A Korean Derby in the FA Cup on Saturday, with an international break on the horizon… plus other news on the U23 team front, an interview with Shin Taeyong, Son Heungmin in the press and later if there’s time, some surprising suggestions that Korea could be at the 2019 Copa America.
Weekend Listings & TV Schedule
First off, the Weekend Listings thanks to Korean Footballers Abroad:
|Saturday||8:15 AM||Ki Sung Yueng||Swansea||Tottenham (Cup)||Fox Sports 1|
|Saturday||8:15 AM||Son Heung Min||Tottenham||@Swansea (Cup)||Fox Sports 1|
|Saturday||10:30 AM||Koo Ja Cheol||Augsburg||Werder Bremen||Fox Match Pass|
|Saturday||11:00 AM||Lee Chung Yong||Crystal Palace||@Huddersfield Town||NBCSN|
|Saturday||3:00 PM||Kwon Chang Hoon||Dijon||@Montpelier||BeIn Play|
|Saturday||3:00 PM||Suk Hyun Jun||Troyes||@Amiens||None|
|Sunday||10:00 AM||Lee Seung Woo||Hellas Verona||Atalanta||BeIn Play|
Ki Sung Yueng — Rumors to AC Milan continue to bubble up from Italy, where it makes sense in some ways: he’d be a direct flight away from Seoul, get to play for a large historic club albeit in smaller role, and the Sunderland link to sporting director and finances make it plausible. That said, its only March and Ki has been playing so well that we will see if something more appealing for him comes up. But before that, he’s got an FA Cup quarterfinals. Normally with international break ahead, one might think that Swansea gambles a bit but with both Ayews out, perhaps they take a safer route. I think Ki starts in either case but it will be a tough matchup.
Son Heung Min — We will see if Poch plays it safe with Son with Kane out injured and no real backup with Llorente not establishing himself. Tottenham will want a trophy to validate their progress but the squad will have a fair amount of international load. For now, I expect Son to start with the hopes of a quick finish.
Koo Ja Cheol — Koo should start. With safety more or less assured and EL looking distant though, it will be interesting to see how they handle the rest of the season.
Lee Chung Yong — Maybe LCY gets a look again. Crystal Palace is getting healthier though so the window for that is closing rapidly.
Kwon Chang Hoon — I’m not sure what ODO is doing with KCH, in what looks like a very careful usage of his minutes. I think KCH starts but maybe gets the quick hook again.
Suk Hyun Jun — Troyes is looking for goals so we’ll see if Suk wins the coin flip of starting CF.
Lee Seung Woo — Probably remains on the bench all match.
For a preview of the K League 1 scene, check out Jae’s
On the Asian Champions League front, nothing good to report from this midweek’s games.
Jeonbuk fell away 2-4 to Tianjin Quanjian to end their perfect streak. Despite 5 defenders from Jeonbuk Hyundai being called up to the national team, their defense is one of the most leaky in both the Asian Champions League and the K League 1. Some of me tells me it’s just all the cooks in the kitchen just trying to figure things out before embarking on a stellar defensive run, and some of me likes to believe it’s all Choi Kanghee’s fault – or rather, that of his system, which has fullbacks and even centrebacks pressing and jumping up aggressively with only Shin Hyungmin or Jeong Hyeok, two very average DMs, to cover for them.
Jeju lost at home 0-2 to Guangzhou Evergrande and fall to last place in Group G. They lost the away leg 5-3 at Guangzhou, but this time were shut off of the scoresheet. Remarkably, Jeju have been shut out in 4 of their 6 games this season and only have one win – against Thailand’s Buriram – so far in the calendar year.
Going back to Tuesday’s matches, Suwon Bluewings were the only K League success story this weekend, with an impressive win away in China. Dejan Damjanovic continued his hot run of form in Asia and got his 30th goal in continental competition in a 2-0 win.
Ulsan Hyundai meanwhile lost 0-1 at home to Shanghai SIPG after a valiant away draw last weekend. Ulsan have interestingly been relying on a lot of long distance shots – taken quite well, I might add – but no dice this time around.
The past 2 rounds in the ACL have pitted the Korean teams against the Chinese teams, so here’s some quick stats to see how they fared:
K League 1 wins: 2
CSL wins: 4
K League 1 teams’ ranking in the standings after round four: 1st: Jeonbuk | 2nd: Ulsan, Suwon | 4th: Jeju
CSL teams’ ranking in the standings after round four: 1st: Shanghai SIPG, Guangzhou | 2nd: Tianjin | 3rd: Shanghai Shenhua
So, advantage China, but it still remains likely that both countries will qualify 2-3 teams to the knockout stages.
In the News
—– We will get to that in an update soon – having some technical difficulties at the moment. But we’ll leave you for now with this about Son’s father and the role he plays in his son’s development:
An interview with Son Heung Min about his father’s large role in his development and even now. https://t.co/qaFamIedEh
— Korean Footballers (@KoreaFootAbroad) March 16, 2018