This weekend sees the K League Classic continue with the fourth round and once again we have a couple of cracking matches to look forward to. We see table-toppers Seongnam travel to Incheon for one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures in the boys in black’s season planners. Suwon FC and Sangju lock horns again after last season’s Challenge tussles but the highlight is probably the Sunday clash between Pohang Steelers and champions Jeonbuk Hyundai in a match that’s not usually short of talking points.
First up we have Saturday’s showdowns…..
Sangju Sangmu vs. Suwon City (2pm)
Sangju started strongly winning their opening game of the season but have since then rediscovered the erratic form that blighted their last season at the top table and have lost 2 on the bounce and must be thanking their lucky stars that Incheon are having a howling start to 2016. Suwon City on the other hand in their first ever season in the top tier of Korean Football are becoming every bit the neutral’s fancy as their never-say-die spirit and battling performances have seen them earn 2 draws and a comeback win last weekend against Gwangju. Suwon had the edge over the teams last season and even though they lost some big players they seem to have unearthed another couple of gems in Leijer and Ogunjimi.
Prediction: Away Win – Sangju 1 – Suwon 2
Gwangju vs. Ulsan Hyundai (2pm)
Gwangju have yet again surprised many with their start to the season and although they haven’t been the most consistent with one win, one draw and a defeat they have looked a decent side especially when going forward. Much of that is down to the goal-scoring feats of Jung Jo Gook who with four goals in three games tops the Golden Boot charts. Ulsan have also started a little sluggish and the early signs are that it could be another long year for the Ulsan support. They did give their fans something to shout about last weekend with a 2-1 victory over Jeonnam with Croatian striker Kovacec grabbing the headlines with a brace.
Prediction: Score Draw : Gwangju 1 – Ulsan 1
Incheon United vs. Seongnam FC (4pm)
Incheon United are having the type of start to the season you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy and currently prop up the table without a point from their opening 3 games and unsurprisingly have the added joy of the league’s worst defensive record. Their tactic of ‘give it to Kevin’ so effective last year has this season seemed overly desperate and fruitless. The contrast between them and Seongnam FC couldn’t be greater as Kim Hak Bum’s troops currently occupy top spot in the Classic with seven points from their opening three games. They’ve looked solid in defence and midfield and the added addition of the flair or Tiago seems to have paid off instantly. It’s tough to not think that Seongnam will be favorites for this one and could run up the proverbial cricket score if everything clicks.
Prediction: Away Win : Incheon 0 – Seongnam 2
Sunday April 10th 2016:
Jeonnam Dragons vs. FC Seoul (2pm)
Jeonnam like Incheon have also started the season without a victory and a team renowned for their early season form over the last two years have been pretty uninspiring so far this year. They did bounce back from the brink of a humbling away defeat at Suwon Bluewings bagging two goals in the last 10 mins to salvage a draw so it does look like they are capable of ‘rolling up their sleeves’. Seoul have started the season well with two wins in a row after the defeat at the hands of Jeonbuk in Round 1. They have looked deadly going forward and look like they are capable of scoring for fun every time they attack. They did however endure a frustrating 0-0 in the ACL during the week so it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from that one.
Prediction: Home Draw : Jeonnam 1 – Seoul 1
Pohang Steelers vs. Jeonbuk Hyundai (2pm)
Pohang have had quite the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ start to the season, poor in the ACL, rampant at Incheon and then pretty bland at Tancheon. They haven’t exactly oozed confidence and are definitely not living up to their pre-season hype as ‘title-challengers’. In Moon Chang Jin and Shim Dong Woon though they do have potential match-winners and they will need to be fired up for this one. Jeonbuk have seven points from their opening three games and sit joint top with Seongnam. They may not be surprising anyone with their league position but are certainly not the free-scoring team everyone had them pegged as during the close season. They’ve only managed three goals in three league games and have looked less than solid at the back with the sale of Kim Ki Hee proving to be a huge loss.
Prediction: Away Win : Pohang 0 – Jeonbuk 1
Jeju United vs. Suwon Bluewings (4pm)
The final match of the weekend sees Jeju welcome The Bluewings in a match that in previous seasons may have had the neutral licking their lips and reaching for the remote control to turn over Ingikayo. Unfortunately if attendances are anything to go by then you feel that Lee Se Dol would have more chance in a rematch than we have of seeing this one attracting more than 5000. Jeju have only the one win from their first two games losing both the others albeit away from home. We might see the appearance of new signing Lee Keun Ho for the boys in Orange which could be the deciding factor. Suwon Bluewings have also been a tad poor so far this season in both the league and the ACL. They did manage to claim their first K-League scalp last weekend when they defeated Sangju at home. They followed that up with a 1-1 against Melbourne in a stamina-sapping ACL tie on Wednesday . Jeju are generally strong at home and The Bluewings might just feel the effects of that midweek tie.
Prediction: Home Win : Jeju 1 – Bluewings 0