Pohang Steelers v Jeonnam Dragons
Looking ahead to this weekend’s games and this is the match that stands out most (and not just because they have names like American football/baseball teams). Only two points separate the teams in 1st and 3rd place respectively. Pohang had a good result midweek in the ACL, beating Jeonbuk 2-1 away from home and they will also be looking to bounce back in the league after a rather surprising defeat at the hands of Seongnam. Jeonnam, on the other hand, will be looking to put even more space between themselves and the trailing pack in the bottom half of the table. The last time these two met it served up a cracking 2-2 draw. Expect more fireworks on Saturday.
Prediction – Pohang to scrape a home win.
Jeonbuk v Incheon United
This top (okay 2nd) versus bottom clash can only really go one way for me. Incheon although undoubtedly buoyed by their recent victory over FC Seoul will more than likely find it a struggle against the generally consistent Jeonbuk who even though they lost to Suwon last weekend would still be expected to have too much in the locker for Incheon. Incheon’s best chance comes in hoping that Jeonbuk are distracted by next week’s all important 2nd leg of their ACL tie with Pohang. Jeonbuk came away from Dowon with all three points last time these teams met, a repeat on Saturday wouldn’t shock too many.
Prediction – Jeonbuk to win comfortably
Sangju v Suwon
This could be an interesting one, Sangju are more than equally capable of both hitting the net and pressing the self-destruct button as shown against Jeonam last weekend. 3-1 down at halftime they fought back to level at 3-3 before losing a fourth two minutes before the end of play. Suwon dusted themselves down after losing the Supermatch to defeat Jeonbuk 1-0 in a home match that was played in front of a pretty big crowd. Suwon have been unpredictable this season, though they have generally managed to create chances. This one has the potential for a few goals just like last time when it finished 2-2.
Prediction – a score draw
Gyeongnam v Jeju United
This is another game that on paper should be a formality. Jeju have been on a good run of late and have lost only one in the last 5. They are swiftly becoming the ‘Italians’ of the K-League with five of their six victories this season being by a one goal margin and three of them being 1-0. Apart from against both Pohang and Seoul they have been pretty tight at the back. The same can not be said for Gyeongnam who have failed to win in the last 5. Gyeongnam sit with the second worst goal difference of -8 with only Incheon saving them the crown of being worst. The last time these two teams met it finished 1-1 but you would wager Jeju to come out on top this time.
Prediction – Jeju to continue their Italian form and win 1-0
Ulsan v Busan (Sunday 2pm kick-off)
This is one of those games that will either follow form and remind you of the first time you endured Dances with Wolves or it will explode into life and be like Kevin Bacon in Footloose. My money, unfortunately, is on the former. Between them they have only managed to win one of the last ten they’ve played. Ulsan also have a couple of players selected in Korea’s World Cup squad and this may just prey on their minds and distract them from events closer to home. The last time the teams met it finished 0-0, on current form you would have to imagine a similar scoreline.
Prediction – Hopefully goals, but unfortunately I reckon 0-0
Seoul v Seongnam (Postponed until Sunday May 18th due to Seoul’s ACL class with Kawasaki)