So in a week that saw FC Seoul manager Choi be as indecisive as a Seongnam FC goalkeeper at a corner kick we approach matchday 20 and a couple of games that could make or break a few manager’s resumes. There was a full fixture list on Wednesday which although it didn’t throw up too many surprises did provide us with a glut of goals, well by K-League standards anyway. We are at the halfway stage and the table is slowly beginning to take shape, with one or two teams wishing it was still matchday 3. Saturday sees two big six-pointers in Pohang v Suwon and Jeju v Incheon and also throws up a trip to Busan for ‘two-wins-in-a-row’ Seongnam.
Pohang v Suwon
I was at the first match this season between these two as Pohang ruined Suwon’s birthday celebrations and looked like a team who were up for the title fight. A rocky start followed that result and they at one point looked like even the ACL spots were far from them. A combined effort of some solid wins and the other challengers shooting themselves in the foot has hoisted them back into the fight and they currently sit just three points adrift of today’s visitors. Their form over the last five games or so has been good apart from a rather strange home defeat to Incheon. They seem to favor a 2-1 home result having notched up that result four times this season, the same today would put them level on points but still third on goal difference. Suwon have been a strange lot of late, undefeated in five they have only managed two wins and three draws. One of which being last weekend’s boring and uneventful ‘Supermatch’. They have nothing left to play for apart from their faint title hopes and of course an ACL place next season, as we know that can often be when a team is most dangerous. With Jeonbuk back to winning ways and having a relatively straightforward trip to Daejeon tomorrow neither team can afford to lose.
Prediction : Pohang 1 Suwon 1
Busan v Seongnam
A match last season that was almost consistently between two teams trying to avoid the play-off has a little bit of a different dimension this year with Seongnam sitting some ten points clear of today’s hosts. Busan haven’t won a game since they took Ulsan’s scalp back at the start of June and have in fact lost three on the bounce although those were to teams who would be expected to win. The aforementioned Ulsan are keeping them from being all but consigned to a play-off battle against the second place K-League Challenge team and a home victory today would heap huge pressure on the Hyundai boys as they head to Jeonnam tomorrow. The problem for Busan is that with only fifteen goals in nineteen games you struggle to see them outscoring the Seongnam team that strolled past Daejeon midweek. Seongnam have started to find a little bit of form recently, well when I say Seongnam I don’t include any of the alleged goalkeepers who have graced their team this season with Park being the biggest culprit. I did offer Kim Hak Bum that if he could find a green shirt that fitted me better than the home shirt I would gladly resurrect my old five-a-sides career and help them out. Seriously though they are probably one of the better attacking teams in the league and if they can cut out the crazy mistakes could see themselves there or thereabouts when the league splits.
Prediction : Busan 0 Seongnam 1
Jeju v Incheon
Who do those cheeky upstarts at Incheon think they are, sitting in sixth place and keeping Jeju out of mid-table?. Incheon have been living way above their means this season and not only have they managed to pick up some good wins they have been impressive in doing so at times. Three wins out the last four have seen them deserve their top-six berth. Jeju on the other hand have only won one in the last five and Wednesday night’s defeat at home to FC Seoul will have hit them hard. They have been, uncharacteristically, losing a lot of goals this season and unless they fix the rot soon could well find themselves in the wrong kind of battle in a few weeks time. Jeju don’t tend to lose many matches at home, considering they have now lost two in a row and shipped eight goals in the process they must surely adopt a more cautious approach this time around. Incheon got the upper-hand the last time they met and ran out 1-0 victors, with the inspirational Kevin in their team there is every chance they could prove to be a handful yet again.
Prediction Jeju 1 Incheon 0