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How Things have Changed Part 4: The Midfield

Last week, I wrote about the defense, where there was quite a bit of change.  Seoul really struggled in the beginning of the year and looked out of sorts frequently, especially in the early games.  However, there seems to be some stability there now, even though they keep getting beaten by balls over the top and speedy players.

Due to the length of this post, I have decided to chop this into three parts.  The first will be about Seoul's midfield.  The second will be about Seoul's attack.  The final will be the formations that Seoul has played.

It is much easier, in my opinion, to critique the keeper and the defense then it is the midfield.  There errors are quantifiable in the form of goals against.   Also, if a defender gets beat, then it is quite noticeable as well.

On the other hand, outside of misplaced passes or glaring errors, I feel as though it is difficult to say who is at fault.  For example, Steven Gerrard's slip against Chelsea that allowed for Demba Ba to steal the ball and score is easy enough to assign blame.  However, often I am just watching the game as a whole rather than looking at what the midfielders are doing individually.

Therefore, it is difficult for me to say who is not putting in their defensive duties, missing the runs of the forwards, etc.  I can say that I feel as though the midfield is stagnant and that they either do not make enough runs or they often miss the runs of the forwards, but I do not have any definitive proof as to who is not up to the task, just the overall malaise of the last two years.  I do not think it can be argued that Seoul has excelled offensively in the last two years.


 They obviously miss Ha Dae-sung, who I feel was fulcrum of the team in many ways.  His link-up play and ability to execute via one touch has not been matched since his departure.  Anyways, onto looking at Seoul's current midfield.

Unlike Seoul's defense, which has seen six players fulfill the role of CB, the midfield has been very stable.  The primary three have been Koh Myong-jin (started 14), Go Yo-han (started 13), and Osmar (11 starts in midfield).  Lee Sang-hyeob and Park Yong-woo have played in the center at various points as well in the beginning of the season, but neither has been started in the league since the ninth game.   If they go with three in the back, then Cha Du-ri and Kim Chi-wook are the wingers.  However, I have already covered their roles as part of the defense even though they are now classed as midfielders.

Right now, Seoul play with three central midfielders and two wingers (3-5-2).    In the center are Koh Myong-jin, Go Yo-han, and Osmar.  If I had to describe Koh Myong-jin and Go Yo-han, I would say right now they play as shuttlers, going back and forth between defense and offense, trying to link the two.  

Osmar, on the other hand, has been pushed into the midfield to be a destroyer trying to break up play and protect the back line.  However, he does have his moments going forward.  Against Busan, he played a great pass in the first half to free Koh Myong-jin down the line for him to cross.  Nonetheless, when one thinks of Osmar, they do not associate him with Pirlo, but rather someone like Gattuso.

The midfield works hard but, I feel, lacks creativity.  Koh Myong-jin and Go Yo-han are good for the occasional goal, but they seem to be more like water carriers than game changers.  As I have said before, since Ha Dae-sung departed in 2013 Seoul has lacked the creativity and ability to play one-touch football.

Midfield Savior?
Yojiro Takahagi cannot arrive soon enough.  Watching the highlight clips he seems like the type of the player who can fill that void.  There is a disconnect somewhere between the attack and the midfield and hopefully, he is the player who can help fix it.

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