This weekend sees the return to action of the K-League, the last game being almost two months ago on May 18th. The Korean National team had a rather disappointing World Cup campaign but one positive they can take is at least the candy industry is in good health (the players were pelted by candy when they returned to Incheon Airport, an action similar to a good old fashioned Tartan Army “Hey Scotland! F**K OFF why don’t you!!)
There are a few tasty games this weekend, I can’t get those candies out of my head sorry.
First up is
Suwon Bluewings V Gyeongnam
Suwon, in 6th place, are undefeated in their last three matches whereas Gyeongnam haven’t won in the last five and currently lie in 10th place. The last time the two teams met it finished 2-2 with Suwon coming from 2 goals behind to snatch a point. Suwon will be looking to try and put some ground between themselves and the relegation group, they currently sit 6 pts clear of 7th placed Busan. With only 5 pts separating all 6 teams in the relegation group every point lost and won takes on great importance. Suwon have the highest average attendance figures for the season to date and I think with home backing they will have enough to see off the challenge of Gyeongnam.
Prediction – A home win for Suwon
Jeonnam v FC Seoul
This game has all the potential to be a pretty good match which now that I’ve said that means it’ll probably be a bore draw. Jeonnam haven’t been great at home this season and that coupled with a crushing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Pohang in their last match has seen them drop to 4th place in the table. Seoul on the other hand are still struggling to find the net with any real frequency, they have only managed 7 goals in 12 this season. Molina though should be making a return to the first team soon and this could see a swing in their fortunes. On paper the game should be tight and I think it will take a lot to split them.
Prediction – A score draw
Jeju United v Pohang Steelers
Third takes on Top in this match. Pohang have been impressive this season and even at this early stage they look more than capable of retaining their crown, though if they are to do so then they need to be winning games like this. Jeju have been having a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde season this year. Impressive at home and atrocious away has been the pattern. The last time the two teams met Pohang cruised to a 3-0 victory, I think they’ll probably win this one too although not by such an emphatic scoreline
Prediction – Pohang to edge it
Busan V Jeonbuk (19:30 kick-off)
Busan host Jeonbuk in the 7:30 kick-off and at the moment are going through a bit of a rocky patch. They started the season off with a 3-0 defeat away to Jeonbuk and haven’t really recovered. They are currently sitting in 7th but as mentioned earlier the relegation group is so tight that they could easily find themselves in 11th if they lose and results in other games go against them. Second place Jeonbuk will be wanting to keep the pressure on Pohang and will be more than up for this match, they have been pretty consistent in the league this season as expected although a double defeat and elimination from the ACL at the hands of Pohang may have knocked them off their rhythm a little. They’ll be wanting to hit the ground running after the break.
Prediction – An away win for Jeonbuk.
Seongnam v Ulsan
Another team having a poor start to the season are Seongnam, despite a name, badge and strip change they again find themselves in the relegation group currently occupying 8th position. They will be desperately hoping they can improve on last season when they narrowly missed out on the promotion group on the last round of matchs before the split. Having defeated Pohang 3-0 they then lost 1-0 away to FC Seoul. Ulsan might be the only K-League team to be feeling the brunt of the national team’s disappointing World Cup. As the most represented (some would say only represented) K-League team in Hong’s squad I would imagine a couple of their players might still be a tad dejected. Kim Shin Wook in particular toiled up front when played and probably won’t have done much to seal a megabucks move overseas. I will be at this game so I might be a little biased in my prediction as my heart hopes for a high-scoring game but my head says 0-0.
Prediction – Hopefully a few goals in high scoring draw.
Incheon United v Sangju
The final game on Sunday in a bottom of the table showdown between Incheon and Sangju. To be honest both teams have been pretty disappointing this year. Incheon have struggled to score and have an unenviable record of only 4 goals in 12 games. Sangju have flattered in some games but rarely delivered, they seem to have an amazing knack of blowing leads. With Lee Keun Ho in their team they do have a goal threat and maybe he will return buoyed by his goal in the World Cup, though it should be noted there are no Russian goalkeepers in the Incheon team. Incheon have only managed one victory at home this season and I don’t see that changing.
Prediction – Sangju to sneak an away win