After the first midweek round of games of the season we have an all too familiar name at the top of the table as Jeonbuk resume their mantle of “Korea’s best” after a 4-0 demolition of Gyeongnam with a Kim Shin Wook double in the first 25 minutes setting them on their way. Wednesday also saw a much maligned Seoul team pick up their first win of the season courtesy of VAR, which leaves Daegu as the only team without a win in K-League One as they lost at home to Ulsan. Elsewhere Jeju clawed themselves into the top 6 with a 3-0 win in Jeonnam while Bluewings took advantage of Pohang’s slip-up at Seoul as they came back from Gangwon with all 3 points.
Saturday sees the first ‘Jeolla Derby’ of the season and it is there that we go for this week’s ‘match of the day’
2018 K-League One ~ Match Day 3 – ‘Match of the Day’
Jeonbuk vs Jeonnam
The fortunes of both teams couldn’t be more different as we approach the game with hosts Jeonbuk on a four match winning streak while Jeonnam have failed to win since their opening day victory in Suwon which seems oh so far away now. Jeonbuk have bounced back well from that surprising “off-day” at Incheon and have scored nine goals in their last four games conceding just the one in the process. They are now beginning to look like the team that every opposition fan feared they were going to be as signing after signing was added in the winter. They seem to have a ridiculous amount of goalscorers in their team and even if one or two are having a bad day you know they have a wealth of talent on the bench. On Wednesday we had Tiago netting his first league goal in a green shirt while Ricardo Lopes popped up in injury time with his first of the season. It was however the brace from Kim Shin Wook (pictured left) which started the ball rolling for the Champions and in flashes he showed the form he has recently been showcasing in a Korean National team shirt. He is often the butt of many a joke for rival fans but there is no doubting that the big man has the talent and guile to change the outcome of a match and, if selected, will once again by the focal point of most attacks on Saturday.
Jeonnam come into the match on a the back of a demoralizing 3-0 humbling at home to Jeju who themselves have been having a nightmare start to 2018. The Dragons did spend most of the 2nd half playing with 10 men after Wanderson Carvalho was shockingly sent packing for an alleged elbow on Kim Su Beom which somehow wasn’t overturned after a VAR consultation. The Dragons don’t have their problems to seek as they currently sit 2nd bottom in the table having conceded the most goals in the league. They look a pale shadow of the team that easily brushed aside the Bluewings on the opening weekend in a match where the ever-present midfield general of Verdan Jugovic (pictured right) completely ran the show. He might not chip in with too many goals but give the Croatian space and time on the ball and he will punish even the best of opposition defences. In recent weeks it’s been left-back Choi Jae Hyun who’s been getting among the goals for Jeonnam, against a team like Jeonbuk though you would imagine his rampaging runs will be a tad more restricted. He is of course dangerous at set-pieces as both Daegu and the Bluewings have discovered of late and the visitors will be hoping he’s able to exploit what at times looks like a shaky Jeonbuk back line.
The teams have clashed 44 times down the years with, unsurprisingly, Jeonbuk having won the most often with a just under 50% win ratio. They were undefeated against their Jeolla neighbours last year winning their only home meeting 2-1 with The Wookie scoring the all important winning goal that day. You have to go back to April 2015 for the last time that Jeonnam emerged victorious from the fixture, a 2-1 victory at home. For their last victory in the Jeonju World Cup Stadium you almost need a Delorian as it was way back in 2011 when the Dragons last slayed Jeonbuk away from home. With all of Jeonbuk’s new winter signings finally beginning to click it looks like we will have to wait a little bit longer to see the Dragons celebrate another derby win.
Prediction : Home Win : Jeonbuk 2 Jeonnam 0
Also in K-League One this week we have…..