you – Rasen Ballsport Leipzig. And I thought the Go Ahead Eagles was bad. Ryu Seung-Woo should get a start.
Ji Dong-Won (Dortmund) is still recovering from injury after having been left off of the Champions League roster for BVB, something that Jurgen Klopp called a “difficult decision”. Hong Jeong-Ho (Augsburg) made the bench to my surprise. I don’t believe he’s at 100% health, so probably some more bench duty.
Koo Ja Cheol didn’t play in the international friendlies due to injury, and he’s just returned to training, having picked up a hamstring injury. Whether or not he starts entirely depends on if he’s recovered from the injury and is fit to play. Mainz is at Hertha Berlin.
In the Championship, Lee Chung-Yong will likely start, as he always does. I just wish he finds himself a top-tier team soon, since Bolton aren’t exactly looking promotion caliber. Kim Bo-Kyung didn’t end up moving to Celtic and is stuck at Cardiff, where he’s not exactly high on the depth chart, so probably not in squad.
The two Premier League players travel to big teams this weekend. On Saturday, Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea) will take on league leaders (on GD) Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Ki is really flourishing under Garry Monk’s system, and is linking up well with other players. The midfield trio of Sigurdsson, Shelvey and Ki is really working to perfection. I fully expect him to start – and what a story it would be if they can make it 4-for-4 this season.
Yun Suk-Young was reported by a couple of sources to be preferred over Armand Traore, and he played during the break in a U-21 fixture. Despite that, I don’t think we see his face in the squad this week, due to the level of the opposition. (Insert “United sucks!” joke here).
Pohang-Seongnam (Sat, 6am ET, 7pm KST) – Pohang trail Jeonbuk by a point, and will look to continue their title bid against struggling Seongnam.
Seoul-Incheon (Sat, 6am ET, 7pm KST) – Seoul have cracked the top half after a disastrous start to the season, and take on an Incheon side trying to escape relegation territory.
Busan-Ulsan (Sat, 6.30am ET, 7.30pm KST) – After stealing a point from the league leaders, Busan hope to use that momentum against the Horangi to try to avoid the drop zone.
Jeonbuk-Gyeongnam (Sun, 1.15am ET, 2.15pm KST) – (Is that time correct? WTF Soccerway?) Relegation candidates Busan stole a point from league-leading Jeonbuk midweek – can Gyeongnam, who are in the same predicament, do the same?
Jeju-Suwon (Sun, 4am ET, 5pm KST) – Both teams are in fine form and are grappling for the final AFC CL berth.
Sangju-Jeonnam (Sun, 6am ET, 7pm KST) – Jeonnam are on a small slide, but Sangju, who have literally walked right into relegation territory, could be an easy opponent.
I won’t do the K-League Challenge listings since my brain is fried (long day) and Daejeon are basically dominating anyhow so… ’nuff said.
The Incheon Munhak Stadium will be host to Korea’s first Asian Games match of the tournament. 3 hours after fellow groupmates Saudi Arabia and Laos do battle, South Korea will welcome Malaysia. The Korean men beat the UAE 2-1 in their final warm-up friendly, and (although the game wasn’t televised), we know that a set piece goal and a Kim Seung-Dae strike won it. Kim Seung-Gyu made a shocking blunder – better now than in the knockout stages. Here’s the highlights:
The KNT will take on Malaysia at 4am ET, 5pm KST, at Incheon Munhak Stadium, on Sunday. The KWNT will take on Thailand at 7pm ET, 8pm KST, at Namdong Asiad Field, also on Sunday, the 14th. SBS will broadcast the men’s game, while for the moment, SBS, KBS nor MBC are showing the Women’s match. I’d expect there would be streams for the games on Daum, Naver and/or Afreeca.
And, as Roy highlighted in his post earlier today (if you have not read, go do that now), the AFC U-16 Championship has a Haniljeon to highlight the Quarter-Final round – a match that is so crucial for Lee Seung-Woo, Jang Gyeol-Hee and company. A win and they’re set for the FIFA U-17 World Cup next year. A loss and it all ends. Catch that game live at 4:30am ET, 5:30 pm KST, also on Sunday. Damn the two games (AG, U-16) overlap. <sighs>.
In any case, set your alarms for those games, and let us know in the comments section below – what will you be watching this weekend? Jalgayo for now.